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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Germany

Hallo!
I am finally getting a chance to write a little about our trip to Germany. Currently, I am in Munich, day five of our trip. But, I will back track a little so you know how our trip has been thus far.
Day 0.5 (Thursday) - Just my phrasing because we left Thursday evening to head to Michelle's house. Mom and I rode together and met Donna at Michelle's house. Pretty uneventful getting there, but sad to leave the kids (Brad too!) Hailey didn't want me to leave but I think the other kids were oblivious to the fact I was leaving for as long as I was. The only thing that made me really nervous about leaving was how Wayne and Bev would do with the kids, particularly with Anderson and getting him to sleep. But it seems that all is well now - very good to hear!

Day 1 (Friday) - All four of us left Michelle's house and headed to the airport. We were able to park in her parking garage, downtown Minneapolis, which will make it much easier when we get back. After checking luggage and having a small lunch, it was nearly time to board the plane. We flew only to Detroit on the first flight. Michelle and I sat together and had a couple of complete non-intelligent guys (trying to keep it clean) behind us from Canada. It totally astounds me that they do not understand the conversion of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder and how much meat that actually is!!! I mean really! We were hoping they wouldn't be on the next flight and thankfully they weren't. On the other hand I don't know if Michelle and I have ever laughed so much at someone else's expense as we did then!

Once we arrived in Detroit, we had a short time until we would catch our connecting flight to Frankfurt. All of the signs posted stated that we had to board our plane at least 30 minutes prior to departure. I announced SEVERAL times to everyone that we had to be back by 5:00 to board. Point being that I completely understood that we had to be back. Donna left to walk around, mom stayed at the gate with carryon luggage and Michelle and I left to walk around and chat a little. While we were walking, we found a duty-free shop and bought a liter of Grey Goose for the plane. We figured that we would save a great deal by doing this as opposed to purchasing wine or beer on the plane. So, we just had to find some cranberry juice. Well, it was getting time to go and we couldn't find any so we started walking back. Only to find my mom jumping around frantically that we were going to miss our flight, we only had five minutes to board!!! She exaggerates so much! We had plenty of time, but Donna was still not back, she made it back though and we boarded successfully. Although I do believe we were the last ones to board...

Michelle and I on the final flight to Frankfurt.


Donna and my mom giving us the "stink eye" and asking us what we were laughing about.
Flight over was fine. Michelle and I watched "What Happens in Vegas" with Ashton Kucher and Cameron Diaz. Hilarious!! Neither one of us slept much on the plane. I didn't sleep at all and at one point mom started warning us that we had to stop with the Grey Goose because "one of you has to drive!" We arrived in Frankfurt at 7:50 am. (Iowa time would be 12:50 am) Michelle and I have had no sleep, we are very cranky and the two of us together being cranky is not a good thing. Top it off with my mom and Donna who are eternally laid back and "helpful" - Not a good match! The line to go through customs was very long, we got into the EU line and once we made it to the front of the line, my mom went through no problem, but when I got up to the front, he yelled at us, YES, yelled at us that we had to be in the Non-EU line which meant going all the way to the back of the very long line, behind all the Chinese people and everyone else that was on our packed flight. So, we are at the back of this very, very, slow line, slowly moving ahead and finally get within, say six people till we can get through customs. Meanwhile, the line that we were kicked out of has diminished to no one. Lo and behold, the guy that kicked us out of line starts taking people from the Non-EU line!!! Yes, He Did! We were furious! We have now been in line for almost an hour! And mind you, still tired and cranky. This did not bode well with either Michelle or myself and set a very negative turn for our Frankfurt Airport experience.
This the proof of how irritated Michelle was. I asked her to look at the camera and she absolutely refused which mom and I thought was just a little funny. She said she "needed time to calm down..."

After finally making it through customs, getting our luggage and trying to figure out which way to get our car rental, we were even more irritated. This was only topped off by spending the next 90 minutes trying to find the car rental place, while hauling our luggage around which only the day before had seemed managable.
Fortunately, we rented a GPS system for our car and that has proved to be very helpful with driving. We named her "Joanne" but more on that later.... We decided, or rather mom decided, that we should try to find a military base so we could go to the PX and check it out. We tried Wiesbaden and we were denied because we aren't registered there. After deciding against any more attempts at finding a base, we made our way to Mainz. Our hotel was very nice and set the bar pretty high for what to expect. Michelle and I napped while Donna and mom went to walk around town. We all went together for dinner later that afternoon and looking around a bit.
Group shot of Michelle, Mom and I in the hotel lobby of the Hyatt.
A church in the town square of Mainz.
This was in front of the Gutenberg Museum. Each pillar was a concrete imprint of different press printings with the Gutenberg press.
The interior walkway by our hotel. The hotel is on the left and this passage takes you through with shops all in between.
It was surprising that there were so many Italian places to eat, which is where we had our first meal. My mom takes pictures of each meal that we eat. Kind of annoying but I suppose it will be neat to look at later. However, I am not going to be posting those on here!

Later we dropped off Donna and mom at the hotel. Michelle and I went back to a sport's bar we had seen earlier and dropped in for a few drinks.
Michelle and I after we went out. We had a guy sitting next to us take our picture. We couldn't stop laughing long enough to get a good picture, but we had a lot of fun.
It reminded us of a place like in the movies where everyone breaks out into song and dance spontaneously, except that is what it was like the entire time we were there! We just kept looking at each other and laughing. There were about three or four bachelor/bachelorette parties that came trouncing through. All I can say is those people had no shame! This is the part where "joanne" comes from. There were about four or five songs they had playing in the bar that were crooning over some chick named Joanne. We didn't get it at all, obviously, but we take it that in Germany, Joanne holds some sort of importance. So, our GPS is now named Joanne, in honor of our first night in Mainz. I gather this isn't very funny if you weren't there, but I am going to try to find some Joanne music to put on here, trust me!

Day 2 (Saturday) - We woke a little later, still suffering from jet lag and packed to go. We decided to eat first at a little restaurant around the corner. Chili Pepper restaurant or something like that. I can't remember why exactly, but Michelle was irritated again. (This is a recurring theme...)
(Another great shot of Michelle being irritated - see, there is nothing wrong with me, all smiles!)
After lunch, we headed to Leipzig, where we were to meet up with Cousin Elizabeth. This drive proved to be a long one and took about 5 hours or so.
A shot of one of the tunnels that we went through. There are lots in Germany. The red signs above the tunnel frame have the speed limit posted. We did have to slow down for this one. Side note - so far we have reached about 195kmh. Love that autobahn!!!
Now, Joanne works great when you put in the right address for the right town. But, when you mess up on both, she takes you exactly where you said, but not what you meant. Mom entered the address she thought was correct for Elizabeth's house, but turned out to be in Leipzig, not Dölzig, where she actually lives. (It also didn't help that both Leipzig and Dolzig have an August Bebel Strasse, the street she lives on.)
In the meantime, we realize that Elizabeth is actually 73 years old, doesn't speak English and probably has been waiting for us for quite some time. We have the gas station attendant call her for us to let her know that we are on our way, after we realized we were in the wrong town. We arrived to her home about 7pm. We were to stay with her in her home for the next two days. We got the authentic German experience while staying with her. She was very gracious despite the stunning lack of communication and language barrier! We all just smiled and continued to nod in agreement. I know the most German between all of us and I can understand a lot better than I can speak it. However, Elizabeth knew no English and it made it a little more difficult to communicate.
Shortly after arriving, Elizabeth took us to dinner at an authentic German restaurant. Very good food and atmosphere. At dinner, I mentioned that I wanted to have ice cream for dessert. Elizabeth nodded her head in agreement, and I assumed that meant she was going to serve it for us when we got back to the house. It did not occur to me that this might not happen and maybe she didn't understand what I was saying. Sure enough, when we got to her house again, she very proudly brought out three different dessert wines and snacks. But no ice cream! I was way bummed, but the wine was good!

3 comments:

Dave said...

sounds like you are having a blast! awesome...good for you! Have fun and travel safe :) Jess Hansen

Kimber Van Essen said...

Misty - looks like you are having fun! Hope to see you soon...drop me an email if you get a chance.

Kimber

Shelly said...

Wow Misty...you've been a traveling woman this summer! I've had fun reading your blog this morning:) Looks like you had a great trip! Shelly