For some reason I woke up early (again). I worked a little bit on some things for CTSNet prior to packing up all my (now) clean laundry and checking out. Peter Greene and I shared a cab to the conference center, where I checked all my bags at the counter.
We had a morning of very productive work with the CTSNet folks. At around 11:30 I said my goodbyes, and Pam and Heide saw me to my cab. The cab ride was very quick; the airport was only about 10-15 minutes away.
The Leipzig airport is a very nice size. Very easy to get through, also very modern. I checked my bags within 10 minutes, and walked over to the security area and went through. Sadly, I had forgotten (AGAIN) to take my leatherman tool out of my bag. The security guy was very nice, and even though he didn't speak English and I don't speak German, I was able to communicate with him that I wanted to send it home rather than get it confiscated. He was able to show me where to buy an envelope and stamps, which I did (for a whopping 4 euros). Hopefully it will make its way safely home.
I went through security again, this time with no problems, and found the Lufthansa lounge to hang out in while waiting for my flight. A short while later, I boarded the plane, and sat next to two gentleman who were from Bologna and on their way back home. That's about all we communicated with each other the entire flight.
At Frankfurt I walked the 5-mile length of the terminal (what an annoying airport!) to get to my gate. I tried to use the Lufthansa lounge there, but they wouldn't honor my Red Carpet Club membership because there was a Red Carpet Club somewhere (miles away) in the airport. So I just hung out at the gate, and watched as a group of French people got really pissed off at Lufthansa about something (about which I have no idea.. but they were really mad).
We boarded our plane, and I had a nice aisle seat towards the front. I sat next to a math professor from Germany who was on his way to Padova for a conference or something. Very nice guy. We talked about publishing during the trip. The trip was rather bumpy. Okay, it was very bumpy as we flew through a storm which was attacking Bologna. When we arrived, I have to say I didn't feel so good. (But my 35-year string is still intact, I'm happy to say!)
It was pouring rain when I arrived. I quickly collected my luggage, and got a cab to the hotel.
This time we were staying at Albergo Orologio, a beautiful 3 or 4-star hotel (depending upon which brochure you look at) in the heart of Piazza Maggiore in the center of the city. The hotel room was very nice, as were those staffing it. (Kurt and I had stayed at one of their sister hotels a few years back and had really enjoyed it.)
Patti had arrived the night before, and was in the room relaxing. She had spent the day walking around town and enjoying a stroll through the city. We took a short walk around the piazza and down one of the main streets before going off to a restaurant recommended by the hotel.
The restaurant was right around the corner from our hotel and was very good. Patti had some pasta which she loved, and I had a pizza fruiti da mare, which was okay -- it had mussels (in their shells!), octopus and a few other mystery fish on it. But the proprietor was very nice and it was a very enjoyable experience.
There was a cash machine right next to the hotel, and I got some cash (after having failed twice before). I realized that I had tried to take out too much money before (300 Euros -- too much; 200 Euros -- fine).
That pretty much did it for the day, and we called it a night at around 11 or so.