Saturday, August 29th
Introduction & Arrival
This trip was the culmination of an ongoing set of ideas between myself and my friend Asmir regarding a joint visit to Europe. We had talked for some time over a period of a couple of years about a 'couples' trip with myself and Jenn, and himself and Miriam, his girlfriend. Of course, this idea was made much more plausible due to the fact that Miriam lives in Southern Germany -- the perfect jumping off point for something like this.
So, we finally firmed up the details in late spring of 2009: A trip of about two and a half weeks, starting on August 29 and ending on September 14. We'd tour parts of Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. We hoped that the timing of our trip -- the first part of September -- would offer us a combination of fewer other vacationers but with summerlike weather.
As we approached the start of our trip, Asmir threw in a little wrinkle. He'd been planning on asking 'the big question' (i.e. marriage) to Miriam for some time, and he felt that this visit was the time to ask. To that end, he secretly plotted to arrive a few days earlier than myself and Jenn so that he could surprise her and ask her to marry him. We sent a nervous Asmir off to Germany on Wednesday, August 26th, and wished him well. The next time we'd see him and Miriam, they would be engaged!
Cow ready to fly
Our flight destination was Munich, Germany, where Miriam and Asmir would be waiting to pick us up. We drove from Ottawa to the Montreal International Airport, parked the car at the park-and-ride, and went inside to catch our flight. In our quest for good tickets, we settled for a somewhat inefficient routing: Montreal to Toronto, and then Toronto to Munich. Bizarrely enough, this was less expensive than simply taking the same flight from Toronto to Munich.
Arriving in Toronto, we had a long, long, long walk from our arrival gate to our departure gate at the new 'Pier F' section of Terminal 1. Pier F is a very nice addition, huge and airy. And it has this very neat huge curved metal slab sculpture called Tilted Spheres. Very neat acoustic sound effects inside.
During this trip writeup, you may from time to time notice a little green, yellow and orange stuffed cow in shots. This is a little stuffed animal that Jenn has purchased for her neice. Before giving it to her, though, the little cow was 'taking a trip' to Europe, and Jenn intended to take pictures of the cow in all sorts of spots and scenes, make a picture book with them, then hand the book and cow to her niece. Her niece wants the cow to be called 'Cow', so that's what I'll refer to him as during the course of this report. (Asmir and I thought Eustache would have been a better name, frankly).
Cow on Cat
I neglected to perform an early enough web check-in for our flight, and as a result our seat assignments for the Toronto to Munich flight were not too great: 2 center seats, neither with aisle access. We staked out a spot at the gate well in advance of the flight, and with some careful pleading, we both got aisle seats. Next time I will be more careful.
Our flight from Toronto to Munich was uneventful and pleasant enough, and we arrived in Munich the next morning at about 10am local time.