Travel in 2017 ended not with wistful excursions to Nice and Riffelsee but rather with the standard home trip to the US. After a month without much snowfall, I left the Allgäu in the middle of a snowstorm and left myself plenty of time to get to Zurich Airport. It turns out I planned in too much time, as I arrived before the parking garage opened. I decided to circle the arrivals area, but I forgot I was in Switzerland; of course they would charge drivers to pick up arriving passengers. I drove to the garage after 5 CHF paid for my fifteen minutes of shame, turned on my blinkers, and stubbornly blocked one entrance to the parking garage until I could enter, thinking I had left the snow behind until I got back to the Allgäu in January. Boy, was I wrong.
Each year, Bosch offers a home trip to meet with mentors, touch base with former coworkers, and, importantly, see family. Mine happens to coincide with Christmas, so to catch coworkers before the holidays, my first stop was back to Charleston. Due to inclement weather in Chicago forecasted for the day I was supposed to fly in, I ended up changing my flights (courtesy of a United Airliners customer service agent) and in Charleston one day earlier than intended. This allowed me to check out Second Sunday, and after I got over my surprise at the number of changes in the restaurant scene I wandered down King Street. The weather was perfect — sunny and in the 70s. After two winters in Germany, I had begun to forget what attracts so many to Charleston in the winter.
Several weeks ago, I missed out on a string of incredible sunsets. The one day I happened to be free, the sky remained largely colorless, but I lucked out a few evenings after when I acted on an hunch that the clouds to the south could be promising.
This scene and skyline is now my home and has been for a few years. Some time ago, before I got much into photography, I grew up to a different skyline. After ten years away, I finally made it back for a refamiliarization trip. Continue reading “One half-score ago”
My vacation timing has been curious this year. I have averaged visiting Seattle once a year for the past five years, but with multiple projects consuming all my holiday weekends, I didn’t manage to head back to my favorite mountain this year. Instead, two weddings were timed miraculously to piggyback to two business trips I’ve had. The last wedding was in Singapore; this one was in Chicago.
The wedding was awesome. The last wedding of a university classmate I had attended was already a couple of years ago, so seeing so many friends back in one place was really special; it was a great time catching up with friends whom I hadn’t seen in years. Odd reality, working: it’s so easy to make friends in college. Once out, both keeping in touch with distant friends and finding the right situations to make new ones comes at a price.
After my extremely brief stay in Chicago I continued on to Germany, where I spent the next seven days working at my lead plant in the Allgäu. Like the last time I was there, I had incredible weather. I experienced the same this time: abundant sunshine, balmy temperatures (highs in the low 70s), and color sunrises every morning.
The difference was that this time, even before I left for Europe I knew I wanted to fly back.
After twenty-some weekends away from Stuttgart (out of 26), far more trips to Switzerland (six if I include the route I took to Chamonix) than I initially intended, and a last night in Germany spent not sleeping but rather packing and repacking my suitcases, I was sadly, exhaustedly, and at last headed back to the US for my final rotation.