July 2005 Europe Trip:
We left Fairbanks at 5pm Thursday, July 14 2005 (scheduled for 3:30pm, but our flight was held up for an hour and a half because US customs didn't like two of the transiting Canada passengers). The 8-hour flight on Condor airlines to Frankfurt, Germany went nicely. The flight stewards chased my out of an empty window seat (where I normally gravitate to take aerial photos), and put up a little curtained-off area around the back two window seats. This seemed mysterious in a Dune sort of way, like some bizarre mutated human would warp in there, but then we noticed the stews sneaking in there to sleep and relax.
We arrived in Frankfurt at around noon Friday, July 15. I'm struck by how much Germany looks like "the future"--everything (sidewalks, buildings, people) is clean and shiny, with that subtly different feeling you get from purpose-built movie sets. We rented a nice little tiny Opal car, and immediately headed south on A5. Everything on Europe's freeways is about the same height as everything in the US, but about 30% narrower; almost like your display aspect ratio is off. The lanes are incredibly, nerve-wrackingly narrow until you get used to them. A European freeway lane is about 50% narrower than one US lane on a 30MPH country route.