Heathrow Airport London Long Immigration Line

Having left the quiet Frankfurt Airport, our son encountered the opposite situation at Heathrow Airport, where the immigration queue was manned by only two people. This left people waiting in line without food or water for up to seven hours. It took our son six hours in the queue. We will have a chat with him this evening and we will surely hear some more details as well.

More about this here from the BBC News Business with the headline: “Heathrow Airport seven-hour queues ‘inhumane’, say passengers”

This was the immigration queue at Heathrow Airport on 28 Feb 2021 around 9pm.

Thomas had to be at the Frankfurt Airport by 2pm, no snacks are being served on flights, and yes, one can go without food or water until midnight. That is when he got back to his flat in London.

Some of the hold-up was caused by passengers not fully prepared for entry with the new regulations. One of them being having booked the two COVID-19 tests beforehand, and showing proof of it.

His two COVID-19 tests for entering the U.K. came to a total of £ 210 after some comparison shopping. Some test centers charge as much as £250 per test. All this, among other required entry forms, was done well before his flight.

His airport taxi reservation, which is usually around £40, tacked on another £5 for each additional 15 minutes. I’m sure he will let us know what his total bill came to.

He also had to miss his TESCO food delivery as none of his flatmates were home.

He made it back to London. That’s all that matters for right now.

Quiet Frankfurt Airport in Late February 2021

Yesterday, we dropped off our son at the Frankfurt Airport. It felt a bit strange not having been there in a while, when we used to be regulars there.

Our son, who had been working here remotely for close to three months, was heading back to London, where he works, and pays dearly for his room.

My last flight, before the pandemic, had been to Bari, Italy in November 2019, so it was a bit eerie to see the airport this quiet. The only sound came from this Turkish-sounding singing get-together inside the terminal. In normal times with so many passengers, this kind of gathering might not have taken place.

Most of the aisles, such as this one, were empty. Some shops were closed. Marco Polo’s store window carried a sign which said, “Never Closed”… The shop was closed though.

This usually bustling airport has been hit hard.

At the other end of our son’s flight was the opposite situation with Heathrow Airport’s immigration queue manned by only two people. More about that in my next post.

This is what BBC News Business titled it: Heathrow Airport seven-hour queues ‘inhumane’, say passengers.

Advice to Writers of Any Age

Many years ago in my early days of blogging, while out on a walk with my son, he made a comment at that time which left a big imprint. It was quite a learning experience, not only for me as a parent, but for my writing as well.

Now more than ten years later, he works as a professional writer in London, and he sent me this.

Years ago as a young man my mother asked me to help her with an entry for her blog by taking photos. Though I don’t remember it well, I for whatever reason was annoyed enough by her request to say ‘Das liest doch eh keiner’ (German for ‘nobody will read that anyways’). As callous as the statement was in hindsight, my mother later told me that my bit of blunt honesty made her less self-conscious and restrained when expressing herself online.

Given how much of our communication online these days is scrutinized and policed by other users, the unintended impact my words had are perhaps more relevant than ever. Too often are we afraid to express our true selves for fear of repercussion. Too often are we worried about what other people will think or say.

If we don’t express ourselves as we are, though, then how can we really hope to ‘know ourselves’ as old adage from the oracle at Delphi goes? The more our lips are sealed, the heavier the burden of truth lays on our shoulders. The truth shall set you free.

Write, then, as if nobody will read it.

Speak, then, as if nobody will listen.

Express yourself.

Winter Impressions from the Rhön Mountains in Germany

These photos were taken by a friend of mine, Reiner Gehles. He took a trip to the Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön area this past weekend, and came back with this beautiful shots. I have his friendly permission to post them here.

Germany can be so beautiful when covered in snow. Recently, our winters have been fairly mild though. But with La Niña heading our way this week, more snow is anticipated. This means more photo opportunities!

Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön is located in northern Bavaria (Reiner and I both hail from that part of Germany). The small town lies at the base of the Kreuzberg, the ‘Sacred Mountain of the Franconians’.

Bischofsheim i.d. Rhön

Let the music play. The oak bench reads Rhönbauernbuam (only the letter R is visible here), which stands for Rhön farmer boys.

Not only the mountain is sacred to the Franconians.

“Snow softens the world, and for a moment covers the grime and ugliness that characterizes most of the winter world in the city” (quoted by my friend Gar)

Here is my favorite one of all. This is the Snow Queen of all snow photos I have ever seen.

For more information about this corner of Germany, visit: Bischofsheim Info/English

Thanks again, Reiner, for sharing these photos.

For a model of the old-fashioned wooden sled, visit https://amzn.to/2XtdyZd.

Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

This is our first Beer Balcony photo of 2021. Last year, I had only one visitor – in November.

Here I’m sitting with our son, Thomas from London, who is working remotely in Oberursel. With the current Covid situation in London, he was also granted an extension to continue working from Oberursel.

The sun was just about to set, and the light was really beautiful. By the time, we got our coffee (!) onto the Beer Balcony, the light had completely changed.

“Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour.”

Arthur Schopenhauer

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