Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh how I love traveling!

Don't you just love it when you have everything planned out perfectly. Flight booked, poles in storage at the airport, and all I have to do is walk 5 min, jump on a train, transfer to one other train, pick up the poles at storage and check in at the airport. It all sounded so promising, a day of international travel with little to no stress. Wouldn't that have been nice! It started off perfectly, breakfast, coffee, tickets in hand and out the door, supposed to end up at the airport at 8:45am almost 3 hours before my flight, plenty of time. First train is right on time, 7:17, I jump on, ride it for about 20 minutes get out and head right to the next terminal to jump on the ICE train straight to the airport. I have about 8 min until the train arrives and as I wait an announcement comes blaring out in german of course. I can't understand anything other than Frankfurt flughafen, airport, I look around and noone seems happy. In fact they all start to leave, I still have no idea what's happening but I can tell its not good. I frantically start looking for an information desk or someone who can help me. I finally find out that the train is cancelled due to some damage to the tracks or something. A nice gentleman tells me there's another train going to the airport from the main station, he tells me to jump on train 10 and go to the main station. I don't even hesitate, I know I'm in a time sensitive situation and don't have time to mess around. Luckily the guy was telling the truth, so I get out and immediately find a kiosk, luckily it has an english button so I can read it. It says there is a train going to the airport that leaves in 5 minutes and gets there the same time as the other train I was going to take! I rush to the terminal, the train comes and I get on, I exhale, that was a close one. I was pretty proud of myself for not panicking and figuring out where I needed to be in such little time. Now its time to relax, so I go to the cafe car and order some coffee, enjoying the sights of the German countryside and a few castles here and there. The ride is only supposed to be an hour, at one point I hear an announcement,(on this train they repeat everything in english) that says the train is running 7 minutes late, no big deal. I wait until about 5 min to go, get up and walk towards the door. 5 minutes go by, nothing, I think maybe there a few min off on their estimate. 20 min go by, 35 min, nothing, finally they come on the announcement and say that we are running 75 minutes late! What! Now I'm freaking out because I'm only going to have 80 minutes to retrieve my poles from the baggage storage area, and find my gate and check in. We finally get to the airport and I learn I have to take a bus to my terminal, YES! that helps so much! I finally get to my terminal and have maybe 45 min until my flight. I run to the counter and tell the lady I have stabhochsprung poles in the storage, it doesn't matter how many times I've heard that word(german for pole vault) said noone every understands me. So I start motioning my hands to try and convey pole vault poles to a lady who is looking at me like I'm on drugs! Finally she understands, tells me to run and get them and she will check me in. I get back, and she tells me it will be 16 euros/kg my bag is 30kg! She asked if I wanted to leave the bag at the airport, I laughed and said I wish. I pay her, because I'm pretty sure I will be reimbursed at the meet, and I head to my departure gate. I made it! I'm covered in sweat from running around with my backpack and huge bag, oh yeah and those freaking 30kg poles, that's like 66lbs! Stupid things... So here I sit, my flight is delayed of course, I don't know how long but I know its long enough that I couldve walked here instead of ran everywhere!
This is the life of a professional pole vaulter. Traveling abroad is pretty cool, like I said experiencing the new cultures and the people I meet are unforgettable. But throw a 17 foot 65 pound bag in there and your perspective changes quite a bit. But as my good friend and agent told me today in an email, "enjoy the adventure." Guess that's all there is to say about that.

Always Pursuing,
Mark

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