Tuesday September 16
Leasurely breakfast. Leasurely packing. Packing to go home is easy. You don't have to think what you need. You just pack everything that is yours. Well ... James stepped on the scales with my suitcase ... too heavy. The bottle of Eierliquör has to come out again. Books have to go into James'. He has just a little more weight room.
At around 11 we are on our way to Munich. Thank you, Eva, for a grand time!
James drove first. I had to take this picture. Is there really a town called 'Lederhosen'? Yes, I looked it up. Population: 260. Guess what their Coat of Arms is?
Every so often our GPS changed the EPA because of traffic delay. 1 hour 32 minutes really?
We stopped at a Autobahnraststätte to get gas and decided also on a little snack. It was so nice that we even could sit outside.
Sometime at one point GPS must have decided on a detour. She must have been fed up with all those traffic delays. We didn't quite understand which way she was sending us but it was a good decision. We found ourselves on the "Deutsche Hopfenstraße" which was lovely. I would have liked to take a picture of one of the fields of hops but I was driving and nowhere to stop.
Finally we reached our prebooked hotel which, as it turned out, was very convenient to the airport and really quite inexpensive. And quite adequate.
James went to fill up the car with gas. Rental car people can be really fussy about that. He also came with something to fill us up. REAL Budweiser! From Budvar in the Czech Republic. It was good!
Weather here was still nice so we decided to take a walk and perhaps find something for supper. You can see how close we are to the airport because there is a plane landing.
James wanted to find an ATM to get a few more Euros from our GERMAN account but the map we had received from the front desk was not quite right. It wasn't where the map said it should be. But we found it.
And we found a pizzeria. Lots and lots of pizza places all over Europe and so far we had resisted. If it is the only place around ...
James: cheese and prosciutto (which the server highly recommended)
For me: smoked salmon and rucola.
Both very nice.
Back to the hotel. They had given us a "family room".
James couldn't see the TV from the double bed so he climbed up for a while to watch.
Wednesday September 17
It was foggy but we had no trouble driving to the airport and finding the rental car return. That part went very quickly. Not the horror story when we arrived with our reservation to pick up the car from Dollar Car rentals.
The check-in went well too. No mentioning that my suitcase was a bit more then the max. Thanks.
Security ... no problem. A little breakfast. On to the gate. That's when it started. Due to the fog incoming planes were late. Ours too. We were told we wouldn't make the connection in Frankfurt. The gate people said we could take the direct flight from Munich to Newark but we needed to go to the Lufthansa service center. So we ran over there. The young lady was very friendly and very willing but not very good. She took forever typing around on the computer, calling our old gate, calling the new gate etc etc until it was finally too late. She was told boarding was over and we missed the plane. Grrrrr. Smile.
Then she tried to reverse it all so we could go with our original plane and see how we would be re-routed in Frankfurt. She took so long though that we were now in danger of missing that plane too. Finally her boss took over. We ran to the gate and got in as they were closing the door.
Yes, we did miss the connection in Frankfurt just by a hair. The gate people were very nice though and helpful. They suggested we should fly to Washington Dulles instead and sorted everything out. James' boarding passes were a problem though because the young lady had really screwed up the computer which said that James hadn't even taken that first flight.
It took so long (no fault of this lady who was excellent, friendly and patient) that they were already boarding when we got to the plane. Finally, finally we had our seats. Time to put the flight socks on.
Yes, flight socks. Supporting knee highs. Highly recommendable. We are doing this now for several years on longer flights and it makes all the difference in the world how you feel when you get off the plane!!!
Immigration in Washington Dulles: long lines but they moved fast.
Customs: long lines
In the plane to RIC.
We were only a few minutes later then we were originally booked.
And look who picked us up! Sarah was there with Caleb.
We had seen our suitcases in Dulles but they had not made it further. Next day they were brought to our door.
Yes, it is good to be back. It was a wonderful trip. Got to see more of our Lord's beautiful creation, got to see family! Altogether we were very lucky with the weather.
Now we look forward to spending some time with our offsprings. Life is good!