Last night I got back from Dusseldorf, Germany after attending Worlds 2009.
I left my house on Thurs, Oct. 8 at around 2:15pm to catch a bus 30 minutes away that would take me to the Leeds Airport. I waited about 10 minutes at the stop before getting picked up. The thing that confused me about the bus was that it didn’t announce any stops, and had no map, so if you weren’t familiar with the area, you were basically SOL. The bus luckily drives straight to the airport, so it is hard to miss the stop.
I arrived about 3 hours before my flight, just to be safe not knowing how long the bus would take, how busy the airport would be, etc. I ended up having to basically strip down at the airport because I kept setting the alarm off. After getting through security. I just sat down and relaxed. The thing I found wierd about the airport was that it didn’t announce which gate your plane would be until about 30 minutes before it departed. Luckily this airport was small, so it wasn’t a problem.
The flight departed around 8:00pm. It was really only my first night flight, so landing in Dusseldorf and seeing all the lights I thought was awesome. I woman at sat next to on the plane was also going to be training out of the airport, so we basically walked through the airport together and got on the same train. The signs at DUS (Dusseldorf International Airport) were horrible. After getting through setting and the passport check, I had no idea where to go, so I basically just walked around until I saw a sign for a train. Once I got to the train, I saw no way to buy tickets, or no maps showing where the trains go. I asked someone which train to get on to go to the main train station, so I got on it and left. After a 5 minute ride or so, I got off at the main station. My next goal from the main station was to get on a train bound for the Luegplaz station. I was able to find the correct train quite easily. Once on that train, I kept looking for a map to tell me when to get off, but couldn’t find anything. I woman sitting next to me asked me where I needed to get off, and then told me it was the next stop. I luckily knew that since I saw a sign at the previous stop that I recognized.
After getting off at Luegplaz, I walked along the Rhine River looking for the hostel that I was staying at. It took me about 20 minutes of walking to find it, but once I did I found a bunch of other cubers and was glad to have arrived.
The next several days was full of staying up late, sleeping little, waking up early, missing buses, and cubing. It was tiring, but well worth it. On Monday, Oct 12, my flight didn’t leave until 9:00pm. I spent all of Monday walking about Dusseldorf with 3 Swedish people and Dave Campbell (Canadian). After eating at a delicious German restaurant, me and the 3 Swedes traveled to the airport together. After saying goodbye to them, I sat at my gate for around 3 hours and slept a bit. My flight ended up being about 20 minutes late, but that wasn’t a problem. Once on the plane, I met a guy from Leeds who lived in Headingley (where I live). We ended up talking about everything from cubing to the Royal family. I asked him if he was taking the bus, and he said he was taking a cab, and asked if I wanted to join since we were going close to the same area. After getting off the plane, I waited for him to get his baggage, and then we went and booked a taxi at the airport office. The taxi was already waiting for us, so we just hopped on and was on our way. The taxi driver was really friendly, and it really made the ride home a fun, relaxing adventure.
I got home at around 11pm or so. What an amazing experience.