I expected the getting here to be the least enjoyable part of the trip. AlI I can say is that the bar has been set very low for the rest of the trip.

What was science fiction when I was a kid is increasingly reality now. Maxwell (apologies to work colleagues) Smart’s shoe phone has turned out to be the much better smartphone (is that name a coincidence?). So why the hell hasn’t Scotty’s transporter become reality.

Technical faults with airplanes mess up the rest of your plans (for a while), a technical fault with a transputer would probably make your life far more interesting.

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Ruth confirms that our scheduled connection has already departed from San Francisco

Flying on two 747s makes an interesting comparison, all I will say is Air New Zealand won by a long distance but thanks United for having a couple of spare seats for us when it all turned to custard.

We were told by Air NZ that they would sort out our new connection arrangements while we were in the air. This involved being given a post-it note with a fight number to take to the United Airlines counter in San Francisco.

The unreasonable guy on the desk wanted a paper ticket. “Hey we are kiwi’s” didn’t seem to work, nor did “the hostess said ewes guys would accept this post it note as legit bro”. So what do you do when you are down the road from Silicon Valley, you draw your iPad mini out like a six shooter, swipe through to your original booking documents and “hey presto”, the boarding passes spit out, you get a smile and are then pointed in the direction of the TSA, which was probably the reason for the smile.

The rest was a normal flight, uncomfortable but not as bad as the poor guy sitting next to the family opposite us, the mother had an ants nest in a certain part of her attire and the decision to get the carry-on bag out of the overhead locker was a bad one. The guys head that it dropped on was probably thankful as sleep no doubt came a little easier after that.

I guess bio security is not something you bother about after centuries of war, etc. The transit through Frankfurt airport was painless and very quick and what I thought could be a tight connection to the train left us with time to ponder sleep.

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Saarbrucken reflected it’s sporadic change of nationality with a distinctly French flavour to some of the architecture 

The flights also set the bar very low for accommodation. A bed of hot coals would have looked inviting after 30 hours. Fortunately we had something that reassembled heaven. A beer, a schnitzel and sleep. Bring on the bikes!

After a rest day we start our own three week personal Tour de France – 330km down the Saar and Mosel river valleys in Germany then a 250km flash through Burgundy in France finished off with a 300km dawdle around Provence in France.

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A little Jazz in the trees

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