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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 19, 20, 21: Epilogue

It turned out that Chris wasn't out of town, as we thought. He had moved his departure date and came back late at night after we were asleep. He was gracious about us breaking into his apartment, as it was, and I made Weisswurst breakfast for him in the morning.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

I spent the 19th at the Google Munich office chatting up former colleagues. Then Lisa and I shopped for maps, tracking down and finding a copy of the Motorrad ReiseKarten Alpen that we had first seen in Austria, and picking up a few others as well for future travel. We paid a visit to my former landlady in Pullach, reminding her that I'll be back tomorrow to collect cash. We shopped for chocolate as well, and as usual discovered after we got home that what we thought was a lot of chocolate wasn't actually enough.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

On the 20th, we moved back to Hotel Vi Vadi, and repacked for the flight home. I took the deraileur off the bike, the pedals, removed the seat post and stoker bars and stuck them in the luggage. I made yet another visit to Pullach, and this time came back with much of my security deposit. She had made huge deductions for various apartment charges, but still had given me more than half of it, my threshold for deciding whether or not I should just hand my receipt and paperwork to one of my colleagues in Munich who knew good lawyers in exchange for half of anything he could get back from her. I deposited all that cash into my German bank savings account so as to avoid paying the currency exchange fees. My bank was happy to change my address as well since I had moved.

On the way back to the hotel after buying some vacuum packed Weisswurst, I dropped by the train station and saw Alan Wissenberg. He was in the middle of dealing with customers (and had a long line waiting for him), but he interrupted his transaction to shake hands and say hi. Upon hearing that it was my last night in Munich, he said, "I'll be back at the Euraide office at 10:45pm. Join me then and we'll grab a beer."
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Sure enough, at 10:45pm he was there. We had sat down and had a beer. We talked about our trials with bikes on trains, places we would never tell Rick Steves about (or at least, if we did tell Rick Steves we would ask him never to put in his book or show on TV), and of course, how nice the German-speaking countries were about putting bikes on trains. "I now have to distinguish between the people who are carrying a copy of Steves' book, and the people who actually read it. I had a woman who was fined several hundred Euros because she didn't read her train tickets! Her excuse: I had no idea that it was in English, since the cover letter was in German, so I didn't bother reading it!" We laughed and I was flattered when Alan told me, "I never learned as much about trains and bicycles as I did when I helped you put together that trip in 2008." Alan had been working with the Deutsche Bahn for 20 years, and was the most knowledgeable person I could nominate about European trains, but he was still learning after all these years. An hour passed rapidly and it was time for both of us to get some sleep.

On the 21st, we woke up at 4:30am, ate a quick breakfast, and tried to take the Lufthansa bus to the airport. The driver refused to take the tandem, so we reverted to our backup plan, which was to take the S-Bahn. A Partner Tageskarte and bike ticket cost nearly 22 EUR, but we offset the cost by reselling the ticket at the airport to an incoming British couple for 10EUR. It was a long wait for the Air Canada ticket counter to open, and we were charged for an extra bag because all the equipment and chocolate made our big bag overweight, causing us to have to check in one of the panniers separately. The flight delivered everything safely (including the unboxed and stripped bike), and all went well.


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