Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Planes, Trains & Automobiles (2011/12)

A small first step

For the first time in more than a year, I was setting out on one of my major trips from home, rather than work. It was only my third time away on my travels at New Year, having started the practice in 2009 with a visit to Florida and maintained it in 2010 with a trip to Muscat, Oman. The day dawned dull and grey, but at least it was dry. I left home around 1100 and had an easy run along the M9; with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, this was a public holiday. I parked in the usual place, rode the shuttle bus to the terminal and had a short wait at the front of the premium check-in queue while the people already at the desk were attended to. I bought a sandwich at a landside shop to tide me over and then made for Security; it was relatively quiet, but with much reduced staff numbers on duty, it easily turned into an average wait.

The bmi lounge was exceptionally quiet at first with only the Diamond Club side in use, but it got a bit busier as time passed. It felt a little strange wondering what would become of such familiar territory, in the light of the near-certain takeover of bmi by IAG, the holding company that owns British Airways. I took a few photos, again with that vaguely unsettling feeling that it was all about to slip away into the history books.
ABOVE: A near-deserted bmi lounge, its future now uncertain

I made my way to Gate 2 in due course. It seemed extraordinarily busy; indeed I had never known anything as substantial as an Airbus A320 to be allocated to the route. Judging by the number of people crowding around the gate, my initial impression was that boarding was already underway. It was just an illusion, though; no sooner had I joined what seemed like the end of the queue, than the agent called forward Business Class passengers.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

ABOVE: Römerplatz by night
I had an easy passage through immigration and baggage reclaim at Frankfurt Airport and was soon on board the shuttle to the Steigenberger Hotel, where I was completely settled in by 6pm. It seemed like a pleasant enough evening so, feeling somewhat restless, I decided on a whim to go into town rather than lazily sit around the hotel. I took the shuttle bus back to the airport, rode the S-Bahn to Konstablerwache and walked the relatively short distance to the main square of the Römerberg area of the city centre. It was fairly quiet, now that the Christmas market stalls had all been cleared away, but the restored and reconstructed buildings - the originals were destroyed in World War II - were attractively floodlit.

 This was all thoroughly familiar territory to me, as I had spent a lot of time in the city on business during the years 2000-2003. I was mildly shocked when I realised that this period was roughly ten years ago.

I had a nice dinner of Frankfurt-style potato soup and Wiener Schnitzel, washed down with beer. As I used to do on a regular basis all those years ago when visiting the city for work purposes, I then took a stroll along the Main. Instead of my former practice of taking the tram back to base, I crossed the river and walked past the Intercontinental and Le Meridien hotels towards the Hauptbahnhof, where I quickly caught a train back to the airport and the dependable shuttle back to my hotel.
ABOVE: River Main

I was glad that I had made the effort to go out and was now ready for a good night's sleep.

Tuesday 27 Dec

Flight Log LH963

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