In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.

Day 2 - 14 July - Heathrow to München

The window shade is down, not for the viewing comfort of my neighbors, but rather the "early dawn" that is turning the sky pink much too "early". The plan stays dark until around noon ­ everyone is attempting a good sleep.

There is breakfast (croissant with ham and egg, fruit) and soon we're whizzing toward the Irish coast, but it does not loom vibrantly green in the distance such as the first time that I saw it. It is a hazy day. It's a matter of minutes and we're at Heathrow.

Heathrow is a definite competitor with Frankfurt for dinginess and general confusion. The scene at the flight center is like a scene from Brazil. The computers are down, so there is a bit of a delay. A gentleman from Croatia is perplexed, and Arthur spends some time visiting with him. Our flight is delayed, so we go and have a pizza at Est Est Est, and wander around looking at shops. Who buys all this stuff?

Finally, the gate for our flight is listed on the screens (Gate 9), and we go over. It's a study in contrasts. Both a Lufthansa and Olympic are boarding in the same area and the Lufthansa side is alles Ordnung, while the Olympic side is utter mayhem. Aren't stereotypes fun!

The flight to München is brief (an hour and a half ­ and it's amazing that they serve a small meal/snack in that amount of time with utter regimentation "wie möchen Sie?") and upon arrival people are running to catch flights. The airport is such a contrast to Heathrow ­ clean! Our baggage comes out right after two huge umbrellas. The German woman next to me exclaims, "Ah, the British!"

We know a bit about where we're going, having been here a couple of years ago, so we have no trouble finding our way to the S Bahn, where we buy a ticket from a young man who doesn't need his 5 person pass ­ probably illegal. We take the train to Karlsplatz where we emerge into a very hot square filled with all sorts of people. The stereotypes are out the window. All kinds of skin tones, languages, cultures are here. We walk over to the Herzog Wilhelm Hotel, and climb into the familiar, and much too small elevator. I was hoping for our last room, in the corner, and facing to the rear. This one faces the street, and the parkway that runs down the middle. Lot's of voices and activity fills the night. It's hot and we'll probably have to leave the window open.

There's dinner at Tannenbaum, but outside (Wiener Schnitzel, salad, Arthur ­ Omelette with pfifferlin, mushrooms ­ a new word. Everyone is outside eating, as it is too hot indoors. The customers are all neighborhood people, excepting one family who wanders in, peruses the menu, has a rapid conversation and then leaves. After dinner we don't have a dessert, but opt for a walk instead, looking at shop windows. Finally we return to the hotel, and fall fast asleep.

MTH 8/12/07
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