Despite months of planning, our trip started on a note of uncertainty. Eva and I booked our flights separately because of different return plans. The day before departure I got the usual notification concerning on-line boarding pass, etc. but Eva got nothing. In fact, she had never heard anything from the airline nor had she been prompted to make a seat reservation. We began to wonder if she had been dropped from the reservation system altogether, similar to what had recently to our daughter in Armenia. Fortunately when we got to the airport she indeed was in the computer and all was well. She managed to move her seat to be next to me.

Then, as we waited for our flight to be called an announcement was made that the plane had not been filled with fuel. Oops! Glad they caught that before we took off. We lost an hour getting airborne, and were an hour late reaching Frankfurt.

As we entered the Frankfurt terminal we were greeted by all too familiar signs of America’s global spread.

American Mega Crap greets us in Frankfurt

American Mega Crap greets us in Frankfurt

At baggage claim we liked the sign that told us how many minutes it would be before our luggage would arrive. As I took a photo, the sign changed from one minute to arrived.

We liked the baggage countdown

We liked the baggage countdown

Right from the terminal we could catch the subway into town. We were going only a couple of stops to our rental car agency but Eva wanted to make sure by studying the subway map.

Tangled subway map

Tangled subway map

We had quite a way to walk to the rental agency, pulling our luggage along. It was a warm, sunny day so we didn’t mind. We passed numerous tall well-designed new buildings along the way.

New business quarters on the edge of vibrant Frankfurt

New business quarters on the edge of vibrant Frankfurt

Reaching our destination after a good half mile walk, we were told that the agency had moved the week before to a new location nearly another half mile away. OK. Nothing like a bit of exercise after a long 11 hour plane flight. We found our car, not on a lot at ground level, but rather at the top of a new five story building. Interesting.

Our shiny new Ford was just the right car for us, with plenty of room for all our gear. Often in Europe car trunks are too small to hold two suitcases and hand items. We got this model Ford because it was one of the safe ones to drive into Poland. We could not rent a BMW, Audi or even a VW. All were too likely to be stolen. Nobody there would steal a Ford.

The car itself was fine. The navigation unit, however, was maddeningly difficult to use. With lots of help from the agency, we finally got it programmed to get us to our hotel for the night, in the town of Hilden, two long hours away. We were staging ourselves to visit the place where the primitive Neanderthal Man was first discovered. We never made it, the subject of the next post.

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