Sunday, May 16, 2010

en route to Bologna

Right now I’m sitting on the floor by the doors of train on my way to the Frankfurt airport. I failed to make a seat reservation on the train (a gamble which hasn’t left me seat-less until today). Anyway, it’s not so bad because it’s one of the fancy intercity express trains (=clean).

Yesterday I had to deal with credit card fraud – unpleasant no matter what, but particularly unpleasant from abroad. The funny part is that the illicit activity was for charges at the iTunes store in the amounts of $39, $1, and $1. Now, if you were commiting credit card fraud, wouldn’t you try for something bigger? At least a couple hundred dollars in iTunes purchases?

Anyway, I’m headed to Italy for the first time since 2001. Hard to believe it’s been that long. I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before – Bologna. Sadly my summer of Italian lessons back in 2001 didn’t stick and I couldn’t even remember how to say, “Do you speak English?” until I looked it up on Wikitravel (Parla inglese?). I’m going there for a short course in Genomic and Cultural Evolution of Humans. Then I’ll go to the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen (Netherlands) Wednesday evening to give a presentation on Thursday, then I’ll be in Amsterdam Friday, then Mainz (Germany) Saturday through Monday, and finally back to Leipzig Monday evening. No need to get back on Sunday: Monday is one of the many German holidays in May… Whitsun-something-or-other.

I’ll try to blog and upload some pics of new places this week, but it depends on my access to the Internets.

For now, here’s a picture of something else that’s returning to Italy after a long hiatus: my trusty backpack. Some of you might remember it from trips we’ve taken abroad together. It’s hard to believe I still use it after all these years.

p.s. Just after writing this the train got really really full with lots of people like me who didn't have seat reservations and so I got to sit curled up in a ball on the floor for 3 hours on the way to the airport... but I survived! ;)

p.p.s. What I'm actually doing right now is sitting in a cafe in the Frankfurt airport. My flight to Bologna was canceled, so I have some extra time. Don't freak out, they re-routed me on another flight that leaves 45 minutes later than the canceled flight. Now I'm connecting in Rome Fiumicino. I might just get nostalgic...

p.p.p.s. The flight was not canceled because of Iceland's volcano. There was some sort of plane malfunction.

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