Monday, December 16, 2002

Weekend Report
Thanks to Kai I who gave me his old but comfortable Audi 100 I startet on Friday afternoon to meet Steffi in Waldshut near the Swiss border. But because of the bad weather I was behind the schedule and we adapted our plan and met in Schaffhausen, where the famous Rhein falls are to be seen. Around 8 the only thing between me and Steffi was the Swiss border. Maybe I should have been a bit nervous, 'cause I had no drivers license and no car registration documents with me (I can't find my license and Kai can't find his car documents - what a team we are).Zurich by night (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck) But you'll never been asked for that at the customs, truly believed. But today of all the days, the friendly Swiss customs official wanted to see my passport and my drivers license. I instantly said that I forgot the latter one which knocked him out for some seconds. But then he recovered and told me to park the car and wait. So I did. He made various phonecalls and I was just praying not to be returned, 'cause it would take me more than one hour to drive around this piece of Switzerland to Eberfingen where Steffi lives. Not to forget, that Steffi was still waiting at the Schaffhausen train station. But after some minutes the official came back, still not really sure what to do with me. I guess he confirmed with the German authorities that I at least possess a drivers license. Moreover I think he didn't want to send me back, but still it wasn't everything in an correct order, so he started small talk. Where I want to go, where I come from, what I will do in Switzerland and so on. I answered and finally he seemed to have a solution. It was a full scale inspection of the car. He asked me kindly if I would allow him to search in the car. What irony, as if I had a chance to resist.

Around 10 minutes later he seemed to be satisfied and gave me back my passport, not even advising me not to forget my papers next time. I drove off quickly, but not fast, as the speeding fines in Switzerland are heavier than you might imagine. Steffi was still waiting and we went to the so famous Rhein falls. Actually the Rhein falls were a "Reinfall" (learn German to understand the joke!!!), 'cause the fog destroyed any chance of seeing something. On the other hand it is quite impressive to listen to the daunting sound of flowing water. Maybe it was good that way and the falls look better in my imagination than a real picture can be.

No need to think about it further, Steffi and me drove home back to Germany, this time using an unofficial border crossing not to get checked again today. Saturday morning she gave brunch for some friends to celebrate her birthday. In the evening w went to Zurich in Switzerland to meet my cousin Lothar and visit the town. The christmas market was a desaster, some tiny huts stacked in a concourse, not very romantic. Anyway, the old town with its narrow alleys and multicultural flair has something. We went up to the university to get an aerial view over the town and the lake. Later in the evening we went back home. We crossed the border for 4 times for this small trip and they just one tome they wanted to see my passport. Things are normal again.

On Sunday I started early, half past six. It was raining and the temperature was around zero, but I made it to the Arlberg in Austria in less then two and a half hours, 'cause I could use the alarmingly empty autobahn. I met Geli and her friends at the parking ot of the ski-lift. They had just arrived some minutes ago, what a timing. I really enjoyed skiing for the time this season, I missed it. And now I'm looking eagerly forward to our skiing trip around New Years Day.

A small annotation to the picture. It's a building in Zurich decorated for Christmas. Not that nice, if you ask me, but it remembered me of the Korean style of overdecorating things.

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