Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What a Messe - The Frankfurt Buchmesse

Okay, maybe I'll feel better with some sleep but "going to Frankfurt" has lost its sheen. Awake for 26 hours, eleven hours on the plane, and only about 30 minutes of sleep/napping.

My first impression walking through the airport was that it felt very "German." The sky was overcast and the cool air was very humid. Every step echoed on the long walk down a gray hall through the airport with no windows. Fortunately, I was one of the first off the plane and first in line at "customs." There was one guy checking passports and the line really backed up behind me. The guy scanned my passport, and stamped it. No words. I don’t think he even really looked at me.

My bag was one of the first ones off the shoot. I made my way to the train. I had found a transit map online and I felt pretty comfortable getting around. I stopped in the main station and got really turned around. I hoped to find a locker to store my bag but I didn't so I dragged it along behind me all day. I’m generally pretty adventurous when it comes to public transit but it seems like every time I had a decision to make today, I made the wrong one. I took the U train which put me at the far end of the Festhalle Messe, at Hall 1. The American publishers are in Hall 8. Had I taken the S train I would have been deposited much closer to our exhibit hall. Instead, me and my 50-pound suitcase and carry-on walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked to the very remote, small, and dumpy (compared to the others) exhibit hall.

After I got the booth set up I took the train out to the suburbs. First I came up on the wrong side of the tracks and had no idea where I was. I went back through the station and came out the other side where, fortunately, there were taxis waiting. I took a cab to my hotel.

There is a shuttle from the hotel directly to the Fair tomorrow morning. I’m sure the exhibit halls will look great tomorrow when everything is in place and people are excited to be together.

1 comment:

Geoffrey said...

Hearing your experience with German transit reminds me of my European visit in 2005. My wife and I had a bear of a time figuring out the right train to get to downtown Munich. Nobody was much help. We finally got on the right train. But Germany was much better than driving in Italy. We ended up walking about two miles across Florence because I didn't drive down the road with the Do Not Enter sign. Apparently, I missed the fine print restricting access between two and four p.m. At least we got good exercise and were able to see the sights.