Day 15, July 22: Kiss your face


Countries visited: UK, USA


We got up at 5:25am to make it to the airport in time for V’s flight. Mine did not leave until the afternoon, but I didn’t want to try to navigate to the airport by myself. We had to take two different trains, and when I dropped off V I had to take a third.


We made it in time for V’s flight and I headed to my terminal. We had stopped at the grocery the night before, so I had some chicken, fruit, and a granola bar to snack on. Plus some chocolate from France left over. So, I found a seat outside of security, and sat to read my book. I kept falling asleep so I gave in and bought internet for the day.


I love to watch people (V says I have a staring problem) so I spent a lot of the time observing. Heathrow airport is the most diverse place I have ever been in my life. I think I saw someone of almost every race. It was quite interesting to watch all the families interact with each other.


After a few hours, and after all my food was gone (oops, that was supposed to last the day), I decided to head in through security. That was quite an ordeal. I flew Delta, but it was still really confusing and there were a lot of regulations.


I checked my bag on the way home because I didn’t want to deal with it, and found a place to charge my laptop with another American who was going to the USA on the same flight. It was nice to have internet, but I realized I didn’t have much to do because all the Americans were still asleep!


After several hours we finally boarded. The flight was hell. Main thing I learned from flying over seas is that you shouldn’t take your small children for any reason. The flight is really uncomfortable for everyone, and I imagine it is hell for kids. Not being able to run, yell, and play properly. One boy ran up and down the aisles for hours, and one girl cried constantly. It was not fun.


When we landed in Minneapolis I had to go through customs. Apparently the USA makes you declare everything, unlike EU countries. They only ask for certain things or certain monetary values. The USA wants to know EVERYTHING. It took way longer for citizens and residents to go through customs than it did the visitors. Something is wrong with that.


I was not happy about getting back on the plane to fly two more hours, but I was ready to get home. When I walked in the door my girls looked at me like I was a ghost. They didn’t know what to think. I guess they thought I had died or something! LOL! Then I got kisses and love. They slept with me last night and have been tagging along with me all day. I missed them so.


I am happy I went on the European tour, but I am so happy to be back home.



Day 14, July 21: Wild Boar


Countries visited: UK


V asked for an “alone day” today. That means that I am getting on his nerves and he wanted to go somewhere without worrying about me. I was okay with that because he wanted to go to the British Museum, and I had no desire.


Since I had to entertain myself I decided to visit a few shops and find a book for the trip home. I went to 5 different bookstores, and NONE had the book I want. They all tried to look it up and found it on Amazon, and one guy—who looked like he belonged in a hard rock band—even swore he had seen it before, but they didn’t have it either. I guess I will have to buy it when I get back.


Anyway, I decided to go back to the flat and make a list of books I am interested in so I could find at least one. Because everything on their displays I had already read or I had never heard of and didn’t look appealing to me.


On my way back to the flat I decided to see if I could find a hat shop. I mean, isn’t London the place to buy hats? I had looked a couple up before I left, and intended to check them out. One was in Soho, and didn’t pan out. On the way I saw what I thought was TJ Maxx. Turns out it is TK Maxx. What the hell does that mean? I did go in out of curiosity to see what their accessories were like, and they did have fascinators, but only a couple crappy ones. So I headed on.


TK Maxx

TK Maxx


I went back to the flat to look up books, and realized I forgot to go to the other hat place. I wrote down seven titles I am interested in, and headed back to the bookstore I liked best, which apparently used to be a Boarders. I looked for all the titles and found two out of seven. What is wrong with these British people? Don’t they read popular fiction? I happened upon a third book not on my list that looked interesting, and actually ended up purchasing it. Hope it turns out!


As I walked out of the book store it started to pour. Of course. As I found out last night, my umbrella is exceptionally small. So, I had to pull everything in really tight to make sure I was not soaked. I walked towards the other hat store and found out it is now an attorney’s office. Ugh. So, I headed back to the flat to play on my computer and wait for V to return so we could go get some supper.


When he got back we decided to go find a place to eat that we got rejected from the night before. We finally found the place and managed to get in. V had sausages and potatoes, and I had a wild boar burger. It tasted like bratwurst.


Friends

Friends


Wild Boar

Wild Boar


Afterward we went to the grocery to buy something for the wait at the airport tomorrow, and headed back. I spent time talking to J about family and politics and just life, while V went to find out what tube route we need to take for tomorrow. It has been a good day, but now we have to go to sleep so we can get up at 5am. Can’t wait to see my dogs tomorrow!



Day 13, July 20: The Thistle and the Monkey


Countries visited: UK


J and D are gracious hosts. They have pretty much given us free run of the place with our own set of keys and our own schedule. We are very appreciative of their kindness.


For breakfast we went to a coffee shop down the street, which I would call the British version of Starbucks, but they also have Starbucks… Anyway, I had chocolate cake for breakfast because I can. I also had a chi, which was still not as good as Helsinki.


V had like 10 things on the list to see, and we walked to them all. The first was St Paul’s Cathedral. I didn’t want to pay the 14 Pounds to go inside, and V assured me he would only be a few minutes. So, I went to the gift shop and café in the basement. Yeah, he took over an hour. I knew I was in trouble when I saw people walking around in audio tour headphones. I was not mad, but super bored and irritated. I finished my book in Germany, and the Germans and French did not have books in English in their shops. I guess I better find a book for the trip home.


Anyway, at St. Paul’s I did light a candle for my grandpa who is ailing.


Next we headed for a series of bridges. We walked across Millennium Bridge, then back across London Bridge, and finally back across Tower Bridge. After we crossed Tower Bridge we sat along the waterway and got to see it rise to let a boat through. That was pretty cool. The next destination on our list was the London Eye.


London Bridge

London Bridge


Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge


We had to get off the river walk path on the way to the London Eye because of construction. V then gave me the map and told me to navigate, which has been a problem for me in these European cities. I am too used to the grid system in Kansas. Anyway, we got a little off track and ended up by the original site of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. They have a reproduction of the theatre, but it was built in the wrong spot. V wanted to see a show, but it was sold out. Anyway, he was excited to read about the original.


Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe


I wanted ice cream, so we stopped at a little stand, then kept getting lost. We ended up by a meat market, and I thought their sign was funny.


You are here

You are here


Next was the London Eye. I was not too impressed. It is just a Ferris Wheel built for the Melinnium. Not too exciting. We didn’t go because the line was super long, and the wheel moved super slow.


We walked down the river a little further and crossed to see Parliament. They had all kinds of guards keeping us away from the building, so we didn’t see much. Big Ben is part of it, so we did get some pics on the bridge near it. My grandpa O would be so proud.


Big Ben

Big Ben


Across the way was Westminster Abbey. We thought we might be too late to tour, because it was 5:45; however, they sold tickets until 6 on Wednesdays, so we got to go in. V was unhappy because we couldn’t take any pics inside. But it was an interesting tour. I managed to use my student ID to get in for cheaper, so I was happy. Take that London! There were a lot of cool graves inside. My favorite was Charles Darwin. I touched his grave. How cool. I also lit another candle for my grandfather and one for Bea. I like British churches better because they don’t tell you how much you have to donate for a candle; they just request you donate something. Not like those money hungry French!


Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey


Unfortunately after the abbey it started to rain. It was okay for awhile as we walked towards St James Park and Buckingham Palace. But after we passed by those it started to pour. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that it did not rain all day. To get out of the rain a bit we stopped by a Bookstore. They did not have the book I wanted, and then the fire alarm went off. So we had to go out into the pouring rain again.


The rain just kept getting heavier and heavier. We got soaked. By that time we were hungry, wet, and tired from all the walking. Every place we went in to eat was full. We didn’t want to go to a fast food chain, and were getting cranky. We got into a few spats trying to find a place to eat. We made it back to J&Ds and walked down the street to a pub that served food. I had a burger and V had fish and chips. He said he actually liked this fish better than the other place because the breading was less. The burger was good because it had a huge piece of bacon on it. More like a piece of ham. After that we went back and went to bed.


On our walk today V asked why all pubs in London have two names. His example was The Thistle and the Monkey. I told him we now have to open a bar by that name. But he is correct, they all do have two names…



Day 12, July 19: “1 pound 20 pence and the pretty lady”


Countries: France, UK


We started out early this morning to make sure we made our train to London. It was quite an ordeal. We had to fill out special paperwork to board the train to London, indicating where we were staying and how long, then we had to have an exit visa from France and an entrance visa to London. It was hard to explain to the lady at the British check point why we are going to separate countries after the UK. Anyway, we made it through. Then they sent us down to the train on a conveyor belt like ramp. I felt like a cow. Or like we were really going to be turned into Soylent Green…


The London train station is the most beautiful train station I have ever seen. It had wood floors, and old brick walls, and was immaculate. Just a really pretty station. However, the money exchange people really took me for a ride with the exchange rate on Euro to Pounds. I had 115 Euro and they only gave me 85 Pounds. That was super painful considering the exchange rate is 1:1.13.


J and D were at work, so we stopped at a café and ate some lunch. This was the first time on the whole trip I have eaten pasta. I missed it so. At 3 we headed over to their flat and met up with J. He gave us keys, showed us around, and then headed back to work. We got an internet fix and then hit the streets.


It started raining when we decided to go walking, so we went to a pub. There we had a couple British beers and chatted for awhile. It stopped raining so we left, and as soon as we did it started raining again. We are troopers though, and kept walking towards the Piccadilly Circus. For being a Tuesday and raining it was packed. I tried to convince V to get our caricatures drawn together, but he refused. Next we headed to Trafalgar Square and took some photos of statues and picked some pockets.


Beer

Beer


Telephone Booth

Telephone Booth


V then decided that it was time to find a fish and chips place to eat supper. As we were walking we stopped in a little shop to buy a postcard. The cahier offered us an international stamp, too. He said V could buy it for “1 pound 20 and the pretty girl.”Aw, he thought I was pretty. V was willing to sell me, unfortunately.


The fish and chips were expensive. I had fried goat cheese instead, but I did try V’s fish, and it was okay. We ate a lot and decided to go back to the flat to rest and get more internet time. By that time D was home and we got to chat with him. When J came home we had some good laughs and conversation, and it was an overall nice evening. Now it is late for us (we gained an hour today) and we are ready to go to bed. More British excitement tomorrow.


Fish

Fish



Day 11, July 18: “screech, thump”


Countries: France


This was our last day in France. We were woken up about 4am by our roommates coming back from partying, grabbing their things, and sneaking out in the night. I was told this is normal, but I find it suspicious. I think they took the tiny Eiffel towers I bought earlier the day before, because they are now gone. *sob* To make matters worse I got my flip flop caught in the ladder on the way out of the top bunk, and did something to my ankle. It is now very painful and swollen. Parts are purple. Ouch. However, my cold is getting better. :)


To top off our Paris trip we went to the Louvre. When we got there about 9am the line was so long we thought it would take us hours to get in. But it moved pretty quickly and we were entertained by the people in line with us.


Louvre

Louvre


The main attraction was the Mona Lisa. We went there first just to make sure we got the experience. I was crazy for such a small painting. I decided that in the future if someone wants to be a famous painter they have to paint large paintings. Room size. Or else they won’t even be considered.


Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa


We spent the next 6 hours walking through this enormous museum. Neither of us are really in to sculpture, but we did look at paintings for hours. We found a few famous artists like Monet and Velazquez. Specifically V thought that the self portraits of Rembrandt looked like Tom Hanks. He decided that we should submit a screenplay about Rembrandt’s life to Hollywood suggesting Tom Hanks play Rembrandt. The museum closes at 5:30, so we had to leave. But we were satisfied with everything we saw.


Rembrandt

Rembrandt


V wanted to go up into the bell tower of Notre Dame the day before, but the line was huge. We decided to go back and see if we could tour, but it was closed about 30 minutes before we made it. So, we walked through the park next door and sat on a bench. V was fascinated with my ability to study pigeons for extended periods of time considering my attention span is very short. Some things are just worth staring at, right?


I decided it was time for an Internet fix, so we headed back to the same café as previously. I tried to assist a British woman with using the French keyboard, but she just wasn’t getting it. Afterward we went back to the Panini place from the night before and had some more with fries. As we were sitting there eating a car hit and killed a pigeon. The son of the Panini maker cried out and I happened to look. Pigeon guts were everywhere. V said I should have given it mouth to beak and tried to stitch it back up, or sold it to the restaurant next door as a delicacy.


To finish off the evening we started walking back toward the Eiffel tower to see it lit up at night. We didn’t go all the way back over there, but saw it across the river. It was beautiful, but most of our pictures came out blurry. My ankle was really hurting me by that time, so we headed back.


Eiffel Tower at night

Eiffel Tower at night


When we got back we had new roommates that had locked us out of the room. We had to be let in by the front desk guy. I made sure to make extra noise getting ready for bed to pay them back. Next we will be heading to London.



Day 10, July 17: I need my internet fix


Countries visited: France


This morning I got up early and took the laundry to wash. V soon followed and we finished two loads, which should be enough to make it the rest of the trip. Yesterday on our way back to the hostel I purchased a raspberry tart from a bakery, and that is what I had for breakfast at the laundry facility. Afterward we headed out sightseeing.


SisterV Laundry

SisterV Laundry


J told me that most things, other than restaurants, are closed on Sunday. This was half true. The touristy things seemed to be open, but many of the shops were not. We were able to visit 5 places on V’s list. The first was the Arc de Triomphe.


The whole way there we argued and bickered and were angry at each other. Maybe we have spent too much time together? On the way we stopped at a grocery and bought some water and bananas. I also went next door to the pharmacy to see if I could get some night time cold medicine. The guy spoke English, but did not understand what I was asking. He finally brought me some sleeping pills. I tried to explain I needed something for my cold. So, he brought me a box of cold medicine. Turns out they have both the daytime and night time in the same box, so I bought that. I took some of the daytime, which is like Sudafed, and felt a lot better. I can’t wait to take the night time medicine!


Anyway, we made it To the Arc de Triomphe and were able to go to the top. It was a pretty decent view of the city from all four sides, and we got some good pictures.


V Arc

V Arc


SisterV Top Arc

SisterV Top Arc


Next was an obelisk that I have no idea about. V was disappointed in it because we could not approach it due to construction.


We also visited Napoleon’s Tomb, which V also considered a little disappointing. He thought it would be more interesting, but it seems to be just a pretty big marble box. We tried to go through the museum, too, but it was pretty much only weapons and uniforms, which was pretty boring. Unfortunately the ticket cost us 9 euro, which is about $13.


SisterV Napolean

SisterV Napolean


Next we headed to the Statue of Liberty. It is on a kind of peninsula in the river, and we enjoyed the walk to the monument through the park. We took some cool pictures, although we were pretty much too close to the monument to get really good ones.


SisterV Statue

SisterV Statue


By that time we were getting tired and hungry, so we started walking back to the hostel. We stopped at a little deli and had a pita like sandwich and a Panini. They are different and better than the US version. We also had a couple of beers. As we exited the neighborhood we stopped at a chocolate shop and stocked up. V got chocolate covered coffee beans, and I got chocolate with fruit and nuts in it.


Panini

Panini


I wanted to check my email and post my blog, so we stopped at an internet café. After having my internet fix and eating chocolate covered coffee beans I was wired and ready to go. V decided he wanted to see the Bastille since it was close to our hostel and not dark yet.


Afterward we went to the little restaurant next to the hostel and had some French fries and some drinks. I had wine, V had beer. We chatted for a bit and then got into a spat. I came up to the room to shower and go to sleep, and V went on a walk. Sibling love. More tomorrow I am sure.


SisterV Wine

SisterV Wine



Day 9, July 16: You look like a Russian country peasant


Countries visited: France


I woke up with a cold. A crappy, neck gland swollen, sneezing cold. Ugh. Tonight I will be taking the only travel Nyquil I brought with me. Breakfast was crappy vending machine croissants, which I couldn’t even finish, and a shot of coffee both provided by the hostel. I gave V my coffee because it was nasty. Saturday morning is very quiet and slow in Paris. Not many people were out. We went down a side street on our way to Notre Dame, and came upon a small grocer. I bought an orange, which was awesome because I haven’t had hardly any fruit on this trip and was really craving it. Seems like most of what I have eaten has been bread and cheese. Anyway, I ate my orange as we walked along the Seine.


We arrived at Notre Dame and there was a super long line to get into the tower. We decided to skip that for awhile and headed inside for an audio tour. The place was pretty cool, and I lit another candle for Tante Bea. I hope you feel blessed in many countries, Bea!


Audio Tour

Audio Tour


Notre Dame Rose Window

Notre Dame Rose Window


Notre Dame V

Notre Dame V


After that we headed out to the plaza to take some pics, and it started to rain. I forgot my umbrella because Intellicast said it wasn’t supposed to rain until the next day! V brought his, but it was not really big enough for two. We decided to see if we could find a café to sit in and enjoy the morning while it rained. We walked the back streets and got totally lost, and came upon an internet Hagen Daas. Next door was a cute café, so V went in there and I went to check my email and Facebook. We then had lunch at the café. J, my cousin, suggested that I try the ham and cheese while in Paris, and it was pretty good. The bread was awesome again! V had the same thing, but he ordered his with tomatoes, too.


The next stop on our list was the Pantheon. On the way we ran into an open market with food and a few treasures. I decided to look for a scarf as my France “thing.” My one rule was that it did not say “Made in China” or “Made in India” or something similar. The one I chose did not have a “Made in…” sticker, so it is a mystery, which is fine with me. It is multicolored. This whole trip I have been wearing a black scarf, and now I have a choice!


We didn’t go into the Pantheon, but took pictures outside. We then went on the search for the St. Germain Cathedral. We walked up and down several streets and couldn’t find it. I was getting irritated and then spotted a chocolate shop. I bought some bark with cranberries in it. Mmmmm. I even shared a little with V, but hid the rest away for later.


Soon after we found the church and I lit yet ANOTHER candle. European churches are getting a lot of money from me for all the candles I am lighting. Anyway, we toured the church and took some pics. Then we headed to the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower SisterV

Eiffel Tower SisterV


Once at the Eiffel Tower we opted to walk up the first two levels to save a little money. It was quite a leg workout, but I needed the extra incline since I haven’t done lunges or squats in a week. Stupid P90X. Anyway, the higher we got the windier it got, and I was kind of cold. I put my scarf over my head as we rode the elevator to the top from the second level (only option), and V said I looked like a Russian peasant crone. After I put the scarf on my head everyone kept looking at me like I was a gypsy and going to rob them. However, I was the one that got pickpocketed! I have been very careful to keep my passport and money in a zippered pocket in my bag. My camera goes in another, and all my “crap” in another. I have kept my hand on the zipper of that pocket with my money in it almost all the time. But they packed us on the elevator like sardines in a can, and someone managed to get away with my hand sanitizer! Can you believe that? They stole hand sanitizer! I bet they were disappointed! I suspect it was the lady behind me in line to get on the elevator, because she had zero personal space. She was middle aged with a young son, and she kept shoving her belly and chest into my back and arm. I felt violated. Anyway, someone got my hand sanitizer.


After we left we went to a grocery and bought more cheese, come crackers, an apple, and V got a couple of beers. Then we went to a bakery and I bought a raspberry tart I am saving for breakfast. On the way home it started to rain harder and I got soaked. We stopped to look at the map and found we had a LONG way back to go. We walked a ton! We decided to try out the Metro again and at the first stop we entered there wasn’t a machine to purchase tickets. We finally found one and got back to the hostel.


SisterV Scarf

SisterV Scarf


We were both out of underwear and decided to do laundry. We found it down the street but lost 1.5 euro trying to figure out the soap vending machine. I gave up and ran down the street to a small grocer and bought a box of detergent. Finally we could wash everything, but the machines wouldn’t let us because it was 9:15 and they close at 10. There wouldn’t be enough time. Ugh. We vowed to get up early the next morning and run down to wash two loads.


Next I took a cold shower (not by choice) and typed up the day’s activities. I still have a cold. Woe is me.



Day 8, July 15: It was just an extra long hot dog


Countries visited: Germany, France


Today we traveled to France. We got up about 7am because we wanted to make the 8:40 train to Bielefeld so we could connect to Koeln (Cologne) to make a connection to Paris. We got to the station with just a few minutes, bought our ticket, and arrived on the platform as the train was pulling away. That put the whole day off track, as our trip into Koeln was supposed to take about 3 hours, and the train to Paris was to leave at around 12:30. The train from Detmold to Bielefeld only leaves once an hour, so we had to wait for the 9:40 train.


We got into Koeln about 12:40, and went to see about buying a ticket to Paris. The only train we could afford that was leaving the same day left at 6:42. So, we had about 6 hours to burn. We put our luggage into a locker and stepped out of the station. There was the biggest cathedral we have ever seen. We took pictures and walked around a bit. I hadn’t purchased my ‘thing’ from Germany, so I wanted to get something from the shops. I decided to continue with my new collection of buttons, and found one for Germany, one for the Cathedral, and another that says essentially “It is what it is” in German.


Koeln Church V

Koeln Church V


We decided to have some coffee and ice cream at a café, and enjoyed the day. It has been so cold in Germany during our visit, and we were hoping to warm up. After our treat we went into the Cathedral where I lit another candle for my Tante Bea. It had a crypt we could visit, and supposedly the bones of the three magi. Afterward we walked to an internet café to call the hostel and let them know we would be late so they wouldn’t cancel our reservations.


Ice Cream

Ice Cream


Three Magi

Three Magi


Crypt

Crypt


Next we went back into the station to find something to eat and wait for our train. V decided to try a sausage place and ordered some sort of wurst. It was about a foot long but only came with a little round bun. It looked like an extra long hot dog. He said it tasted like that, too. I had a sandwich from some shop, and we sat and waited for our train.


The train ride was uneventful. We arrived in Paris about 10pm and immediately took the Metro to our hostel. Our cousin J told us that we should not stay in the main hostel area, and only about two or three hostels were out of this area, and only one had rooms for four nights. The one we choose is kind of crappy in some ways. It is only 4 to a room, which is nice, but we have to share the key and there is only one outlet. There is no wifi, the breakfast was some sort of prepackaged croissant, and no laundry facilities. We are on the second floor (third in USA talk) and have kind of a cool window looking over the street. And we have our own bathroom, which is a huge plus! But otherwise Helsinki, Stockholm, and Detmold were all better.


Train Station Paris

Train Station Paris


When we arrived it was about 11:30 and our roommates were gone. We dropped off our stuff and went in search of a beer. We stopped at a little pub and had one, then headed back to the hostel. I showered and we went to bed for an early day of sightseeing in Paris!



Day 7, July 14: Ja Ja


Countries Visited: Germany


This day started out with Karl Heinz picking us up and backing his car into a pole. He drives a little VW and it has the beeping mechanism for backing. Apparently he can’t hear it because it was going wild when he backed into the pole. However, VWs apparently can withstand some abuse, because it didn’t dent the car, only scratched it. And he didn’t seem to notice.


After that incident he took us to the house of Reinhart and Marie Louise. They don’t speak English, but showed us around their house so we could see what a typical German house looked like. They had a beautiful back yard and a dog that was skittish but still let me have a little dog time. I miss my dogs. V has been making fun of me for randomly approaching Germans and asking to pet their dogs. He thinks I am scaring them.


Reinhart Marie Karl Heinz

Reinhart Marie Karl Heinz


The next stop was the Wittighoferheide. This is the village that was settled by several people, including our great great grandfather. The farm was really only a few acres, but back in the day the family grew flax on it and had three cows and eight pigs. Because they had three cows and a plow they plowed their land and several of the neighbors’ too. The people that live there now are Fritz and Annie. Their son and his family live on the top two stories, and they live on the ground floor. The room that used to be my great grandfather’s is now an office/computer room. They don’t farm the land anymore, but have a huge garden with pumpkins, and beans, and cucumbers, among other vegetables.


Wittighoferheide

Wittighoferheide


Fritz with cucumber

Fritz with cucumber


Marie Fritz Annie

Marie Fritz Annie


Next we went to Lemgo to walk the town. We stopped in at the church that Karl Heinz and Magdalena were married. Then we walked the streets a little before eating at a pizza place. While eating Karl Heinz told us all about his childhood and joining the army. It was a very sad story and made me better understand the hardships Germans also had to go through during the war.


Church

Church


We then went back to Detmold to walk around there. It is a very cute town that I wouldn’t mind living in. The shops are great, although I didn’t have time to buy anything. The houses are so old and most have the date they were built on the front. Very cool.


Karl Heinz was very accommodating for an 80 something man. He walked with us everywhere. He wanted to take us to all the sites, so he took us to the Hermann statue. This thing is huge, and we have no idea how we did not hear about it before. Karl Heinz was too feeble to climb the stairs, although he had both hips replaced 10 years ago. So V and I headed to the top alone. It was so windy, but we could see the countryside and the town below.


Hermann

Hermann


SisterV Hermann Detmold

SisterV Hermann Detmold


Next we went to the stone formation in the countryside. This was pretty cool given it was kind of standing out in the middle of nothing. V and I climbed up one of the staircases, but I was too tired to climb up them all. Apparently once it was a home for monks in the caves at the bottom.

V Rocks

V Rocks


After all this V and I were super tired, but little did we know we still had a lot to do. Karl Heinz wanted to show us his residence, which is a retirement community. He showed us the library that he is in charge of. Then he took us up to his apartment. It is a cute little thing that V said he wouldn’t mind living in. Just a bedroom, living room, bath room, and tiny little kitchenette that can be shut behind a cabinet.


The last stop was the Frische farm. Inge still lives there, although her husband died not too long ago, and the original house burnt down in 1994. It was struck by lightning and the whole barn/house burned to the ground. Thankfully insurance paid to build a new, smaller house and a separate barn. There are two other houses on the property that are inhabited by two of Inge’s daughters and their families. I love German homes. Although many are very old, they still seem quite efficient and environmentally friendly. I think I got some ideas if I ever build a home. Inge gave us a little tour of the farm showing us the pond, barns, horses, and fields.


Frische Farm

Frische Farm


We expected to just visit and leave like previously. However, Inge had prepared a German supper for us, because she thought we needed to experience what people “normally” ate. This included four types of wurst, three cheeses, tomatoes, gherkins, lox, and bread. The food was excellent, and I ate way too much! I think I might have gained weight in Germany despite all the walking.


After supper Dieter and his sister Lieselotte arrived. This is where we understood what Karl Heinz meant by “reservations” that he made. What he had done was make arrangements for us to stay with Lieselotte. However, she doesn’t understand a b it of English, so I am not sure how we would have gotten along. Dieter had a lot to say. He speaks excellent English and told many stories and jokes. Apparently in the 60s he went to the USA to be a counselor at a summer camp. At university he studied English, German, and Physical Education. He was a teacher for many years.


After supper Inge pulled out some sparking apple juice and little funyun like treats. They were little bears that kept looking at me! I was too full to eat them or I would have bitten their little heads off. Anyway, soon Christina and her daughter Freska showed up. Freska is about 11 or 12, but didn’t speak English. Christina did, but not well. Later her son showed up, and he spoke excellent English.


Inge pulled out some photographs to show me. I did take some pictures of the pictures, which I think everyone thought was weird, but I thought was important if I ever wanted a copy. I also learned that Dieter’s grandmother was my great grandfather’s sister, which I did not know. Dieter’s aunt was the sister to Dieter’s father, which I knew, and she was also the third wife to my great grandfather. Got that?


SisterV V Inge Karl Heinz Christine

SisterV V Inge Karl Heinz Christine


As it was getting late I notice Karl Heinz calling someone. Turns out he has a 90 something girlfriend and they were heading to a music festival this morning. He wanted to call and let her know he would not be home by 10pm. Although, we left soon after because we were all tired and had to get up early the next day. It was a very full day and we had a great time.


After spending time with Inge and others I have decided I am going to start using some German words. I will say “ja” for yes, “nine” for no, “hallo” for hello, and “tante” for aunt.


We got back about 10:30 and looked online for tickets to Paris. Hopefully we will make it… otherwise we might be spending another day in Germany.



Day 6, July 13: Alfred Hitchcock


Countries Visited: Germany


Day 6 started out hard. I didn’t get any sleep in that horrible hostel, and we got up early to hop trains. I am not into the German breakfast at all. Lunch meats and fruit cocktail are not my things. But sourdough rolls and hot chocolate are! After breakfast we checked out and headed to do a little sightseeing in Lubeck before our train.


Lubeck Hostel

Lubeck Hostel


Lubeck is a cute town. We saw a castle like thing and a Doll Bridge. But not much else. We were lugging our suitcases with us and had to get to the train station. We hopped the first train which was to Hamburg.


SisterV Tunnel

SisterV Tunnel


V Arches

V Arches


At Hamburg we decided to put our belongings into a locker and go see the City Hall. We got there and the lady asked if we wanted the English tour, and we said yes. Then she told us that it wouldn’t be until the afternoon, and we didn’t have that much time. So, we opted to take the German tour. They gave us a handout with the English descriptions of each room, so at least we had that. Otherwise we had no idea what they were saying. The only thing we understood is when the man said some bust of some official looked like Alfred Hitchcock. Afterward we rushed back to the train station to take then next train to Osnabruck.


SisterV Statue

SisterV Statue


V Bust City Hall

V Bust City Hall


We were starting to get this train thing figured out, if we could only arrive with enough time to change trains. Next train was to Herford. After Herford we changed to Detmold, our destination for the next couple of days.


We arrived in Detmold pretty late, and therefore didn’t have time to visit Tabea like I wanted to. We are walkers, so we decided to walk to the hostel. What we didn’t know is that it was uphill and round about. We walked and walked and walked, but we made it in time to check in. This hostel has by far been the best. We have a room to ourselves, a bathroom to ourselves, it is in the countryside, it is the cheapest, and the people are super nice. We are happy here.


I called Karl Heinz to let him know were were in town and to find out what time he wanted us ready in the morning. He gave me a lecture about how he had “made reservations” for us, and how he sat by the phone all day waiting for us. I was not sure where he got this idea to do either thing, as I had emailed him that we would be coming in late and would be staying at the hostel. Way to piss off our host before we even met him…


After dropping off our things we decided we were starved and wanted to see if we could find anything in town. So, we walked and walked and walked, passed some sheep, and about 1500 people walking their dogs. Then we made it to town to find that most things were closed. We found a local restaurant and ordered the schnitzel and a local beer. It was awesome eats. I thought I might lose weight on this trip, but whatever I might have lost I gained back in Germany!


SisterV Sheep

SisterV Sheep


Schnitzel

Schnitzel


SisterV Detmolder Beer

SisterV Detmolder Beer


Afterward, a little drunk, we walked in a big square through town until we needed to visit the WC. On the way back we started reading all the names on the mailboxes and found that many children live in flats above their parents, even in town.


Detmold

Detmold


When we got back we showered, checked our email, and crashed. Traveling is hard, and we had to get up early Wednesday to meet Karl Heinz.