Friday was my last day in Germany before I spent a day getting home. It was another planning day (work wise) and it was clear from early in the day that we weren’t going to finish early. We eventually finished at just after 3pm and then we had a 2-hour car journey back to Cologne airport. I have always wondered what people do in towns like Schmallenberg. On the way there and back to Cologne we passed through numerous villages with plenty of houses in each. I eventually asked my German colleagues what these people do to earn a living and I was told they work in what is called German Middle Industry. These are family owned factories and businesses which manufacture for other larger business such as the German motor industry. They said it is the heart of German industry and the economy. In fact, I discovered that in Schmallenberg was the Falke sock factory (and I have been traveling there for 10 years now and didn’t know that).
Over the course of Friday it transpired that I could get an upgrade (which I was pretty keen to do) but when the travel agent tried to reissue my ticket she couldn’t. So not only could I not check in, I in fact didn’t have a ticket even anymore. Nothing like a little stress to add to the trip home. To make matters worse I could only sort out the ticket at Munich airport and I first had to drive to Cologne airport and then fly to Munich. My transfer time in Munich was also pretty limited. Fortunately the flight from Cologne was on time and despite Munich airport being extremely confusing I did managed to find the Emirates desk and get it all sorted out in time.
The flight from Munich to Dubai was on an A380 which is now my favourite plane to travel on. What made it even more amazing was that Emirates have showers on board (not kidding – see picture). They are also pretty spacious bathrooms and bigger than some bathrooms I have experienced in hotels. I was tempted to have a shower just to say that I had done it but given the flight was only 6 hours to Dubai and it was 10:30pm when we took off, I figured that sleep was probably more important and gave it a skip. I had just over an hour to transfer in Dubai and it took me 40 minutes to get from the one gate to the other (it is a massive airport). I arrived as the flight was boarding.
I got home at 4:45pm on Saturday and Helen left for the airport at 6:15pm for her flight to London (she is going on a work related trip). At about the same time, Michael and Stephen started their journey home which involved a train to Interlaken, switch to a train to Bern, switch to a train to Zurich airport. Then Zurich to Dubai to Cape Town. They arrived home this afternoon. We figured out that Saturday was truly a day of #templetravels with only Chloe being in the same place when the day started and ended. The good thing is that everyone got safely to where they needed to be and generally on time as well.
As is traditional I will finish this series of blog posts with my concluding thoughts about Dubai:
1. It is an expensive place to visit. Everything is expensive. The food, the alcohol (most expensive place that I have visited in this regard) and even the general shopping. I am not sure why people go to Dubai to shop – it is not cheap and there are numerous places in the world you can buy things cheaper.
2. There are no poor people in Dubai. Everyone drives a black Mercedes. They must sell the most of those in World in Dubai. I never saw anyone poor or even close to poor. I assume they don’t have them at all or they don’t let them anywhere near other people.
3. It is an incredibly diverse city – probably the most diverse I have visited. From the fully covered (even eyes covered by a veil), very religious Muslims through to the most secular people you could find. I am not sure how they manage to co-exist and I am sure there is some tension and issues from time to time.
4. It is very clean. I never saw any litter while we were there – not even a cigarette butt. I suspect they deal quite harshly with anyone who litters. And it seems to work. Makes a nice change from some other cities in the world. The place is generally pristine.
It was an interesting place to visit but I am not sure I would be rushing back at any point in the future. I think we all certainly prefer other places in the World – Dubai would not even make my top 20 cities I have visited.
Until next time …
P, H (from Paris), S, M & C