509 words on Travel
There are several things about airports. One of them is that – unlike railway stations – airports tend to have clean toilets. That's good thing, I guess and probably owed to the fact that flying is still conceived less of a commodity than using the railway -- at least in Europe, that is.
'Enjoying' my time at Frankfurt airport today, my first impression was positive as they had a special check-in desk very close to the airport's railway station so you can get rid of your luggage right away and don't have to carry it all across the airport. What came afterwards, strengthened my previous impressions of Frankfurt, though: that it's a crap airport. Unlike Amsterdam Schiphol, for example, it's always tricky to find out where you are and where you want to go – even if it's trivial. Also, you don't feel welcome anywhere and it hasn't got too many windows, the ceilings are quite low at stages and there are no areas to hang around in when you have time to kill – just scattered shops everywhere.
These shops are another thing about airports. The same stuff to buy everywhere, not giving you terribly good deals. Also, you can't get decently priced drinks in most airports. (British airports may be a notable exception here as Boots are selling their 'meal deals' at seemingly normal prices there Not particularly nice but affordable.) We paid €3 for a coffee (latte) today. Having in mind that at uni I can get exactly the same coffee from exactly the same coffee machine for 85 cents is upsetting. And that's not mentioning that at uni I'll get a proper metal spoon rather than a crappy disposable plastic one and that I don't have to wait for some lower-management type to make the cashier print some balances and keeping the other guy from serving me for minutes in the process.
The latter may just be another manifestation of the general unfriendliness of service in Germany, so getting out of the country is a good thing.
Another thing is security. While they even X-rayed my luggage before I checked it in (something they didn't do when I last flew in September '02 ), I noticed that I did all my traveling without needing my ID card once. Giving it a second thought, knowing who travels is probably not really important anyway for security as long as you make sure people don't bring anything harmful with them. A while ago I read an article pointing out that searching people due to their security rating in some database as it is thought about in the U.S., is most likely to be less secure than the random checks performed today. And with both Germany and Portugal being members of the Schengen treaty, you don't need to show your passport when passing the border.
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