Essen Part One

Essen was a new adventure. A new country, with new culture, language and expectation. My boss and I ventured toward Essen through France, landing in Dusseldorf at 1pm of Wednesday. Our original plan was to hop onto a train heading into the city, but the trains were striking that day. One 60 Euro taxi later and we pulled up to our weirdly-modern hotel. We dropped off our bags, readied our tired brains and set out to find the Mecca, I mean Messe.
The part of town we stayed in is less central, more auto shops and homes. We will later discover the town center where most visitors stay, but not until our last day. We cross the town in 45 minutes and land upon a largely-abandoned Messe. We tracked down our compatriot inside the massive hall. There many companies had set up their wares, some were preparing demo areas, others were completing interviews. Very exciting stuff. I tried really hard not to linger too long at other’s booths… that time would be the rest of the week.
We headed uptown where an annual ‘Warm up day’ was taking place. This is the day before the fair begins. Many participants gather for the day to play games and interact with publishers and designers. We were walking in the direction we thought we had to go… and we didn’t see the correct street… and we walked… and we walked… the part of town changed… there were more cars. Brig’s phone couldn’t find us.
We were feeling lost.
We decided to walk up one more block, and then. FREE EFFING WI-FI COURTESY OF A STARBUCKS. Right in the middle of Essen. Warm up day was a measly block from where we stood! We were two Americans in Germany, saved by Starbucks.

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