It was a nice day to fly home over the mountains If it wasn’t for the length of the flight, I would have enjoyed it. I had the nicest seat companion – a young many off for a canoeing adventure in the Yukon. He’s going to have an amazing time!
I went to bed last night after begin up for 26 hours. And then, of course, I woke up at 4am. But I resisted getting up – forced my mind to be quiet – wrestled it into submission. No easy task. But I did manage to snooze until 6.30 so that gave me a solid nine hours sleep. Got on the scale this morning. Lost five pounds. There’s only one answer for that dilemma: more chocolate. Happily, I happen to have some!
I have no energy. I know I need to take Abby for a walk or two today, but I just want to sit here like a vegetable. But hey, if I can force my mind into submission at 4 in the morning, I ought to be able to do something with my body as well.
So – as promised, some thoughts. I love Europe. I love that it is people centric, rather than car centric. Let’s take Frankfurt as an example – and namely because it was the most recent place I visited. Not sure my brain is capable of going back more than a couple of days. Frankfurt is not a tourist city. It is not advertised as such. But it is, undoubtedly a people city. It has squares with cafes and people singing, entertaining and interacting. Its sidewalks are generally twice as wide as its roadways, allowing people to mix, mingle and sit at the many, many outdoor cafe tables that actually have room to spill out onto the sidewalks. PUblic transportation is incredible. Why would anyone even want to drive a car here?
The railway station has three levels. The upper connects you to anywhere in Europe. The lower, S-Bahn level, has trains that run very frequently and take you to neighbouring towns, suburbs and the airport (in 12 minutes). The U-Bahn level is the subway system that runs just about everywhere else. Outside the train station, hop a bus. There isn’t anywhere buses don’t go. It’s just all so sensible!
A town centre is actually a town centre. It’s a square that is the shopping and gathering place. Streets radiate out from there. Simple and sensible. In Nanaimo, a town centre appears to be defined as a shopping mall on the edge of the neighbourhood. Huh? Look at Cranberry/Chase River or whatever the south end is called. Yes, the shopping centre on the highway is designated its town centre. Really? I always wondered about that. It’s as far from the centre as possible and you certainly can’t walk there. We really have some re-thinking to do.
The Frankfurt Airport is very user friendly. So is the Vancouver Airport. In fact, I have generally found most airports in the world pretty easy to negotiate. So let’s talk about Heathrow. Whoever designed this travesty must be related to the architect who came up with the Krall space in Nanaimo. Never mind that it’s pretty ugly – let’s get to the practicalities. If you are making an international connection you have to get on a bus to another terminal. The bus takes you through underground tunnels, catering areas, filthy, rotting, rat-infested zones with crumbling cement and discarded rubbish and dark, dank warehouse areas. Really? That’s the best they could do? Then, you get to your terminal, walk through and, noisy shopping mall and then down a very. long deserted corridor until you come to your gate. Now, this isn’t one of those gates where you hang out and maybe grab a snack or a magazine at one of the vendor’s stalls. Oh no, you have to show your boarding pass and passport to get into the gate waiting lunge. You get there and guess what? No washrooms! Are you kidding?
So, to use the washroom, you leave the gate area, walk way down the corridor and join a lineup of many, many women waiting to use the WC – because there are only FOUR STALLS for at least four or five gates! Really! And then you have to go through the whole processing bit again to get into the gate waiting area. Honestly!
But that aside, it was a pleasant flight (or as pleasant as it can be to sit for more than 8 hours in a tiny seat with no leg room) and I’m home and I feel totally displaced. This shall pass. I’m doing laundry. I’m debating whether I should go to the Valhalla Pure sale today. I suspect I’ll get there. Going to hike Mount Benson tomorrow because I can. Work on Monday. Actual work! I’m not sure I remember how to do it.
The best part of being home? Abby – for sure!