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Published: April 23rd 2015
Well, it finally happened, and knowing that it was coming didn't make it any easier. I'll keep you in suspense, for now.
I've been in Jena for 2 days now, and it's been a good break from the normal touristy thing. The main thing is I've been able to spend it with good (old) friends. They're not old, but we've known each other for a while. Erica lives here and teaches at the university while finishing her doctorate. I've spent the night on her couch for two nights, and she has been a gracious host, as always. Katie came up from Bamberg last night, and we went out to a nice East German tavern before walking around downtown at night and ending up enjoying reminiscing in Erica's office before coming back to Erica's place and laughing some more at various YouTube videos.
This morning, Katie and I went to this swank little cafe with views from the 2nd floor overlooking the main old town area - Gräfe Kaffeehaus / Konditorei. It was pretty nice, and their display of sugary delights was worth a photo, so I took one. After that, we went up into the JenTurm and got some
spectacular views of the whole valley that Jena sits in. Luckily for us, the fog had mostly lifted while we were in the cafe.
Around 5PM, Erica and I are heading to Dresden by bus, and Katie will head back to Bamberg (in southern Germany). We've had such a nice little break from the usual.
The reference to my "old travel companion" is my suitcase. It's true that this is my first trip with it, and it has been a trooper. It's lasted longer than any bag I've ever taken to Europe. I first noticed that the wheels were being worn down when I was in Andorra, about 3.5 weeks ago, but I thought it might not get so bad. As I moved on, though, over cobblestones and terribly-paved sidewalks and roads in Italy and Eastern Europe, it became clearer that this suitcase wasn't going to last another 5 weeks. I was always pleasantly surprised when I would make it to the hotel or back to the train station without having to pick up and carry the suitcase, or worse, having to drag it. I was always in awe of its ability to keep on rolling. But in
Eastern Europe, I began looking for a new one. When I got to Erica's place, she immediately went to work on Amazon to find a new one, and with her free overnight shipping, it was hard to turn that down.
My parents entrusted me with this bag, and I must say that I've taken care of it as well as possible. But I don't think it's ever taken this much continuous use or been asked to roll over such distances as I've asked it to roll. Or over such conditions. The only thing I was told was that if it broke or was in any way destroyed, then I had to replace it. Well, I've done that now, and the wheels on the new one are quite bigger, which I think is the main deal - with as much weight as I've put into it, and the conditions over which I've asked it to travel, the old one was not suited. These bigger wheels will distribute the weight better and be able to deal with the uneven pavements (or even dirt) better. At least, that's the hope. Plus, it has a 30 year warranty, so I think we're good.
It's an Eastpak, which is good quality anyway. I've already packed it up and it's got about the same amount of space as the previous one. All in all, I think it's a good trade at this point of the trip.
Tot: 3.116s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 8; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0459s; 3; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb