Travel is changing. With every airline charging people to check bags now, everyone is hauling everything they own onto the plane. I keep thinking I'll see a sheep; and I complained about dogs. Really. People bring their dogs onto planes now. As I said to a seatmate a couple of weeks ago, they can bring on a dog, and I can't eat a *&^$%#& peanut.
It used to be that you sort of scooted onto the plane after the initial crush of people who had lined up to be first in line to breath that airplane air. Who wanted to be there longer than they had to? Well, now you get on as fast as you can so you have some space to jam your crap into the overhead bins. I don't check bags, but I never have. Checked is lost; if you're going somewhere for just 2 days, you can't afford to be without your stuff.
This is harder to do with winter events. You know, the kind I love best. You have to have bulky boots and a coat, your airplane sweater (okay, that might just be me), and stuff to wear once you're there. Which means high heels and leather jackets (okay, that might just be me, too). Anyway. I got to Frankfurt airport on Tuesday morning and sauntered off the plane and left my good ski jacket behind in an overhead bin.
Argh. I had to buy another one. In ski country. In ski weather. Yeah. I'm tearing through the airport looking at price tags of 240 Euros. I'd bought 100 Euros for $140 Cdn. Nice math, eh? Frankfurt airport is a big circle. As I traipsed around looking for the lost and found, I had to go through security 4 times. 4 times. I had to take off my boots and belt and coat and dump my stuff to be x-rayed and jump through the beeper machine and produce my little zip baggy of liquids 4 times. Why? Because 'I'm sorry Miss, but you haf left Germany, even though you haffent even left the airport!'. My passport has 4 stamps in it, all about 20 minutes apart. That L on my forehead isn't for Lorraine.
But then, we landed in Innsbruck. Wow. Gorgeous, gorgeous place. And, I scored a coat for 70 Euros at an H&M. It's hard to be mad when you're in the part of the world that invented Christmas. After dinner and an evening tour of Innsbruck, we headed to the tiny ski town of Kuehtai. That pic up top? That's where we based operations for the off road testing of the Mini Cooper S Countryman All4s. Fun fun fun.
You'll have to wait for my piece in the Star for details, but the fun stuff I can spill here. The second night, we were driven up into the mountains at a very cool restaurant. Long, twisting drive. After dinner, with a tiny bit of wine in me, we tobogganed back down. Yup. They handed us sleds, and off we went. If you want to go right, you lean left. It took me about halfway down to master this. I kept falling off. I was soaked. I was laughing my arse off, it was so much fun. You'd get up some speed, and realize you were about to plant yourself full speed into someone else. So, you'd yell and laugh and fall off. And get back on and keep barreling down the alp.
We asked our hosts who the most fun journos are. They of course can't admit it out loud, but we know. This is the Canadian contingent, apres tobaggon run. Jeff Voth, Mark Hacking, Annette MacLeod, some goofy chick, our BMW host Rob Dexter and Shawn who- is- so- young- I -can't- remember- his- last- name. Sorry, Shawn.