Day 23 – The Machines Are Rebelling
After 3 weeks of the technology all working beautifully, it has all gone pear shaped in the last 24 hours. It began when we checked into our final apartment, a tiny loft apartment with a bed right up in the rafters which you access via a ladder.
But it did of course have wifi (we wouldn’t have booked it otherwise). The password was on the bottom of the router, but whatever we did it wouldn’t connect. After about 40 minutes of trying different combinations in case the small L was actually a capital I, we cracked it. For future reference “Schlüssel” is German for “Password”…NOT the password itself. That was the number next to it. Anyway, we were all nicely connected to the wifi, but the wifi would not connect to the internet. How do we know this? 2 reasons:
1) It is a BT router and even I can see that the internet light is not on.
2) We can’t get on the internet!
We have tried ringing the owner, but no joy, so we are just coffee shop hopping and picking wifi as we go. (Tonight’s blog comes to you courtesy of your friends at Starbucks where we are enjoying a pre-dinner coffee instead of an after dinner one). The next rebellion took place overnight. We have a rather nifty little charger we take away with us. It has 4 USB outlets and can change to any power socket in the world. Each night we plug in 2 phones and 2 tablets, so we are always fully powered and all using just one power socket (very useful for some of the hotels I stay in where there is only one socket and even that’s in the most ridiculous place).
However, of late it’s been a a bit temperamental. Some nights when we plug it in, the blue lights on it have been flickering and then in the middle of the night it has been setting the phones off vibrating. When it has done this, we unplug everything and just leave one thing plugged in (usually my pad as the alarm clock, you remember that from Day 20’s blog don’t you?).
I had already decided to buy a replacement when we got home and with this happening again last night I was certain. We settled down with just my iPad charging displaying the clock. This morning I awoke (which is a posher, shorter way of saying “woke up”. Never understood why just shoving a letter “a” in front of a word replaces the word “up” after it but we should use it more often. Teenagers could complain “dude, I’m afed”. After a big meal people from Yorkshire could cry “Eeee lad, I’m reet afull” or cockerneys could go out and have “a good old fashioned aknees”. Ok, maybe not then) to find that there were no blue lights flashing or otherwise on the charger and the screen on my iPad was black. Basically the charger had finally died and my iPad had exhausted its battery pointlessly displaying its lovely red clock to a sleeping audience. So we now had 2 half charged phones, 1 dead iPad, 1 iPad with about 24% battery life and 36 hours of holiday left.
I lay there and pondered the predicament (well there was no point in getting up with no iPad and no internet. I’m sure there is something in the Geneva convention about not letting this happen). Was it worth buying a new charger, when I was obviously going to buy a new better one when we got home? Could we survive 36 hours with no technology? Of course we couldn’t. Don’t be so stupid! (I often wonder if all technology disappeared in a nuclear strike or solar flare, what skills could I offer humanity. Would there really be a demand for sarcasm and whimsey in that situation?). Something needed to be done, but what? Then I remembered a little travel trick that I have used in hotels in the past. If your room has a flat screen TV, the chances are it will have a USB socket. If you plug your charging lead into this, then you can charge a device from it. I leaped out of bed, hit my head, cursed, crawled to the top of the ladders, climbed down, realised that the Velux window is really large and the apartments over the road can see in, went back up the ladder, put on some clothes and returned with a lead and a phone. True to form there was a USB socket. I plugged one end of the lead into the TV and the other into the phone and waited expectantly.
Nothing. No little charging symbol. No little little chirping noise when you plug your phone in. Nowt. I wondered if perhaps I needed turn the TV on, so I did. “Brrppp, brrrp!” the phone vibrated and charging commenced! Success! The only problem now being that we had to leave the TV on to charge the device and we could only do one device at a time. Anyway the TV was on so way may as well watch it with our morning cup of tea.
We watched some German breakfast TV (definitely more “Good Morning Britain” than “BBC Breakfast”). We learned; someone is trying to sell the Pope’s hat; a man appears to be praying for his football team to win; you can now buy a Harry Potter sorting hat (as demonstrated by the German equivalent of Ben Sheppard) and Octoberfest starts next week (with it being October. October already! Must remind mum to get the sprouts on for Christmas dinner). After an hour’s viewing we had lost numerous brain cells and the phone had only charged 3%. This was not going to work.
Fortuitously we have the German equivalent to Maplins at the end of the road, so I reluctantly went in and bought a new European only, single USB charger. Still, at least I know have a spare to take away with us. Believe you me I’m not going through the stress of this day again!
STOP PRESS: Whilst writing this blog, this happened to the hairdryer:
Definitely time to come home! Today’s (potentially final) cake of the day was a plain old cheesecake, but bought in a very nice shop slightly reminiscent of Betty’s in York. Sorry, no recipe due to lack of internet.
Cars x 5
Planes x 2
Trains x 14
Bikes x 2
Trams x 10
Boats x 4
Bus x 4
Metro x 5
Funicular x 2 (although it wasn’t a proper Funicular…more like glorified lift).
Fake airships x 1
Museums x 4
Concerts x 3
Theatre x 1
Cinema x 1
Sport x 1
Tours x 5
Different cakes eaten x 23
Different beers tried x 17
Christmas shops visited x 3
Australians spoken to x 9