Well, patient reader, I'm finally getting around to wrapping up this travelogue. I hope you've enjoyed hearing about the trip, but I suspect that you, like I, are perhaps tired of hearing my ramble on. If so, you are in luck, as this will be the last installment.
Day 10 - Return to Bavaria
Day 10 was the final morning of the IPHIE conference, and the classroom time was dedicated to the four groups of students presenting their analyses of the assigned papers. Two of the papers were about studies questioning the safety of EMRs and specifically Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) systems; one looking at the potential risks of EMRs and one describing a situation where a newly installed system resulted in increased mortality in one subpopulation of patients.
My group was assigned a paper describing a Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) of a telemedicine system for diabetes patients in underserved areas. Essentially there were improved health outcomes, but the outcomes were not improved in a way that would make any real difference to the patients.
The Utah group, minus most of Laritza
Anyway, after all the presentations were done, they had some sack lunches available, and people started taking off for train stations and airports to head home. John Hurdle took Spencer to the train station in Innsbruck, so Guilherme, Larizta and I ended up having ice cream with the Amsterdam group until he returned to pick us up.
Sabine and I
Ice Cream time
Our return trip to Munich was fairly uneventful. Our navigation system safely guided us to downtown Munich where John dropped us off and I got it set up to guide him back to the airport. After checking in once more to the same hotel we'd been in before (but with slightly larger rooms this time), we headed out to a nearby department store to pick up some souvenirs. Mainly I bought chocolate to share with the folks back home, but also picked up a Bayern Munich soccer jersey, and a British copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to read on the flight home the next day.
We took our stuff back to the hotel and then walked over to the Hofbrauhaus for one last dinner of sausage, potatoes, and sauerkraut. I picked up a couple of their 1-liter mugs to take home with me, as I thought they'd make either a) a great-looking souvenir, or b) a great big mug for drinking out of. So far I haven't decided which I'd prefer, so its still wrapped in brown paper and sitting on my bedroom floor.
I really liked these little cupid warrior guys on this monument. There were 4 different ones that all were fighting some kind of gargoyle or something.
Last visit to the Hofbrauhaus
Knowing that we'd need to leave fairly early in the morning for the airport, we retired fairly early for the evening and found the humidity to not be quite as oppressive as it had been during our previous stay in Munich.
More pictures from Day 10.
Day 11 - Mama, I'm coming home
Early on the morning of our final day in Europe, we got up and headed to the Hauptbahnhof to catch a train out to the airport. We'd heard that check-in sometimes got crazy at the Munich airport so we wanted to leave ourselves a good two and a half hours. The check-in line at the Delta area was pretty long, and eventually I took advantage of gate agents who were looking for people flying alone to move to the front of the line. I felt a little bad abandoning Laritza and Guilherme, but I would have encouraged them to do the same.
The nice thing about the long check-in line is that it was followed by practically no line at the security check. Once I got through, I bought a little bit of breakfast with the few Euros I had left and then bought a little bit more chocolate at the duty-free shop. Strangely though it wasn't any cheaper than it was at the department store we'd been at the day before. I guess I should just be glad it wasn't more expensive, right?
The 9 hour flight to Atlanta wasn't too painful, as I once again moved to the emergency exit row to get some more leg room, and I was able to get about 5/6 of the way through Harry Potter by the time we'd landed on American soil. After a brief adventure through immigrations (it was nice that Laritza is a citizen, and Guilherme has his green card), we rechecked our baggage and found some lunch. It was lunch time in Atlanta, so I'll call it lunch, even though it was my third meal of the day and I'd been up for about 16 hours at that point.
After one more crowded flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake, and a ride home from a gracious friend, I was finally back home. I'll say again that although I've enjoyed the 3 foreign countries I've been to visit or lived in, I haven't found one yet that made me wish I didn't live in America.
Much like Day 1, there are no pictures from Day 11.
Days 1 & 2 - Exploring Munich
Day 3 - Mass Transit Extravaganza
Day 4 - Stop looking at me, schwan
Day 5 - Austria, eh? Throw another shrimp on the barby!
Day 6- The depths of Hall
Day 7 - I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!
Day 8 - Monday Night Football
Day 9 - In with the Innsbruck Crowd