I am in Germany this week at the Photokina conference in Cologne (Köln). This is my first trip to Germany and it is very cool. About 12 people on my team flew from Seattle through Copenhagen to Düsseldorf and then took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel.
The only remarkable moment on the trip here happened when I was just starting to get to sleep on the flight from Seattle to Copenhagen. My seat was right next to one of the lavatories so it was really noisy each time someone would use the facility. I had just dozed off when something whacked me on the head. I looked over a bit groggily and saw a woman sitting on the floor in the aisle next to me looking a bit out of it. I asked if she was OK and she said "no, I don't think so" and then proceeded to lie down in the aisle. I tried to press my call button, but it was broken. At that point, Dave (who was lucky enough to get Economy PLUS seat on this flight) comes out of the lavatory right next to us and sees the woman on the ground. He looks at me and then steps over her and heads back to his seat. I guess having someone lying in the middle of the aisle on the plane isn't that unusual for some people. As I am about to get up to go find a flight attendant, the woman says "Oh, wait a minute" and crawls into one of the other lavatories and I don't hear from her again. Weird.
I didn't get much more sleep after that due to the fact that I was sitting next to a pretty big guy and we spent most of the flight trying to negotiate space usage between us -- without ever actually speaking.
When we got to Copenhagen, we walked through passport control (new stamp!) and then had to walk through a big mall to get to a different terminal of the airport. Most signs in the airport were in multiple languages and of course, I was pretty tired but it was interesting to think about my perceptions as I walked through the airport. Part of the time, I would be completely unable to read anything and it was like I was in a dream where you can see the writing but you can't figure out what it says. At other times, the nearby English translation would get processed before I even really thought about it and it was like there was nothing strange about it at all. This continued into Germany where many of the words are either the same, or clearly related so it isn't that hard to get by.
David (no, not Dave, on of the other Davids on our trip -- there are 4 -- let's call this one little David) mentioned as we were walking through that mall area that sometimes you hear a group of people in a mall back at home speaking a foreign language, and this time, we were that group. That made it much cooler :) It is definitely a lot easier to travel in a foreign country when you are with a bunch of people who speak your language.
More on the trip throughout the week due to the fact that this hotel has a broadband internet connection. YAY!