• Germany's news in English

Merkel stays cool despite odyssey home

DDP/The Local · 19 Apr 2010, 10:12

Published: 19 Apr 2010 10:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Merkel finally arrived home Sunday afternoon – after a three-day odyssey by plane, bus and car through Portugal, Italy and Austria. She was exactly 48 hours late from her trip to the United States, thanks to the cloud of Icelandic volcano ash that continues to hover over Europe.

The woman Forbes magazine has named the world's most powerful four years running finished her US trip, which took in Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit and a visit to California, on Thursday evening. But due to the volcanic ash that shut down much of Europe's air space by Friday, her flight home was diverted to Lisbon, Portugal.

Germany’s embassy in Lisbon quickly arranged hotel rooms for Merkel’s whole delegation, including advisers, security staff and about two dozen journalists.


On Saturday, they managed to fly to Rome. Joining them was top Finance Ministry official Jörg Asmussen, who was coming from the European Union finance ministers’ meeting in Madrid and grabbed the chance to tag along with the governmental convoy to get a bit closer to home.

After the nearly three hour flight, Merkel landed in Rome, where she and her delegation piled into cars and buses – the journalists in buses and Merkel in an armoured limousine. From here they drove 1,000 kilometres to the town of Bolzano in the South Tyrol region of Italy.

Merkel reportedly took the journey remarkably well.

“It’s all fine,” she told reporters on the road. “We’ll be back in Berlin for the beginning of the working week.”

But the road trip did not turn out to be incident-free. The journalists’ bus had a tyre blowout near Florence. Merkel waited a while with the rest of the convoy before driving on for security reasons and arriving at her hotel in Bozen in the late afternoon, with the journalists following three hours later.

At some point it became clear that Merkel wasn’t going to make the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria on Sunday in Krakow and she sent word of the cancellation.

On Sunday morning, Merkel's crew piled back into cars and buses for the last leg – a journey of “only” 850 kilometres.

Story continues below…

“We’ve been very comfortable and now we’re all very happy to be homeward bound for Berlin,” she said, climbing into the journalists’ bus to ride with the press pack for a while. Finally, the Chancellor arrived home in Berlin at 3 pm Sunday – exactly 48 hours later than originally planned.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had a similarly tough time on his way back from visiting German troops in Afghanistan. His flight on Friday was diverted to Istanbul, where he spent the night before hitting the road for Berlin – an ambitious distance of 2,200 kilometres.

By car and bus – organised by Germany’s embassy – Guttenberg and his entourage wound their way through Bulgaria and Romania to Hungary, making just one short overnight stop. From Budapest, he managed to take a propeller plane to Berlin, arriving about the same time as Merkel back in the capital.

Related links:

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:26 April 19, 2010 by pepsionice
You know....this is the script to a great movie. "Iron Lady by Bus".
17:55 April 19, 2010 by mixxim
At least she had an excuse not to attend the circus in Poland.
11:56 April 21, 2010 by adipk
Yaaa, very interesting. one can make movie on this sketch. I think. Frau Merkel, act very right. She chooses good option to travel by bus and car instead of special charted plane of heli.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd