Our plans for today were derailed, literally, by a massive rail strike in Germany. We got to the rail station a few minutes before our train was due to depart and saw an alarming amount of multi hour delays popping up on the boards. What the heck?
A nice civil engineer who was also hoping to travel explained. “It’s the strike” she said. “It will end at 9 am but the trains, especially the international ones will be all snarled up till tomorrow.” She thought our local train to Cologne (Köln) might run somewhat on schedule so we waited awhile. But soon it became clear that we weren’t going anywhere today. It also explained why last night’s train was stuffed to overflowing. Germans knew the strike was likely, and were rushing to their destinations early.
It could possibly also explained the preponderance of extremely lackadaisical conductors on that train. They probably weren’t interested in conducting but merely being sure to get home before the strike started. It was only a four hour strike but affected such key personnel that the railways were totally immobilized.
So, we went to pull Euros from the ATM, and it didn’t work either. It had been locked when we used it the night before. Since it was Sunday in the states, we couldn’t call to straighten it out till the next day. I had U.S. dollars in cash, so we went to the bank. No account, no money exchange. So we asked the hotel if they exchanged money. No, but she arranged to go with us to her bank which would do the exchange through her account. We opted to try one more thing before making her leave her post to help us. We used another ATM card and withdrew enough Euros for the rest of the trip as we hadn’t called this bank to let them know we were traveling so it would probably be locked after one use.
So we aren’t going to go hungry and it’s another rainy day in Koblenz. So we had a nice hot lunch with beer and wandered around the Christmas market.
Sometimes, our travel “disasters” are really memorable, at least when they’re over. What are yours?
Albuquerque has spectacular views from its extremely safe Sandia tramway. According to the tramway, “it ascends from a base elevationof 6,559 feet (1,999 m) to a topelevationof 10,378 feet (3,163 m).”
Afterwards, we stopped for food and drinks at the delightful Sandiago Grill at the base of the tram. In addition to fabulous views from inside and outside seating, their menu offerings have been jazzed up. The prices seemed a little higher than the last time I was there but are reasonable for the quality. My fish tacos were delicious. Unfortunately, this picture was taken after I’d messed up their plating. Forgive me, I was hungry!
Several world class beer labels call Japan home, including Sapporo and Kirin.
The image below is the headquarters of a third, Asahi.
The tall gold building represents a glass of beer with its (blue?) foaming head The shorter one to its right purports to be a mug of beer topped by a Flame d’Or, symbolizing the burning heart of Asahi beer. Some jaded Tokyoites refer to it in more earthy terms.
Anonymous draft beer is also served, and local craft beer, such as offered by this pub in Matsumoto. One brand in Kyoto prints labels with the face of a famous historical figure.