Trip to Germany

Last week I went on a trip to Germany to see a manufacturer, in my capacity as Group Editor – a very worthwhile trip I must say – to see new products, how they came into being and them then being open to questions – hard nosed ones as well at times – from various sources. It was a pain to be caught up in delays at the airport due to snow – as mentioned by my colleagues in their blogs – who tell me they were laughing at what my reactions might be and how much coffee I consumed. Now this is not a complaint that things were delayed. It is one of those things I have come to expect when travelling, especially with air travel. German efficiency is often spoken about but it is true, everything humanly possible is done in a manner to make sure that things run smoothly. There had been over 36 hours of snowfall and it was still falling as we went to the airport and it was deep. The roads didn’t grind to a halt as all too often they do here, and on arriving at the airport, clearing security and looking out at the runways, I saw a gang of 5 snow ploughs snaking behind each other to remove the snow ever more closely to the run way so that planes could get out, albeit somewhat delayed. The dance as they weaved around was mesmerising and fun to watch them every so often at an interlude whilst another coffee or bratwurst was eaten and 411 pages of my book were read in total.

They also had two specialist long-arm vehicles dedicated to spraying planes due to take off with de-icer as they taxied to the runway – the temperature was -12 to – 14°C and everyone was apologetic as to the hold ups, planes had been cancelled and runways were shut whilst they too were sprayed with de-icer to keep things flowing as best they could. After many hours’ delay we took off for what was to be a smooth flight back.

It was dark on take off, but as we got above the cloud cover and about 30 minutes into the flight, there was the most dazzling colourful sunset I have seen. It was as though the sky was on fire. Vibrant hues of red, orange and yellows were reflecting off the clouds making them look as though the sky was aglow with streaks of colour. It all lasted about 10 minutes before the sun disappeared over the horizon to be replaced by darkness. Oh to have been able to use or have a camera handy. It was one of those moments when you just stare mouth open and appreciate what is in front of you. No photo, painting, graphic illustration or anything can convey that moment truly, but it is something I shall remember for a very long time.

So even though there were delays, other than time and a bit of juggling, nothing was really lost. The meeting was excellent, the flight OK, but the unexpected sunset made things well worthwhile.