Our trip to Cologne
-The booth decoration does not arrive until Monday evening and the trade show starts on Thursday. We have no time to send it via courier to Germany - says my colleague Maria.
-Gosh, that is a problem. This is one of the most important trade shows. We cannot fail - I say.
-It is a big problem indeed.
-We cannot fail to set up the stand on time. What can we do?
I go into Google Maps and enter a search Gijon (our town) to Cologne (our trade show place). It reads it is 15 hours and 15 minutes by road. If it is a van, I guess it is a bit more. If we divide it in two days, it is 8 hours per day, approximately. Uhhh!! If we leave tomorrow at 5 am, we can even stop in Paris and go to Disneyland and still be on time to reach Cologne and set up the stand. This is becoming more and more interesting in my head. I just need to convince Maria this is the winning plan. Also, my Dear Husband is at home all the week long, it will be a very exciting adventure!
-Maria, what if we rent a van. Do you think we could do it by road?
-Are you crazy? It is about 1,700 kilometres!
-Welll… it is exactly 1,672 km
- I know I am going to regret agreeing to this, but it is our only option - she says.
Cologne, here we come!!
I can already imagine both of us in the van, loaded to the top, with our feet up and signing Bon Jovi as crazy. I am going to rent a van with one of those amateur radio systems so that we can talk to people in the road!
It is Tuesday morning at 4.30 and Maria and I are in the warehouse getting the booth materials loaded. At 5 am we will depart.
When we reach Bilbao I get my radio handset and say.
-Roadmates, this is Tina Turner and Raffaella Carrâ on our way to Cologne. Does anybody hear me?
-Here the Boss, on my way to Irun. Who is driving, Tina or Raffaella?
-Raffaella is driving, Tina in charge of maps.
-OK, in Burdeau there is a detour due to roadworks, you have to go towards Limoges and then go back to the highway towards Paris.
-Thanks for the info, Boss!
And so we do, we take the detour Boss told us about. A bit complicated to follow the workload instructions, but we keep on doing progress.
We have been in the road for 8 hours and we are already a bit tired. We have taken quite a lot of local roads due to the detour and we are really looking forward to reaching Paris.
-Look! I can see a big city there. It must be Paris. Should we stop in Disneyland for a bit? - I tell Maria.
-I am not sure, I would like much better to have a peek at the Eiffel Tower -she says.
-OK, fine, we can find a hotel in the centre, have a nice dinner and go for a walk - I say.
-As say that, Maria grabs my arm. Her jaw has dropped and she points at a road sign:
“Welcome to the Principality of Andorra”
-Oh my gosh!!!! We are lost and we have been driving the opposite direction for 5 hours!!!
I was so disappointed. No Eiffel Tower, no Disneyland, no Louvre, no nothing!
Suddenly, I feel again Maria’s hand shaking my arm.
- Wake up, wake up, we have already landed. You have been sleeping like a baby since we took off in Madrid!
I breath deeply. Just a nightmare. It is Monday, we are in Cologne and the stand is waiting for us at the tradeshow hall.