Oh, where to begin? If what serves me for memory these days is reliable, the last time I put any up on this ‘umble blog was just about exactly two months ago today.
This is being typed in the Pittsburgh airport. I had not intended to travel to Pittsburgh. Not that I have anything against the city or its state. It’s just that I had intended to be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean at this exact moment, on my way to Germany by way of Constantinople. [Digression: The place was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for just over 1,100 years, from 330-something to 1453. It was Constantinople all that time. Even once the Turk conquered it, the place stayed Constantinople until the 1920s. When the Turk has held the place as long as the Romans did, I’ll call it whatever they want me to. So call me back in 500-odd years.]
I am flying to Germany for the first time in almost exactly five years. In fact, other than a nine-day trip with my youngest boy in the summer of 2013 (nine days, eight nights in a tent, 2,512.4 miles, six states, five battlefields, two museums, a national parkway, and a mountain, and although he was one month past his seventh birthday, he never once complained about being hot, thirsty, hungry, tired, or bored . . . and the whole trip was for the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg), it’s my first vacation since then. I’d like to say I’ve earned it, but that wouldn’t be the case. Suffice it to say that the opportunity came my way, and that was that.
I’ll be spending most of my time in southwest Germany, rednecking around with an old law skool buddy of mine. But weekend after this coming one, I’ll be heading to Dresden for a few days. I’ll be there on the anniversary of the bombing. Every year on that night everyone turns out in downtown, down by the Frauenkirche, mostly, with candles. At exactly the moment when the first bombs began to fall, every church bell in town lights off. Here’s a YouTube video of it. Pretty impressive.
On a side note, one of the things I miss most about Germany is the sound of church bells. Real church bells, not the anemic tinklings of American churches, or – even worse – the electronic carillons you run into in places as incongruous as the county seat of my tiny little county.
So there we were, heading for Washington International, and the nice pilot comes over the intercom to allow that the weather’s closed in at Dulles and we’re getting diverted to Pittsburgh. We were supposed to arrive at Dulles at 9:15 p.m; my connecting flight (on Turkish Airlines) was to leave at 11:10 p.m. At the risk of understatement, I did not make my connecting flight. So my choices came down to either throwing away all the money I’ve put into this trip so far, or paying several thousand dollars for an alternative connection to somewhere in Germany, or just buy another ticket for the same flight tomorrow night (Turkish has only a single flight each day from Dulles). I went for Option C, and so now, once United finally puts this flight on the ground in Washington, whenever that happens, I’ll get to spend until not quite 24 hours from now mooning about an airport.
I do propose to blog from Germany. I also propose maybe to catch up on at least some of the posting that’s been cracking about in my skull. We’ll have to see.