Airbus Adventure

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Oh, how I had been looking forward to writing this article. In anticipation waiting for the big adventure to come and then write about it. Excited at the prospect of experiencing something exciting … since daily life is kind of dull like for all of us with work, home, dinner, TV, bath and bed. So, making a trip to Hamburg to see the place where some of the biggest planes are built, was a welcome change. Thrilling. Something to tell about.

Airbus. The European pedant to Boeing and probably its biggest competitor.

3 and a half hours of sitting on the bus lay ahead of us to get to Hamburg. Well, usually, I’m not THAT choosy, complaining about every little thing … hey, I travelled around South America in the 90s in buses on unpaved roads, in trains with narrow uncomfortable seats, residing in shabby “best hotels” with brass beds as the only furniture and outdoor showers. So, I’m not unfamiliar with less luxurious ways of travelling. BUT … I’m not 20 anymore (I just love to use that phrase, don’t you?) and spending all those hours in a short distance style bus with narrow and hard seats merely suitable for kids below ten with the seat belt buckle poking my butt whenever I moved an inch PLUS non-existing dampers … you can imagine my mood by the time we arrived in Hamburg. Way too early, by the way. Waaay too early. One hour before we were expected at the restaurant for quick lunch and even longer before our guided tour. Luckily, we neither had to keep sitting in our comfy bus seats nor wait outside in the cold and drizzling rain with some fog thrown in. The restaurateurs had mercy on the 14 of us and we at least could warm up with hot tea until lunch was ready. Courageous as I am – I just can’t help myself – I had ordered “Wiener Schnitzel” and was less disappointed as expected. It was at least half crisp, the fries were plainly salted and the only fly in the ointment was the curry ketchup they served. Euw, disgusting. BUT, being the Austrian everyone knows, always having special requests I carefully inquired regarding cranberry jam and was delighted that they actually had it in stock. My Schnitzel was salvaged. And I was happy. Even my better half had to admit that cranberries and Schnitzel go very well together. (Ha, I rest my case!)

Way ahead of time – again – we arrived at the huge Airbus complex and had to show ID in the visitor center before receiving headsets with transponders. A much more comfortable bus drove us around, from one station to the next. Seeing the different stages of where the plane parts were put together. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pics (big surprise) and had to switch our phones off. Officially because of sensible instrumentation and measuring equipment. (Yeah, sure! Everyone believed that!) More like because of fear of espionage. Which large company isn’t.

Nevertheless, it was fascinating, seeing their daily business of building the usual sized A230 planes everyone knows from uncountable business and vacation trips and the A380 and the sheer size of it. The gleaming parts, the huge dimensions and the question how in the hell such a huge and heavy thing will ever be able to leave the ground. And to imagine that the Airbus transport plane “Beluga” manages to deliver parts of the A380 (actually, 3 fuselage parts) from France to Germany. Impressive. Very impressive. Recounting all the facts and figures and bits and pieces would go too far. And is probably not that interesting for most of us. So, I’ll stop right here and keep reminiscing about the impressions I gathered silently and in my mind. It’s something one has to see himself anyway.

Unnecessary to say that the drive back was hell and exhausting and every one of us was beat by the time we were back home. We even rejected the suggestion for a break because we just wanted to get home as quickly as possible. And then sighingly sinking down onto the couch, with a nice refreshing G&T in our hands, not getting up for a loooong time.



Travelling in style


Recently I had the great pleasure of going on a business trip. Well, the pleasure was more in the form of travelling business class than having meetings all day, of course. Still, travelling business class is always a joy and every time again I try to be prepared as well as possible. As you already know, my love for planning and being dressed appropriately for any occasion, took up most of my travel preparations. As always, the question arose: what the hell am I going to wear? After all, to me, travelling business class also means travelling in style. (Even though I once again had to find out that not everyone is of the same opinion! One just can’t buy style!) But … and there it is … the big BUT. One also has to be comfortable. Who wants to sit around the airport for hours before and in between, not to mention the long hours on the plane with pants too tight, your bra tweaking in the wrong places, freezing due to not remembering that outside temperatures of 30 degrees don’t mean you will have 30 degrees inside the plane (or the lounge), hurting feet because they are stuck in high heels, etc …

So, as usual I was dismantling my wardrobe in the search for the perfect outfit. Jeans? Black pants? Leggings? Sneakers? Ballerina flats? Flip Flops? T-Shirt? Blouse? Tunika? Polo shirt? Classic black? Or cheerful colours? Which handbag? One of my Michael Kors totes? Or rather the nameless one which offers plenty of space for: my MacBook, iPad, my iPhone, my travel diary, my purse, my emergency cosmetics kit, my emergency paperback (in case my iPad runs low on juice), my emergency power bank and all the other tiny bits and pieces one needs … well, considering all this, at least this decision came fairly easy. The black and nameless classic tote it would be.

Which didn’t really resolve my business class flying outfit without trying on various combinations. Oh hell! The floor of my walk-in closet looked as if a tornado had torn through it. Who knew I had sooo much stuff to choose from? Discovering pieces I haven’t worn in … well … ages, hidden in the depths of my beautiful Ikea PAX wardrobe. (That’s the disadvantage of having too much space, things just vanish …)

After endless hours of searching I boringly chose black jazz pants, black shirt and black cardigan (layering is a must on flights, that’s one of the things I learnt in my colourful travel past, no matter the temperatures outside). Grudgingly also deciding against my cute black patent leather flats, going with my black Nikes instead. Comfort won for the 6-plus-hour flight I would have to endure.

The funny thing? I shouldn’t have cared so much at all. You wouldn’t believe the creatures I saw slouching around the business class lounges. Flip flop surfer dudes were only the beginning … and still, it’s just me and always will be. Dressing appropriately and in style for any situation being thrown at me. Happy travelling, y’all!

Disappointment of the week


Hi there! And a wonderful weekend to all of you! Hope yours was better than mine without too many disappointments! Well, all in all it was pretty good. Apart from the weather, the …

… AND worst of all: sweet popcorn! Imagine you have been looking forward to a nice afternoon soiree at the cinema with your boyfriend to finally see THE movie before it stops running. (Hence the afternoon soiree!) The only time slots left to experience it were the 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm performances! As one can imagine, we might have felt a little old among 80% of First to Fourth Graders, with the remaining 20% being poor parents having to accompany their youngsters, forking over tons more money for the unavoidable popcorn / nachos / coke / ice cream to endure “The Incredibles II”. What an ordeal! And in between, the two of us! But, nevertheless, we are at an age where we don’t care about stuff like that anymore.

So, there we were! Too early as usual, with still half an hour to survive before we could at least get into cinema No7 (where of course half an hour would pass with lots of ads and a stupid Chinese animation short movie which bored me no end in the end!) My angel-me and devil-me were debating heatedly whether to get popcorn or not. After all lunch had not been too long ago and dinner was closing in fast … But … the smell was so enticing! Of course, Devil-me won! But only barely! My calorie saving plan? Skip dinner and just have fruit instead! That way I could enjoy my popcorn!

Sharing my decision with my boyfriend we queued like pros and I happily ordered my small bag of popcorn. Not suspecting anything! And then … I held it in my hands, my treasure, noticing something weird! Because … my popcorn didn’t look like regular SALTY popcorn … I got suspicious, waved the stressed out behind the counter employee back to me and incredulously asked, “Is this sweet popcorn?”

Her reply was a simple yes and when I requested “salty popcorn” she just said that they had never had salty popcorn. It had always been the sweet one. I couldn’t believe it! Who eats sweet popcorn? That’s not normal! Salty popcorn is the real deal! And nothing else! Cinema and salty popcorn! My movie experience was totally ruined and my boyfriend had to jump in and eat two thirds of the disgusting sweet stuff, with me yearning for my salty treat! And I still am … with the tragic result that the microwave is already running to produce a batch of the real stuff for only myself! (By the way, the movie was incredibly funny and made me forget my disappointment for a little while!) Oh, gotta go! My popcorn is calling for me …

Living dead


Did you know that “Halloween” actually is … no, no, no, I’m not going to bore you with historical details. That would go a bit too far into the past to start. I love Halloween! I don’t know why, but I just love it! Even though I don’t celebrate it! Because, well, I’m in Germany. And I fear the Germans at my age are not that keen dressing up as zombies and eating eyeballs in blood soup. But a girl can dream, can’t she? And I’m dreaming of being invited to a big Halloween bash, imagining how I would prepare myself for the day. Starting with … yes, you got it right … my costume! And there it goes, my imagination running wild again, pictures in my head …

I think I hit every single costume store from here to all the bigger cities around with the help of Google. 6 stores to be exact! You are wondering why I didn’t just use the world wide web for that? Comfortably from home? Well, where is the fun in that? Besides, I didn’t have a clue which costume I wanted exactly and I was more into renting something really terrific instead of a 0815 cheap costume everyone would have.

It took me all Saturday between Bugs Bunny, King Kong, Santa Clause and Charlie Chaplin costumes to realize those were more or less the sad remains no one wanted to rent! Being a stupid little Austrian non-Halloween-professional I didn’t know that you book your costumes months in advance. Therefore, all I could do was watch dozens of customers picking up their zombie treasures while I was on the verge of tears. Briefly, only briefly, I promise, I considered grabbing one of the female zombie outfits a woman held in her hands and just RUN!

In slow motion I saw myself reaching out, feeling the wonderful ragged pieces of zombie cloth … But, of course I did not do that – or has anyone seen me in my costume? (Phew, somehow I have to get rid of this incriminating piece of evidence!)

After just this one hunting day I was so desperate I thought of A) skipping Halloween and hiding in bed, drowning my sorrows in Bloody Marys and chocolate, B) MORE chocolate, C) renting a Santa Clause costume (Hey, IF you make a fool of yourself, do it properly! Everyone can go as King Kong at Halloween! Ever seen Santa Clause? Thought not!) and last but not least D) improvisation! D) seemed to be the most sensible option! How difficult can it be to transform myself into a creature of the night?

A little more optimistically I left the last costume store and went home with a few ideas at hand! Seems as if the internet will become my best friend for the rest of the night! The to-buy-for zombie and vampire costumes just were not my thing. Since I had been so disappointed in my hunt I now wanted to do it right and just get something absolutely spectacular! Vintage stores were first on my list, then seamstresses specializing in 19thcentury gowns … yeah, right, little too late to have one made in a couple of weeks. So, I had to compromise after all, ordered a ready-made real gown in dark red with flaring skirt, which cost me part of my monthly salary. But what the hell, it’s Halloween, who cares!

The 31starrived and … may I tell you that I looked amazing, like death himself. The perfect vamp victim! With white face, bitemarks and blood running down my neck! The party was terrific too, one ghoulish face next to another! The only thing I did kind of miss was going trick and treatin’. Maybe I should rent a kid next year … AND I’ll book my costume next thing tomorrow! That’ll teach you!

Oh yes, that’s how it’s gonna be! Think I will ever go to a real Halloween party? Maybe I should just throw one myself …