Monday, September 25, 2006

Back in the Everlasting city

Germany, oh Germany... Happy to be back in Madrid! It was like going back home but with all the little things I dislike there, for instance, everything had to be organized sharply to the last second and if you don't follow the rules, you're in trouble (yeah, for me it's like looking in the mirror, right, Steph?). But how can you follow the rules when you have all the wonderful people around? I am so happy I met the European "trafficking community". They made the meeting so great. We were drinking like crazy, going to sleep everyday early in the morning, yet ready for the talks after just four hours of sleep.
We flew there with the Chilean company called LAN, they fly from Santiago de Chile through Madrid to Frankfurt/Main. So we boarded the plane for the last 1/10th of the flight. Surprisingly, we got real metal cutlery and glass cups! There was a woman in front of me who accidentally broke the glass, so there were sharp pieces of glass everywhere, how weird. We got to Frankfurt safely, but the place where the meeting was taking place was another 200 km away! So we had to take a bus to a former US military base, now an international airport in Frankfurt-Hahn and a cab from there to Zell/Mosel. How confusing to have two places called Frankfurt, don't you think? Well, we knew about it, but the Ian Moore's group didn't and they took a cab from the other one and at the end they paid like 200€. The meeting was in a former monastery on the top of the hill, so it was pretty challenging to get there after our visits in the pubs downhill in the village.
The last day we left the place around 10am and our flight was in the night, so we had the whole day to explore Frankfurt. We decided to test the reliability of Deutsche Bahn and we bought a ticket for a small regional train from that small village to Koblenz, where we changed to an Eurocity high-tech train to Mainz and then an Intercity (ICE) high-speed train to Frankfurt/Main. It was like going through a century in 2 hours. Those ICE trains are so cute! In Frankfurt, we did some shopping for Enrique's kids and ate real Frankfurter sausages. The flight back was delayed for two hours, apparently the plane from the day before didn't leave due to some technical difficulties and we were not told anything and the LAN people were not helping too much, well... originally I was impressed how good the service was on the way to Germany and I had to change my mind after the round trip.
Yesterday, it was a special night here, La noche en blanco, synchronized with four other European capitals. The museums were open till 2am and there were other activities around the city till 6am. Unfortunately, everywhere we went (I joined the Ecuadorians again), there were long lines and we didn't see anything but the half of Madrid in the streets. At least we had a wonderful dinner.
Today, I went to Museo del Prado, I wanted to see the "Pinturas negras", the Black paintings by Goya. It's an amazing experience. Next time, I will buy a comprehensive guide, the museum is so big, you can see it in little pieces only. Then I saw there was an exhibition of modern architecture in Spain in Real Jardin Botanico, so I spent some time there as well. As soon as I have some ID for the institute, this place should be free for me as an employee of CSIC.

No comments: