Monday, May 5, 2008

All Mod Cons In Germany

Yes, All Mod Cons was in Germany (more specifically Heidelberg) and here's the photo to prove it. Although it was VERY close to not being the case. The morning of my flight turned out to be a little more hectic than originally planned. Due to my carefree and rather slapdash approach to booking the flight I'd forgotten to check my "dates" properly. Unwittingly I'd arranged to leave on the day of the Mayoral elections for London AND to come home on the very day that the last Championship football matches were to be played, a day that would decide the fate of All Mod Con's team, Southampton.

Packing the night before proved to be a minor masterstroke. However, not checking the times of the coaches to the airport OR how long it would take to get there was a masterstroke of idiotness. Having checked in online the day before, with priority boarding and only my hand luggage to cut down "hanging around time" I thought that I would have had enough time to gently stroll up to the gate and wander onto the plane. Sadly, this wasn't the case. I got to the coach station with almost 2 hours until the check in closed and boarding started. Unfortunately there wasn't to be a coach leaving for a further 20 minutes. I enquired when the next coach would arrive at the airport. 10.30am...a full 5 minutes before they closed the desk and I wouldn't be able to get on my flight. In those precious 5 minutes I would have to make it from the car park into the airport, find the right security area, go through security, find the correct boarding gate, make it there and hope that it was still open. It really didn't look promising. Getting through Central London at rush hour, in a coach, wasn't ever going to be a speedy process. We arrived at 10.32am. Would I make it? Would I have to buy another, much more expensive ticket, and get on the next flight? I decided to leg it and see how far I'd get. Maybe, just maybe, the flight would be late enough for me to get on. And being honest, I'd always wanted to be "that guy" that is seen bombing it through an airport. Oh yes, I wanted to be Jason Bourne.

Before the coach door had even opened I was sprinting across the car park, dodging grannies and families, leaping trolleys like a pursued secret agent. I burst through the entrance doors looking around for an information screen....Section J for Frankfurt...excellent. Far left of the airport, more sprinting & leaping with some deft swerves at just the right time. Bugger, the line for security was packed. Fine, go to the next section, it wouldn't really matter would it? A Dukes Of Hazard slide under the barriers took me to the front of the queue. "Any liquids sir?" the security guard asked me. "No". "What, none at all?", "No, none at all"...just let me through! 1 minute remaining. Then onwards to the scanning desk. I'd made sure that everything I had in my pockets went into my bag to try and save time. The first few lines were full, so again, legs flailing, I headed towards an empty desk. Complete with a serious contender for "Rock Slide Of The Year" I booted it under more barriers accompanied by a "ooooh" from the woman I went past. I jumped through the scanner...BEEP...fuckit, forgot to take my belt off. "Stand there sir, please remain still". I stood, trying to see an information monitor that would tell me what gate I needed to get to. "Please remain still" the guard said whilst frisking me...a little too much "frisking" was going on for my liking. "I AM standing still!" I cried, "Please hurry up!". Given the ok, I was off like a greyhound chasing a hotdog. Gate 49. Oh arsebandits, that's at the other side of the damn airport! Well, having run this far, I wasn't going to give up now. Windmill arms, cartoon blurry legs, I leapt like a salmon over small children, weaving in and out of startled travellers like an agility dog. Oh how I wish I had 4 legs! Up stairs, down stairs, Gate 49 WHERE ARE YOU!? I could see it in the distance...were there people still outside? What flight were they waiting for?? PLEEEASE don't have left without me!! Curse my dodgy eyesight, I couldn't tell until I was on top of the queue if I had made it.

Arms held aloft in Victory, boarding hadn't started, they were 5 minutes late. I felt like Rocky at the top of the steps, I wanted to punch the air and dance a merry jig. Instead, the lack of any winter training caught up with me. My body screamed, my legs gave way and I lay on my back at the end of the queue, face redder than a stop sign. "Is that man ok Mummy?" asked a little boy. "I think he's just glad to have got here" I heard her answer over the bongo drum sound my pulse was making inside my head. No shit Sherlock I thought. Operation Get Flight, complete. Result.

The rest of the journey was a lot slower. Just as well really, I don't think I could've run anywhere else if my life had depended on it. In fact, the 2 hour coach ride to get to Heidelberg was a welcome one. I arrived about 7 hours after setting off. Due to leaving in such flurry of arms and legs I hadn't had time to get anything to eat or drink and hadn't been to the loo in what felt like days. I stepped off the coach and was greeted by Linda, whom I had met and became friends with in Berlin at the Paul Weller gig last year. After our greetings she gave me my first ever Pretzel, "I thought you might be hungry", along with a bottle of Coke. I could've kissed the ground she was walking on I was that hungry. How I've managed to go 30 years of my life without tasting Pretzels is anyones guess. But by god they're lovely! Savory AND salty! Yum.

I'd only been there for 5 minutes and noticed that Ze Germans had embraced the fact that they were being visited by All Mod Cons and had adorned some soft drinks with the prerequisite logo! Actually, it might just have been a coincidence but I'm going to go with the first option.

Having left the cloudy, rain sodden weather of the UK I was hoping that things were going to be a little brighter in Germany, and it certainly was that. I was greeted with the glorious sight of a blue sky, peppered with empty clouds. A novelty for an Englishman. And it remained that way for the whole 4 days, I even managed to transform the skin on my face and arms from its normal translucent blue to a human looking pink. It also made for excellent light for photos!

I didn't want to get up to anything too strenuous, so with the outstanding weather we set about wandering around Heidelberg enjoying the views, numerous cafes, and I was able to see the less "tourist" side of the town. The picture above was taken from the opposite bank of the river looking at the castle. Last time I was there I don't think you could actually see the castle due to the weather being so shoddy.

Whilst wandering around we went past an art gallery and Linda pointed out something that I'd totally missed, a sculpture of an Alien (from the films of the same name). Even in its crouched position it stood at almost 7 feet and was made entirely from pieces of engine and tools. The owner of the gallery and 2 other artists took (I think I remember this right) 3 years to complete the piece. Needless to say, it wasn't for sale. Click the photo above to see it in more detail, it was incredibly impressive!

Struggling to find a cafe that wasn't occupied by a million tourists, mainly Chinese people, was proving to be awkward. But we managed to find a tiny little place down a side street just away from the hoards with just one seat outside. Perfect for a bit of shade...and a scenic view down the street!

On one of the afternoons we walked up to the castle, where this photo was taken. Pretty outstanding view don't you think?

A little "detour" up a part I don't really think we were supposed to be on revealed an abandoned hotel. No idea why it wasn't being used anymore. Well, not by paying customers, it looked suspiciously like there were guests of the drug taking kind. Guess they have to go somewhere!

Whilst walking through the forest I spotted a Red Squirrel! Ok, not too impressive by some people's standards but they're pretty rare in the UK due to the introduction of the Grey Squirrel which has run riot. So I was pretty chuffed that I saw one in the wild. You can JUST make it out in the centre of the photo.

All Mod Cons and the lovely Linda!

An arty photo of the castle!

Believe it or not, I was taking a well earned break from making Daisy Chains. Is there no end to my creativity!?

No, I didn't have anything to do with this part of the castle falling off. Actually, we both wondered how this section had come down...something I'll have to Google later.

A church! Didn't go in though, it was locked. Not that we tried, we just watched all the tourists try and get in.

The library! Where Linda absorbs huge quantities of information. Also where she used the free internet access for students. Bonus!

And this one is of a part of the university campus.

I had such a brilliant time over the 4 days. Again, just like my 2nd day in Berlin, it was mainly due to being with someone that could speak English and German, and that knew the place so well, but mainly was such great company. I really needed a decent break, free from any worries from back in the UK and that's exactly what I got. Actually have a few more things to say about Germany, but I'll save those for another time.

Have been told it's Brezel and not a Pretzel...can't say that I care that much, they're still savory AND salty...yum!


Princess of the Universe said...

AMC- do I need to be jealous of you and Linda? :P
Fab photos! Excellent airport story!

Crashdummie said...

Dude, you were Jason Bourne at the airport! Talk abt adventure starting before reaching the destination.

Lovely pics, but i would love to see the pics of the Daisy chain, preferbly you or Linda wearing it :p


Angel said...

let me start by saying this....I thought the name of this blog was "All Mod cons on Video"'S THE VIDEO OF YOU RACING THROUGHT THE AIRPORT?? god, I would have loved to see that....but you describe it perfectly...arms flailing, legs pumping...heart thudding away.

I love the picture of the cafe. I want to open up my own little cafe with coffee and tea and chicken salad sandwiches and some kind of sweet.

I would love to hear your accent cuz I love me a British accent!!

And I would love to have my kid's skin too....I too, am a lobster.

Lobsters unite!!!

ps. I'm glad you're back...I missed you lots.

Princess Pointful said...

This post was hysterical, particularly at the beginning. Is there anything worse than the panic of possibly missing a flight??

Tina Poe said...

Jealousy is immense, I used to live in Germany and haven't been able to go back to visit for 16 years. Great photos by the way!

Beth said...

Ah, to have been able to see you "legging it" through the airport!

(Nice t-shirt...)

I chose a terrible time to return to blogging - Blogger is as slow as molasses in January. Are you familiar with that expression or is it a North American one??

SMARTBuddy said...

Love the pics! Especially the arty castle one and the Red squirrel. Did you hear about the mutant black squirrels that have evolved and are kicking the greys asses? There is some justice!