Not Enough Euros

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Today is sadly my last day here in Germany. I can't believe the week plus has already passed. It was a quiet day in the office as I spent it in auditor training. Then there were the many goodbyes and promises to play hostess should any of my colleagues make it out to the Bay.

At 18:45 (still hanging on to that last bit of Euro speak) the 'shuttle' arrived to pick me up from the office. This is the same company that transported me from the airport to the office and my Penang colleague from the office to the airport a few days earlier. I mention this because they have a very interesting fleet of vehicles, clearly based on the number of passengers they need to transport. When I was picked up from the airport the week before they had a large van (like the Super Shuttle types used in the states). When my colleague was picked up on Friday they had a mini-bus (not surprising that Friday is a busy travel day). I lucked out, however, tonight because I was picked up in a Mercedes sedan this time around (no, I didn't catch the make). There was another passenger in the front seat and myself in the back and that was it. Much more civilized than being crammed between two strangers in the back seat of a van.

Most of the way to the airport I was eyeing the interior of the Mercedes. For those of you that don't know, the company I work for makes LEDs and Mercedes is one of our customers. So I was checking out the consistency of the color throughout the interior and trying to figure out which grouping of yellow they were using. Terrible, I know. But, to be fair, I was on a business trip.

I arrived at the hotel horrified to discover that the 29 Euro trip I thought I was paying for turned out to be 39 Euro and I only had 35 on me. It turns out it's 29 to the airport; the airport adjacent hotel costs an extra 10. Needless to say, I was rather disgruntled that I had not been informed of this earlier as I managed my Euros very carefully to leave enough for this shuttle (which I knew did not take Visa). Thankfully, I was staying at a nice, large, international hotel so the front desk exchanged the last $20 I had in my wallet (and I'm lucky I had that) and I was able to pay the driver. Minor rant - who's ever heard of a shuttle company in a first world country that doesn't take Visa?!

All of this squared away I checked in and went up to my room. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature pack of Haribo gummi bears on each pillow! Yes, instead of mints (which most hotels don't even give any more anyway) they leave the much more German treat of gummi bears. The two little packs are safely tucked in my luggage and waiting to be shared with Grant when I get home.

I had not eaten since lunch, and it was now almost 21:00, so I wandered down to the restaurant. Bad idea. Next time I'll just call room service. The very charming waiter (whom I had shared an elevator with earlier on my way up to my room) was very friendly and sat me at a nice table in non-smoking (some restaurants here can be civilized) and then promptly proceeded to forget all about me. Keep in mind, it wasn't terribly busy and I was within eyesight. During my very long wait I got up and wandered around the buffet, just out of curiosity. Mystery meats in gravy and noodles plus some cheeses and a couple desserts, definitely not what I wanted to order. People kept coming in, eating the buffet and leaving without paying while clutching their room key holders. It seemed quite odd, until I heard one of the waiters say, 'Oh, are you from Lufthansa?'. I'm guessing they had to cancel a flight and sent the passengers here for a free room and dinner. So I guess they assumed I was with that group.

Eventually I flagged down the waiter and ordered my salad and soup along with a nice Riesling. After I had finished my salad and wine, I was exhausted and desperate to get my check and go to my room (having figured the soup was a lost cause). As the waiter sees me put my napkin on the table he runs in the kitchen and brings out my soup. To be fair, he then kindly offered me more wine on him to make up for it. I had to politely decline, as I needed to be in a cab the next morning at 4:45 and did not relish the thought of doing it at all hung over. The dinner finally over I got my check and went to bed.

Tomorrow my journey home begins.


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This page contains a single entry by published on January 25, 2006 12:25 PM.

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