What an amazing 24 hours.  First, thank you all for the comments on my slightly-frustrated post from yesterday.  It meant a lot.  In fact, I felt better about having walked Rome for a few hours yesterday morning.

Once I arrived in Germany last night, I had the pleasure of joining a small birthday celebration at Gutshotel Burggarten, adjacent to the Burggarten winery in Heppingen.  I've never been in the German wine area before, and it was pretty cool to stay at the inn on the premises of this small winery and inn.  The premises were very nice, even if they had no Internet access method and no overpriced minibar snacks.  The dinner and breakfast were excellent, the company better.  I did not ask permission to blog their names, but vielen danke to you all for such warm hospitality in your "home away from home".

After a great morning meeting today, though, things went downhill.  Access to the Cologne/Bonn airport should have taken fifteen minutes from our meeting location.  However, the Autobahn entrance ramp was backed up signficiantly, and we sought another way to the flughafen.  Unfortunately, that way was no better.  Ultimately, I missed the flight by ten minutes. :(  My destination, though, was Frankfurt -- 150 KM from CGN.  Could a Volkswagen Phaeton with V10 engine make it to Frankfurt for me to catch my connection anyway?  The race against the clock seemed promising.  Unfortunately, about 40 KM from Frankfurt Airport, the Autobahn traffic slowed, and finally, stopped.  This was not my first time in stopped Autobahn traffic...but it was different, as we noticed that there was no oncoming traffic, either.  After a few minutes hoping, we exited the Autobahn, hoping for an alternate route.  The side roads were backed up, too.  Ultimately, realizing I wouldn't make my flight tonight, we turned around and headed back to Cologne.  I briefly considered taking the ICE train to Frankfurt, but the Autobahn accident apparently involved hazardous cargo.  As the ICE bahn adjoins the Autobahn, I was worried the trains might be shut down or delayed.  [It turns out, I was right.]  So, back to CGN we came.  And here I've been sitting for two hours, with another one to go before boarding for a 30 minute flight.

I'll get to Toronto tomorrow mid-day, and in a silver-lining moment, the Air Canada morning flight is a 777 with their wonderful fully-flat business class seats.  I guess it's the best I can hope for out of what has ultimately been a very very long day.  But I have a few movies in my travel bag, and I am going to plan on a relaxing flight.  It will be Saturday, after all, and anything else can wait.

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