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June 20, 2006

Willkommen in Dortmund

Wc_hauptbahnhoff The first object upon arrival in Dortmund was to locate my brother-in-law. He'd arrived earlier, and had checked into our hotel already. We exchanged txts during the day, and then I gave him a call when I reached Hauptbahnhoff. He'd settled down to watch the Brazil - Australia game in a bar just round the corner from the station.

Claire and I thought this a lot when we were travelling, but this was just another example of how the combination of the internet and mobile telephony has totally revolutionised so many areas of travel in the last ten years. Nearly every aspect of my trip to Dortmund - applying for World Cup tickets, booking a hotel nine months in advance, booking air tickets, finding out train times and connections from Frankfurt to Dortmund - was done online, and our entire plan for meeting up consisted of us both simply getting to Dortmund then using mobile phones to find each other.

Wc_marklimericks Mark had found a faux-Irish pub called Limericks with a big screen, so I caught about the last ten minutes of the Brazil game, and then we went to get something to eat before the French game kicked off. We went back to Limericks to watch that final game of the night, France against South Korea. We watched this in the company of a lot of highly motivated Swiss fans, as France and South Korea are in the same group as them. There was quite a cheer, and a lot of laughter when South Korea equalised late on in the game.

It had been a long day for both of us, so by the time the match ended we were both drinking water rather than beer, and decided to call it a day. Our hotel was a few stops down the line on the U47 U-Bahn at Lubekstra├če, so we probably got there near midnight. Which wasn't great news for our host who didn't look best pleased at giving us the keys, and the prospect of checking me into the hotel at that time of night. In fact, he just couldn't be bothered and said, "Oh, you can pay in the morning".

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