This blog has experienced a rather long silence, mostly because of time pressure from work and because Michi's sister and brother in law came with our two lovely little nieces. We’ve been showing them around Stuttgart for the bare five days they were able to be with us.
Today we dropped them off at Stuttgart main station on a train for Frankfurt, and at the same time we were able to finally get tickets so we can come to the UK by rail from May the 12th to June the 9th. We also have a ‘Britrail’ pass to travel within the country so hopefully we can get to a couple of places and see people, although the 7mmnga meeting in Burton won't be possible.
We've wanted to go by rail and the recent announcement by the local airport ("We need more money, so we're going to take more land and build another runway") made us only more determined not to fly. Besides, the airline industry is very creative imagining up extra ways to make life more miserable, like determining that you can only carry 100ml of water, shouting at you at every opportunity, and dreaming up lots of extra 'costs' so after you've booked your flight they add things like 'Airport Tax', 'Service charge', 'Administration charges', 'fuel surcharge', 'security costs', 'runway toll', and 'Mandatory Insurance'.
I may have got a bit confused with some of those costs as the list is very long and in very small print, but with these little extras and the overnight stop in a hotel because the plane lands in Manchester just before ten, and the taxi fare to and from the hotel, the train actually looks reasonable in comparison: it is definitely quicker door-to-door, and that at 10% of the emissions, much less noise, no massive runways, and no-one shouting at us about how much water we can carry.