Sunday, July 26, 2009

Safely Ensconced

Friday, July 24th

We’re always so grateful to be safely ensconced in our hotel each day, but let’s start with the airplane trip, which, as always is a trial to be endured. Oh, to travel first class! We had sufficient leg room in our Lurthansa flight, but the teenage girl in front of me laid her chair back the moment we pushed off. I watched two movies with a screen about a foot from my nose. Fortunately, by the third movie I was sleeping most of the time, so it didn’t matter so much.

After arriving in Frankfurt, we got a VW mini-van, which looked to be untenable for us and our luggage until we found out how to stand the rear seats on their ends. We think we’ll be able to fit Amanda and her luggage in, after all. Brittany sat in the front on the way to Bad Schwalbach to help Ed navigate. It is only about a 45 minute drive from the Frankfurt airport, but we added about 10 minutes right off the bat by returning to the airport at the very beginning. Even with Ed’s Garmin GPS, we weren’t sure which exit to take as we left the airport. Now we know.

Driving in to Bad Schwalbach, who should we run into, but Amanda herself, standing on the sidewalk and flagging us down. It was great to see her! She took us straight to our hotel, which at first was reminiscent of the Bates hotel. It was empty and locked, but we roused someone on the intercom who buzzed us in. We wandered around 5 floors of deserted (and open) doors without finding a soul. Finally, we ran into a little old (emphaisis on the OLD) lady laboring down the stairs. She has a heart condition and can only take about one stair per minute. She showed us two rooms and told us to take the keys out of the locks and make ourselves at home. No checking in, or anything! I wonder if we can find someone to pay when we leave! It is an old hotel and furnished in a very old fashioned way, but we like it. Our rooms are comfortable and have nice terraces. They have German air-conditioning (open windows). It is very cool and refreshing here.

Amanda showed us her very commodious apartment with kitchen, living room, dining room, bedroom and bath. She also has a terrace. She fed us leftovers from the other day when she fed the boys in the opera. It was pasta and wurst and was very delicious. Afterwards we walked through downtown Bad Schwalbach and got ice cream cones. Sitting around eating ice cream reminded us of Italy, except for the fact that it wasn’t blazing hot like Rome was.

Then, Amanda took us to meet Detlef, Spencer’s host in Germany. Three boys live with him, and he doesn’t speak much Enlgish, so I enjoyed having a little conversation with him. I don’t catch everything, but I can get the gist of it. Amanda was impressed at how much better my German was than last year. That made me feel good, because Ed was thinking he’d wasted a lot of money on all my German lessons this past year. It takes a while to master a language! I’m having fun reading signs and listening to people. The girls sang two songs for Detlef and Angelica (his friend). Then, Amanda went off to a Wine-Tasting with the students. She was going to have grape juice. We were invited to go, but opted to sleep instead. They were driving to a town about 35 minutes from here (Rudesheim). We are pretty tired. Ed fell asleep in 3 different chairs while he waited for Amanda to cook dinner. Every time we tried to take his picture he startled himself awake again.

Brittany is amazed that the signs are all written in German here. She keeps saying, “Who reads this language, anyway.” It does seem like a waste to print all those signs in a language only a few million understand. Crystal seems to be grateful she’ll be learning Spanish instead of German.

We took a walk around the Kurpark before bed tonight. It is a lovely, green park, and was quite refreshing. It was fun to show Ed, Crystal and Brittany where I jogged last year. I’m sad I won’t be able to jog this year (eye doctor’s orders). My eye seems stable, thankfully. The floaters are most noticeable in bright light. In the dark you don’t notice them much.

Guten Nacht! I’m going to bed!

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