And so it begins:
I flew out of JHB on the 1st of June, was a typical Autumn day for us, sun shining, cold breeze in the air, but still warm. This was my first time flying to Doha using Qatar Airways… The flight is just under 8hours, so I knew I would be able to rest…I was greeted by amazingly friendly staff, who put my mind at ease knowing I was going to an airport I had never seen.
Once the food arrived, I was ready to sleep, so I tucked myself in and drifted off… Not so bad right?? Well, we had a spot of turbulence, not that I had never been in this before, so I waited for this to pass and realised I only had 45min left of the journey, so after a quick episode of one of my favourite series, we arrived in Doha.
Doha airport is AMAZING! Modern and very clean, I was completely taken back at how professional and helpful the teams were straight off the plane. As I walked through I realised I was right infront of my next departure gate. I only had an hour layover, I took in all I could see and proceeded to wait for the connection. The next stretch:
So I climbed on my next plane, seat to myself by the window… selected my meal and waited, the excitement started to set in as I realised I was not only going to work, I was going to see my colleagues who are now my friends. As the flying time from Doha to Munich is just under 6 hours, I thought I would do the same as I did flying from JHB. But I was wrong… 3 hours in, we hit turbulence, badly… this lasted 2 hours… looking out the window, the clouds were amazing, yet terrifying to see. Later I found out that Europe, especially Germany, had been suffering with flooding and insane weather conditions that have caused serious damages to cities and taken lives. This is a hard reality when you are from a country that always has the sunshine.
But finally: We made it!
We arrived in Munich 15min early…. It was 6:15am… I realised that I was going to work the same time as everyone else in the city, and I was excited to see a typical “day commute” So a bit of a check here, in South Africa, we don’t ever use public transport, we all have cars and we drive to where ever needed. Today, for the first time ever, I was going to use the S-Bahn. I followed the signs, and made my way to purchase my ticket, had no idea how to get onto the train, however the commuters are very helpful, even though I am certain they thought something was wrong with me not knowing how the system worked. So after a lot of escalators, a machine that stamps your ticket, and a hope that I was definitely going in the right direction, I was on the S8 with a huge suitcase and a map sent to me by my colleague Steffi…
What could go wrong?
Trains have a lot of letters and numbers. The sites you see on a train cannot be explained, it is a whole different section of city you see…
I actually forgot I was in a city… As you get closer to town, the train gets fuller, normal as this is early morning and people are going to work.
I got off at Osbahnhof and proceeded to follow the crowd to the Under Ground (this was all in hope that what I was doing was right). So what could have gone wrong? Well… as mentioned, I had a huge suitcase, weighing 20kgs to be exact, along with my laptop bag and normal handbag 🙂 standard for people to have when travelling, or? And the escalator was being repaired, so with some skill and determination (and sheer sleep deprivation) I carried these all the way down the stairs in the morning work rush to the S5. Once on the U5, all was smooth sailing, hoped off by the U2, straight over to the next train travelling towards Messestat West.
So, as you can imagine, I have officially been travelling for approximately 19hours at this point… I am 2 stops away from where I need to get off, and I am greeted by my first colleague, Igor. With a bit of relief, we say hello and have a bit of a catch up on the final stretch of the train ride. I finally arrive at the Messe and walk up to the ground floor, where I feel like I have accomplished something knowing I have made it all this way. I pull out the next map from my colleague to direct me to the hotel.
Well… what could go wrong this time? Read more on friday…