Friday, October 2, 2009

Land & Air Travel, Germany Part II

Well we did make it to London and we did make up some ground but not enough. As soon as we landed we figured that we could just scurry through the airport and catch our plane in the Nick of time. How wrong were we? As we are running down the corridor we realize that there is a line and someone checking each passengers ticket to direct them to the next cattle gate. We were directed to a line that was for a shuttle to the other airport terminal. Uuuuughh...So we hop on the bus and ride over to the other terminal and get corraled into an area for passengers missing their flights. Yadda yadda yadda long story short we finally made it to Hamburg Germany and hit the baggage claim. There's one, two, three, three, three, and of course it was mine. Why is it I cannot fly into Europe without my bags showing up when I do. So we do the usual claim and we will wait till they deliver it in the evening. Dirk's mom is waiting for us with the usual roses in tow for us. Of course first things first, we have to have our doner and beer for our first meal.

As the evening progressed it was obvious that my luggage would not arrive till the next day. Dirk was set as everything of his had arrived. I had absolutely nothing except what I was wearing on my back. Digging through his stuff I found something to wear to bed. Yadda, yadda, yadda again and finally after 4 days my luggage had been found. Wonder what strange lands it had been to. We must have called the airport a million times and they must have recognized Dirks voice and thought oh no, not again. Lucky for me his mom called a neighbor who was about the same size as me and she was kind enough to loan me some clothes. Our first week was spent spending time with Dirk's mom eating out at some wonderful restaurants and visiting family members. Here is Dirk and his mother toasting to seeing each other once again.

And here I am with Dirk's Oma. This woman amazes me, she is 101 and still going strong.
So our first week passed so quickly and we planned on doing a little touring for our second week there. I had been to Germany a couple of times but had never left the city of Hamburg and surrounding areas. So on Monday we took off with our sights set on Berlin. His mom was kind enough to let us borrow her car and of course we had to do the test drive right away on the autobahn. As his moms words of warning" don't drive fast" were ringing in our ears all we could do was watch in amazement as the trees and cars zipped by us and the speedometer kept climbing. 140 mph was the point where we felt like enough was enough. It was fun, been there, done that but now it was time to travel at a safer speed so we kept it around 80 to 100 which was good cruising speed.

Above is our little video we took to show his mom how well her car flew.

We planned on staying 2 days in Berlin as it is a huge city and we felt like it would take us that long to see. We actually did the tourist thing one day and booked a bus tour of the city and it was great. Get on where you want, get off at points you want to see. Take your time and within 15 minutes there was always another tour bus there to take you to the next stop. We enjoyed Berlin but we both felt it was a bit too touristy for our taste. We saw the usual spots, Berlin wall, checkpoint charlie, plenty of churches and a palace that had beautiful grounds to walk.

Two photos of the Berlin wall. Top one shows pretty much the condition of the remaining wall. People have done their share to chip a piece off and now it is fenced in to preserve what is left. The bottom shows some roses left by someone that I thought was a nice. In Sept. of 1989 the wall began coming down and Dirk was there to partake in gaining his piece of the rock. Kinda cool taking part in history and having video and photos to show for it along with a nice chunk of the wall.

Tuesday evening we headed to the small town of Potsdam to have dinner with an old classmate of Dirks. Beautiful old town with cobblestone streets and such the look of the old Germany I was looking for. Wednesday found us heading to Dresden. Most of the city had been destroyed during the war but they are still rebuilding it and it is beautiful. We decided to head into town that same evening and selected the old section. Well for two days that was all we saw. Breathtaking views every corner you turned and just when you thought it couldn't get any better it did. Both Dirk and I were very camera happy and ended up with over 200 photos most days.

Here is Dirk enjoying one of our favorite German beers, Warsteiner

After leaving Dresden we headed for a day in Rothenburg. A quaint city surrounded by a wall and largely left intact from the war. Cobblestone streets and old charm is what I loved about this city. We thought about staying here overnight in a little B&B but the rain finally came and it didn't seem it was going anywhere. So we decided to head on to our next destination which was Wiesbaden. This is the city that Dirk was living in when we first met. He was actually stationed at the military base there. So we managed to find the American Arms hotel and got a room there for 2 days. Geeze I felt like I was back in the states, this is the first time in 2 weeks I was hearing English spoken. Well, besides my husband speaking to me. Here we actually hung out and relaxed a bit from all our travels and one day we took a beautiful drive up the Rhein Valley. Here you will see one town after another dotted along the Rhein River. Shear cliffs behind and many castles overlooking the water. We did hike up to several, one of which was open to the public that we were able to view.

Here is the castle that we hiked up to and toured.

So here it was I think Sunday so we decided to head back to Hamburg as we had one week left till returning home. Our final week in Hamburg consisted of more of the same from the first week. Visiting old friends and family of Dirks filling everyone in on our plans of the future. Our final week flew by so very fast and before we knew it we were back on a plane headed for Tampa. We left Hamburg and had to fly back via London again. This time not only did we have to change terminals but we had to change airports. We landed at Heathrow and had to take an hour long bus ride to another one. Once on the plane however we were flying right into Tampa so no more stops or layovers. Just almost 9 straight hours of flying. I did get in 3 movies that had not seen before. Nice airplane, every seat had its own television and about 40 on demand movies, television shows and music to listen to and watch. Once back in Tampa my sister picked us up at the airport and shuttled us back to her house where we had our kitty waiting. He had been staying with her family and two other cats for 6 weeks now. But we were reacquainted and he didn't seem too angry with us. Two days recouping then we headed the 7 hours back to the boat here. Wow, its been a while and we were here to stay. We were a bit traveled out and glad to be back. So since we have been back it has been business as usual of course with a few days here and there to take off for the island and enjoy some R&R. I will be posting some of the Germany photos for anyone wanting to take a look under my albums which is top left of the blog. Give me some time to post them, I will make a notation when I do. Also keep checking back as we have accomplished lots of projects in preparation of us taking off for points further south here shortly. I will try to post that post this next week.

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