I take my job for granted, getting caught up in the day to day issues and not
realizing that I have a pretty amazing situation going working for RPM
Nautical. This week was not one of those weeks. RPM is involved with setting up
a new underwater field school in Saranda, Albania and I get to head over to
Albania along with one of RPM’s diving intern and field school student Lee to
check it out. Probably not most people’s average work week is my guess and I am
very fortunate to be involved in something that is so cool.
at first glance might not appear so great, the 36 hour travel time between
departure from Key West and arrival in Saranda, actually turned out to be
fairly amazing. Sometimes the journey is
equally as valuable as the destination and this journey was way better than
expected for a couple of reasons, one we had a couple of cool stops along the
way and secondly Lee turned out to be a wonderful travel companion.
second reason should come as no surprise really as she is very well traveled
having spent the better part of the past three summers overseas, two working as
a diving intern aboard our vessel the R/V Hercules. In addition she is just a
pretty cool person, one who I really enjoyed getting to know during the trip
over. It is always enjoyable to travel with someone who is more of a traveler
than tourist and is low maintenance.
trip took us to Miami first where we had a long layover before boarding an
overnight flight to Dusseldorf, Germany where we had an even longer layover,
over nine hours before we caught a flight to Corfu, Greece. While many people
might have opted for the relative safety and comfort of spending the layover in
the airport, we choose to take the train in to town and explore the city.
turned out to be a great decision. Dusseldorf is a short twelve minute train ride
from the airport and is a fun and wonderful place and we got to spend basically
a full day exploring and hanging out. We began by winding through the streets
from the train station, making our way down towards the Altstadt or old town,
the historic section of the city located along the banks of the Rhine. It was a
Saturday morning when we arrived and at first it was fairly quiet in the city,
but as the day progressed the city literally came alive in front of our eyes
and by mid-afternoon the streets were packed.
were a couple of festivals occurring that we were able to check out, one was a
book fair that had hundreds of vendors along a beautiful canal and the Chinese-
Dusseldorf festival. Both were pretty cool, but the highlight for us was our
traditional German lunch at one of the famous breweries located in the old
town. We stopped in at Uerige, one of the five breweries in town that brew the
beer that Dusseldorf is famous for, Altbier a hoppy beer which translates as
old style beer, a reference to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top
fermenting yeast like British pale ales. The beer is cleaner and crisper than
most beer and is made only a few places in the world and Lee & I sat and
sampled a good portion of the tasty brew for much of a fun afternoon.
eventually had to wonder our way back to the train station, past the amazing
collection of graffiti that is found throughout the newer sections of the city
and then it was back to the airport to catch a flight to Corfu. We had to spend
a night in Corfu at the lovely Calivieri Hotel before catching the morning
ferry to Saranda early Sunday.