We arrived at O'Hare at 1 pm on Friday. Border control and customs went quickly, and it has ever since they introduced that electric scanner passport thing. We all received our luggage (yay!) and made it out of the terminal just before 2 p.m.
We took the 2:20 p
Once they dropped me off, I immediately picked up Bailey at the family's house where she stayed. She was pretty excited to see me, as I was her. I was glad she is so well cared for when I leave.
I fell asleep pretty early on Friday, and did laundry, went through mail and looked at my accounts on Saturday. Actually, the damage wasn't too bad. I didn't buy a lot of souvenirs as I just didn't have the room in my bag. Because we carried on our suitcases on the way there, we had to be below 17.5 pounds. And because we were moving quite a bit, I didn't want to lug around more weight. I bought a scarf in Heidelberg and a ring in Trier, a magnet from Koblenz, and called it a day. Had I had more time at the Frankfurt airport, I probably would've picked up a bottle of wine and some candy for friends, but it's well enough that I didn't. I bought some earrings for my Mom "from Dad," and other than that, the adults really didn't purchase anything. Dad says, "why would I buy something for myself that will just not get used?"
I think that is true. And, in many cases, the memories and photos are enough.
Some things to note:
- We really lucked out with the weather
- Young Germans are very respectful toward older people. I never had to ask one of them to give up a seat on a crowded train, tram or bus. As soon as they saw my Dad, or Bob or Maude, they would get up and offer it. I thought that was nice.
- You can only eat so much pork. And sauerkraut. And wienerschnitzel. The beer, though, is pretty darn good, and never gets tiring.
- Most Germans speak a little bit of English (and most quite a bit), and I found they were probably more willing to if I asked in German if they speak English. I am guessing this is true of most places.
- According to Google Maps, we roughly traveled 900 miles on the train. That is the equivalent of Green Bay to Tulsa, OK.
- Because we visited the cemetery in Luxembourg and Bastogne, Belgium, we technically visited three countries on this trip. Because of the Schengen Agreement, we only received passport stamps for Germany.
- Germans have a reputation of not always being super friendly, but they call it just being direct and professional. I don't know that any nationality is as friendly as the Dutch, but we ran into a lot of helpful people in Germany
- This was the lightest I ever packed for an overseas trip, and I could've done without an extra shirt and pair of socks. I'm pretty proud of myself! I did "laundry" twice, as you can see in the photo. A little Tide and a small bottle of Febreze can go a long way.
- Cards are much more accepted in Europe, but Cash is still King in Germany. A few restaurants we visited did not accept cards. Bob and I were both able to withdraw Euros from ATMs with our debit cards.
- Riding the trains there makes me sad that we don't have the infrastructure here. It's so easy, affordable and convenient.
- No one in Germany had anything positive to say about our President, and that didn't surprise me. I will leave it at that. :)
We had a great time, and everything went smoothly. No one was hurt. No one had anything stolen or lost anything of importance. We all stayed healthy. We were all safe. And we came back in one piece. I'm grateful, as always, for the opportunity, and being able to share my love of travel with others.
Thanks again, for reading and following along.
For now, auf wiedersehen!
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States