FROM THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
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A dual purpose mission to help create peace and harmony in Europe
Leaving London, Touring Innsbruck
The worst and the best of trips in one day
INNSBRUCK, Austria, Mar 2, 2012 - It was the worst and the best part of the trip so far. And it all happened in a single day.The worse part was leaving London, the best everything about Innsbruck.
Since I lightened up the load a bit after dropping off some gifts to my family in London, I thought I would take the tube to Victoria Station this morning and then the train to Gatwick, from where my flight to Innsbruck was supposed to depart. Well, never again.
Even with my lightened bag, I still had to drag it up and down all sorts of stairs on the tube and the train stations. It reminded me of a similar hassle Elizabeth and I had in Venice during our October 2011 European Pilgrimage. England is still quite backward when it comes to escalators and elevators.
And then when I got to Gatwick, I must have walked more miles than in Central London. I even had to take another train from the South to the North Terminal, and then walk and walk. Plus it was foggy again. So we were again delayed by about an hour. This time, they kept us cooped up on board.
But I didn't realize how lucky we actually were. Unlike yesterday when I got some Divine help, fog kept delaying flights at all London airport, according to this travel news story I just received (see U.K.: Fog delays flights at London airports, 02-Mar-2012 04:51:06 PM (GMT).
There was another bright spot in my London experience this morning. It had to do with the Spirit and the human spirit. As I was approaching the Gloucester Rd station with my two cases in two, I spontaneously called on my guides and teachers to thank them for all they have been doing, even rearranging the London weather so that I can carry out my mission. My heart welled up and reached out to the Spirit as I was entering the station.
Once inside, I paused to get my bearings. Being only about 6:30AM, no ticket counters were manned. Two London Transit employees saw me standing there and looking around. They asked if they can help. I said I needed to buy a single ticket to Victoria. Well, they stopped their lively conversation, and one of them took me to an automatic ticket machine.
"Do you have coins?" he asked.
I did. And I handed them to him.
He proceeded to buy me a ticket. "There," he said, handing it to me. "Have a nice trip."
I could not believe my eyes. Here were two probably grossly underpaid, overworked and underappreciated blue collar workers of the London Transit system. And they went out of their way to help a stranger. Then I remembered what had happened just before I entered the station (my conversation with the Spirit).
"Aha," I said to myself, smiling ear-to-ear. "I get it."
Whatever hassles I had had leaving London dissipated when I got to Innsbruck. Everything was absolutely perfect and gorgeous around here, including the weather. Check out the gorgeous Alpine scenery in the album below during and after our landing.
My hotel is right in the center. A nice check in clerk also upgraded me to the top floor with a gorgeous view of the valley around Innsbruck (see these pics, too).
I walked all over this city that hosted the Winter Olympics twice for the first time. I have been through Innsbruck several times, including in 2009 with Elizabeth enroute to Zurich (I even found the bridge we crossed and the market where Elizabeth had her long-awaited bratwurst). But I never really "saw it" before today, if you know what I mean. And now that I have, I can tell you, Innsbruck is stunningly beautiful. And so are its inhabitants. And the facades of its buildings which betray Austria's imperial history.
I finally I sat down to rest my weary legs at a lovely coffee and patisserie-konditorei (sweets) shop, and had a cappuccino and tiramisu. Yummy! You can see a picture of me somewhere in the middle of the album.
After that, I went shopping for flowers and other ingredients for our Despacho for tomorrow's healing ceremony in the Alps. That was quite an adventure, too. One flower shop had while carnations but not red. The other had red but not white. Both are needed for a Despacho. The red ones represent Pachamama, the Earth. The white one, the heavens.
The two shops were about a mile away from each other. So I got a good exercise shopping for Despacho flowers. :-) You can also see them in the album below. I put them in a vase for tonight. Tomorrow, they'll go into the Despacho. You can blow your own love and healing breath into them.
Then I discovered an amazing indoor mall with a wonderful supermarket, kind of like the upscale AJ's stores in Arizona. That's where I got some of my Despacho food ingredients.
I wished Elizabeth were here. She loves shopping. And she would have loved the shops in Innsbruck. So I did the next best thing, I got her a couple of presents.
And then I saw something that was really cute: A red Tyrolean hat. But I did not want to buy it because I did not know if she would like it. So I asked the sales lady to model it for me so Elizabeth could see it before I buy it. I am still waiting for her answer. Hawaii is still asleep as I write this... :-) You can also see that photo in the album.
When I returned to my hotel room, I found a lovely fruit basket with a bottle of mineral water. Compliments of the hotel manage. A nice touch. Lots of nice touches around here. They also have a piano in the hotel lobby. So I played it for about half an hour before coming to write this. Then I have to practice my flute a bit more for tomorrow's ceremony.
When I got back to the hotel, I also found a reply from the Bolzano Archeology Museum director reconfirming arrangements for my tomorrow's visit there. They are all set and will have an expert archeologist ready to meet me and take me to the Otzi the Iceman exhibit right after the Museum opens tomorrow morning at 10. The director said I will not be able to make it to the actual place where Otzi was discovered. That's too high up in the Alps to be able to reach at this time of the year. But she thought I might be able to make it to Schnals (Senales in Italian), about an hour or so northwest of Bolzano. I should be able to see from there the Similaun mountain where Otzi took his last breath 5,300 years ago. So things are falling into place.
So with that, guess it's time to stop and get some dinner chow. Looking forward to connecting with all of you tomorrow at 2PM CET via the ceke lines.
[2 hours later]
Just had a lovely goulash dinner at a very plain looking restaurant around here. I had spotted it during my afternoon walk and marked it as a possible choice for dinner. I know that the best food is usually found at ordinary looking places which the locals frequent. And so it was. Excellent. And large portions, too. And relatively inexpensive. Just like I thought by the plain looks of the place. Looks can be deceiving when it comes to European restaurants.
In the end, I ended up needing to apologize for another couple who did not leave a tip for the poor waiter who was run off his feat. He thought they were English (and thus stingy). But I knew they were Americans, from Minnesota, who are actually now in Flagstaff, AZ, and then living in Prague for a few months. Go figure. So I gave the waiter an extra tip for them, too, so he would not think that all Americans are cheap. :-) He was very grateful. He was from Cyprus. And he was really a good hard-working man.I've added some pictures I took from inside the restaurant to the album so you can see how simple it was.
Innsbruck Photo Album (Mar 2, 2012)
TO BE CONTINUED...