Business Trip To Germany

If you have been watching my Quick Thoughts updates to the right, then you know I was recently in Germany on a business trip. I really like trips to Germany, but they are still hard on one. This was a pretty quick trip except that we had a weekend stay involved.

One of my colleagues and I departed Tucson last Tuesday at about 9:30 for the long flight over to Germany. Luckily, when we travel overseas, we get to go in business class. International business class is much nicer than domestic first class.

It was an uneventful two hour trip to Dallas to catch our international flight. It’s always a mixed bag of desires on what plane one gets for the flight over. The 777 is newer and has more comfortable seats. However, it utilizes a crappy in seat video system for movies. The movies are on a loop, so you have to time it right to catch the movie you want to watch. The selection is also very limited. The 767 on the other hand, is older with less comfortable seats. Since it doesn’t have the in seat video system, each traveler is given a portable DVD system preloaded with a bunch of movies, probably 3x the in seat system. Plus, being DVDs, you watch what you want, when you want. Despite all my overseas travel, I do not sleep well on the airplane and usually watch 3 to 4 movies, so this is a big deal to me. Our flight over to Zurich, Switzerland was on a 767.

It was 10 hour flight over and then we had a brief one hour connection of our final flight destination in Munich, Germany. All told, we spend about 16 hours in the air or the airport. After arriving in Munich, we got our rental car and drove an hour or so to our first destination. We stayed in a very nice little hotel in this town of maybe 5 – 10 thousands folks. The little hotel had maybe 50 rooms, but was wonderful. I rarely stay in large, Western style hotels when in Germany. I love the small, rural hotels and the folks that you meet.

We checked into the hotel a bit after noon. On the first day, I absolutely refuse to nap or go to bed before 10 in order to bypass as much jet lag as possible. We set out into the town and grabbed some nice lunch in a local restaurant. I really like German food. I am not sure I have met a schnitzel that I didn’t like. Anyways, between lunch and dinner, I must have spent 3 1/2 hours walking around town getting exercise and staying awake. My colleague joined me for some of the time, but crashed for some of it. We had arranged to me at 6 for dinner. When we met, he said he was too tired and going to bed, so I dined alone. I enjoyed a couple of Dunkles Weissbier with my dinner and spent some time chatting with the hotel owner. It was an enjoyable evening. I finally crashed for the night at 10:00 pm.

I slept through the night wonderfully and awoke refreshed in the morning. My colleague, on the other hand, woke up at 2 am and was up for 3 hours or so before getting back to sleep. He spent the first few days jet lagged where as I felt great. It is imperative that one stays up as late as possible that first day in country.

We spent Thursday and Friday in this town, driving to our meetings about 30 minutes away in the morning. They were good productive meetings. On Saturday, we drove from the Munich area up to Koblenz, Germany where we had arranged to spend the weekend. Koblenz is a much larger town that is located on the junction point of the Mosel and Rhine rivers (Deuteches Eck). It was about a 5 hour drive from Munich to Koblenz. My colleague was driving but failed to take advantage of the autobahn. We must have been the slowest moving vehicle on the road.

We enjoyed a couple of very nice days in this town walking along the river banks and eating our several of our meals in site of the rivers. If it had been a bit warmer, we might taken a river cruise. I have stayed in this town before and taken the river cruise. They are very nice. The temperature for most of the trip was in the 40’s.

Our last meetings of the trip were in Bonn, Germany on Monday afternoon. We checked out of the hotel in the morning and made the hour drive to Bonn. After our meetings, we made a tiring two hour drive to Frankfurt where we were spending the night to more easily facilitate catching our flight in the morning. The return trip was on a 777. The total airport and flight time was about the same though we were able to go directly from Frankfurt to Dallas. Again, thankfully, the flight was uneventful.

Now, its back to the grind at work. Its nice to get out of the office once in a while. And while its nice to visit Germany on a trip, the international travel is pretty exhausting. We are looking at a return trip to Germany some time in the first quarter of 2008 with other possible trips later in the year. Meanwhile, I have several smaller, continental business trips upcoming before my Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, we still dont have another cruise booked yet.