Elaine represents our Order

From E Chevalier David Starritt

Elaine went to Bamberg in Germany to represent the Order of St. Raphael at a meeting of the Orden der Ritter vom Stern und der Freundschaft. I went to keep her company and went in my other guise, as a humble knight of the Schwertritter von Livland.

We arrived in Bamberg on the Thursday evening, so had all of Friday to explore, and what a beautiful and interesting town it is. We were received with great hospitality, and enjoyed a social evening with Germans, Belgians and Swiss at a rustic restaurant, with good food and interesting beers. Saturday was given over to more exploring and a river cruise before the evening’s formalities. After a one hour session which we couldn’t understand, but involved some devotions followed by a dubbing, we proceeded to the banquet. Elaine was according the title of Ihre Excellenze Lady Elaine, meaning her excellency. Not sure she’s entitled to that, but didn’t complain. We were presented with a bottle of Sekt (German sparkling wine) with bits of gold leaf in it. We were told to make sure we drank the gold as it would be good for us.

Having arrived by a flight from Aberdeen to Frankfurt, and having taken the train from there to Bamberg, we had a problem on the Sunday morning as the train drivers went on strike. We were over 100 miles from the airport, so a taxi would have been a tad pricey. Thankfully one of the Belgian knights said his route home went passed the airport and he gave us a lift there, where we arrived at 12:30 for a 16:15 flight. On checking in, it turned out the flight was over booked, and we got bumped back to the 21:15 flight. We consoled ourselves with a rather good meal taken at a leisurely pace.

I thought our troubles were over, but the incoming flight from Marseilles was delayed. This had two possible consequences. The first was that Aberdeen might close the airport and divert us to Edinburgh if we were too late – they used to do that, but it transpires, no longer. The second hazard was that if we didn’t get away soon, we would get caught up in a pilots’ strike. However, we got away at 22:15 and landed in Aberdeen at 23:00, ready to drive home at last.

Our flights had cost about £194, but of that only £22 was air fare and the rest was taxes! So for £5.50 each, each way, we got to Germany, and we got food, tea or coffee, and an alcoholic beverage! And then for compensation for the seats being full, they gave us back £197 each. Can’t complain! Now I’ve just got to try and claim back half of my return train ticket.

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