I have arrived in Gütersloh, Germany but not without the help of many. I frequently remind myself “There but for the grace of God go I”. I have not been averse to go up to people and ask if they speak English. Fortunately, 99% have said yes and been happy to help me.
My traveling was horrendous. I had to go through five airports (2 in Ecuador and 1 each in Bogota, Paris, and Hannover (Germany) on four planes for two days, with 19 hours of layoTravel Painvers. Seven and eight-hour layovers are really boring. If one could travel from major hub to major hub, it probably would be much better.
My second airport did not seem to know how to book me all the way to Germany. They flagged me for some reason, and twice I had to explain why I was traveling, how long I was staying, and show that I had an onward flight. I don’t know why they were so skeptical about me. I managed to overcome the challenges without telling them what I would be doing. Some countries consider my venture to be employment and they would require a work visa.
The People I Met
I’m still living out of a backpack along with a computer bag. The only good part of flying is I have no luggage to check. In the end, I found train travel to be superior to air travel. But it was meeting very nice people along the way who saved each day.
I had an interesing conversation with a young woman from Cuenca (where I lived) who was a native of New Zealand but a world traveler.Then I met a man from Toronto of Sri Lanken ancestry. He liked guessing games and guessed me to be 57 years old!! I guessed him to be 45, but he told me he was 27 (oops). I have trouble guessing ages.
A Cancelled Train
The third day, I went to get my train and found that it had been cancelled for that day only. One other person had arrived to get the train, so I asked him if he could help me, as I needed to get to a second train station. He turned out to work in the travel industry and knew all the ropes. He invited me to join him in a taxi ride to the second station.
He helped me buy a ticket in a kiosk and got me to the train I needed (he then went off to get his train). Once on the train, I saw it pass through some towns and I got concerned that I was on an express train which wouldn’t stop in Gütersloh. A couple of young guys assured me that the train would stop where I needed to get off.
“There but for the grace of God go I” sure proved to turn this trip from what might have been a real nightmare into a success. Thank God for good people.
Fact: Gütersloh has approximately 10,000 Arameans, the largest number of Arameans of any other towns in Germany
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