It takes at least two trains to get from Amsterdam to Freiburg. My transfer was in Frankfurt, and I had 25 minutes between arrival and departure. Soon after leaving Amsterdam, the notifications started to arrive that my train would be late. Deutsche Bahn couldn’t guarantee I’d make my transfer.
I was scheduled to arrive in Freiburg at 23.09. I was traveling alone so being late wasn’t a huge deal, but I wanted to be home by 7.15 a.m. so Errol wouldn’t have to wake the twins for the Oberlin run.
My current train started canceling stops to make up time, and announcements began to tell us how to navigate the changes. Passengers to Freiburg/Basel were instructed to change trains in Cologne and change again in Manheim. During these announcements, the man next to me started talking to me in German that required more of a response than my usual smile.
“I’m sorry. I only speak English,” I told him.
“Oh, I’m sorry for speaking German to you this whole time.”
We talked for awhile as the train chugged closer to Cologne.
“Actually, I work for an American company--John Deere,” he added.
“John Deere?! My dad is a farmer!”
We Thomsen sisters are an enthusiastic bunch. Sometimes I need to reign it in, but this was just too exciting. John Deere?! What are the chances?
Luckily, this guy wasn’t the type that minds enthusiasm. We rode the next train together and talked the whole time. We parted in Manheim, but I hope to see him again. He promised a tour of the factory. 140 tractors made each day!
I walked into our Freiburg flat at 12.40 a.m.--6.5 hours to spare.