To the Letter
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
Show trip route
The flight was fantastic, one of the best so far. I found myself sitting next to an amazing Scandinavian woman which passed the time in the blink of an eye. In just twenty minutes we were in Frankfurt!
Her incredible take on life and perfectly timed comments had me pondering and questioning all sorts of things, and when something funny was said her laughter flew right out and did huge laps around the whole cabin. She was another of life's rare diamonds. At one point we were interrupted by an air hostess who politely asked us if we wouldn't mind leaving the plane. Apparently the staff and the crew wanted to go home. Selfish.
We said our goodbyes and she invited me over when I eventually hit Sweden. I said I would. Because I will.
While we're on the subject of generosity and random acts of kindness I have to point out a few more which deserve a special mention. This further batch is how I've come to be sitting here at 38,000 feet soaring above Reykjavik with a few spare Euros in my pocket and an overwhelming grip of exhaustion. Couchsurfing experience number three: the delightful Nicole from Bad Homburg.
After donning my pack I followed her instructions to the letter and took the three trains over to the Homburg bahnhof where I stood outside, dithering cold in anticipation of step two. Apart from three or four taxi drivers peering comfortably into their dash-mounted DVD players, there was nothing or no-one around. No shops, no bars, no sounds or sign of life, nothing. Just a stinging cold chill in the air and a damp smoggy haze that filtered the distant neon city glow and gave a lick of moisture to the cold tarmac. Eerie doesn't come close.
It was 10.30pm, bitter cold and my only source of comfort was the new Beatles album 'Love', which I'd got piping nicely through the MP3. I also knew that in an hour Nicole would be finishing work and heading over to the station to pick up some dodgy looking pom who would eventually be found pacing up and down briskly outside the station entrance eating a stale sandwich.
She threw my belongings in the boot of the car and instinctively rubbed the cold vigorously from my arms. I think she felt sorry for me. This made me smile. I wouldn't have felt sorry for me.
Her apartment was impeccable, as was she. In fact she was gorgeous, and considering it was almost midnight and I had to be at the airport again in just under seven hours, the immense generosity and kindness was on the brink of overwhelming. Her highly uncomplicated and warm nature made for a gem of an experience. We sat up until well after 4.30am talking randomly and supping on the Rioja I'd bought over from Spain. Two hours later and we were thundering along the autobahn as I poured two glasses of freshly filtered coffee from a flask. Nicole took the wheel. We were running late but everything was under control: 'Trust me, I'm German. You have nothing to worry about..' which of course is already of prime nomination status for quote of the year. The thirteen hour flight lay just a couple of hours away. I was so tired my nerve endings were almost shaking. Why do I do it?
Nicole powered the car into a tiny space and accompanied me through the check-in process, insisting that I make it through without a problem. She left clutching an important package I needed sending to England but never got chance to post beforehand (your package Daniel.) She insisted she'd take care of it and that I was just to enjoy my flight. What a gal.
Obviously, I don't need to make my thoughts clear on all this as it goes without saying. Let's just say that there'll be some serious karma paid forward along the way. Nicole is one of life's angels, and one that I can only hope to encounter again.
Couchsurfing experience No 3: Nicole73