Food turned out to be less of a problem than in Berlin, oddly enough. There seemed to be lots of vegetarian restaurants, and we found a vegetarische imbiss at Schantzenstrasse and Susannenstrasse. I also got the impression that people were more friendly than in Berlin. Then again, perhaps it was my imagination, a side effect of my becoming more used to Germany. Josef had an original LP from the first release of Autobahn.
I have to admit that Hamburg had never made it to my shortlist of places I wanted to visit. Apparently I’m not alone in that respect, because research soon revealed that there weren’t any English-language guidebooks about Hamburg in print. I started assembling what information I could from online sources, while rothko purchased 2 German guidebooks and started reading those.
The reason for our choice of destination was simple: both sides of rothko’s family can be traced back to Hamburg. It was to be a visit to the ancestral homeland, and a chance to do some genealogical research. We would be staying with some distant relatives who had visited Minnesota many years before.
The shortest air journey from Austin to Hamburg is two hops via Continental. Unfortunately, the timing is less than ideal; the first flight leaves Austin at 06:30, and on arrival in Newark there’s a 6 hour gap before the connecting flight to Hamburg. Factoring in the recommendation that you arrive 2 hours prior to departure, drive time to the aiport, parking, shuttle buses and so on, I realized I was going to have to wake up around 04:00 at the latest.
I’ve been away in New York this week, at the IBM Palisades Executive Conference Center. Four days of team meetings with my immediate project team. Four of us are located in Austin, but senior management were in New York, so everyone traveled to New York via New Jersey. Traveling from Newark airport to Palisades isn’t exactly difficult, but it’s surprisingly easy to end up in Manhattan accidentally. There are two main traps I’ll need to remember if I go there again.
Our journey takes us via Newark’s “Freedom International Airport”. Since we’re not expecting more than a snack on the upcoming 6 hour flight to McCarren Airport in Las Vegas, we decide to get some food. We stop at a place called the Garden Diner. This is no cutesy diner-themed cafeteria; everything seems to come with fries. In fact, I notice that there’s an entire section of the menu devoted just to fries of various kinds.
Homeland security have declared an orange alert, but there don’t seem to be any problems getting us through security. We’re soon at the departure gate, and discover it has a great view of our hotel in the distance. McCarren Airport has some cool metal palm trees. There are slot machines in the departure terminals, so addicts can get a final fix before boarding their flights home. The flight seems uneventful… until the plane gets to Newark.