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Germany, Day One - groggy

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Well, here's my first update from Germany, coming to you from Oestrich-Winkel, situated a (long) stone's throw from the Rhine river. The Toronto-Frankfurt flight was delayed, didn't have the chair-back TVs, and featured two young siblings who seemed to delight in emitting blood-curdling screams all night. As the parent of a young child, I can understand how tough this can be (having dragged our daughter to Prince Edward Island), but these people had no food, drinks, toys or books to keep the children occupied, for which they deserved worse than what they got (some serious cringing from other passengers). I don't even think I heard the parents talk to the children very much. If I had nothing to do but sit on someone's lap for eight hours, I'd be cranky too.Needless to say, there wasn't much sleep to be had on the flight, despite trying to induce slumber via a couple of glasses of cheap Sicilian Merlot and a quick brandy. So it's now 5:30 a.m. Winnipeg time (12:30 p.m. here), and I'm trying desperately to stay awake so as to confine the jet lag to one day.I have a couple of hours to kill, but there's not much open on a Sunday here, so this is actually a good opportunity to get a jump on some work, maybe do some reading and have a shower. Despite the beautiful exterior of the Hotel Nagler, my room is very much a snapshot of the '80s; for interest's sake, here's a picture of me (courtesy of the new laptop) in my room.

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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