Last post I filled you in on my passport odyssey. This post I'll start sharing about the trip itself. What I didn't explain earlier is WHY we were wanting to make the trip to Germany and Switzerland. (If you already know the story, just hold on a paragraph).
See, when I was a junior in high school, I won a scholarship to study in Germany, at a German high school, while living with a family, for a year. The scholarship included my flights, travel in Germany to and from the airport, a language camp, my bus passes for school, and trips to Bonn and Berlin. I also met U.S. representatives in Washington D.C. who supported the program which had a main goal of supporting German-U.S relations. And, in Germany, I met with Bundestag officials and learned more about the German government. Want to learn more about it? Host a student for a year? Check it out here. It was a very life-changing kind of trip. It was what led me to study politics in college. And, after living there for a year...I continued to study German throughout college. I'm about to date myself, but I lived there in high school 1993-94, and then, in 2001, Hubby and I went over and spent about two weeks visiting my host family, and then I went on to a summer study abroad program while he flew home. We hadn't been back since. And so, ten years after our last visit, we made it a priority this year to get back to visit. And to introduce Little Man to the Kueckelhaus family.
Okay, now that you're caught up on the back story, I can fill you in on the trip. It was Little Man's first time ever on a plane! And while he had an accident overnight on the plane (luckily I had a change of clothes), he handled it really well. He was very impressed with the clouds, the movies...everything! Even the plane bathrooms! In fact, the first time we went he asked if we were making rain...if the pee was just going to fall through a hole in the plane onto people like rain.
Little Man carried his carry-on bag like a seasoned traveler. You would have never known he hadn't done it before!
He sat between Hubby and I...and had lots of questions about the flight. I'm honestly not sure how much he grasped about flying over the ocean to a whole other continent. He knows we went to another country, but, still not sure he understands just what exactly flying that far meant. After all, we've spent more time in the car driving to visit PA...I'm sure it's a lot to take in!
He enjoyed picking movies and occupied himself well. We didn't even really need his video game or books during the flight. It would have been better if he had slept overnight, but since I didn't either (or Hubby), I can't say I'm surprised (it's just so hard to be comfortable when you don't have very much space).
After arriving in Frankfurt, Germany around 8 AM the following day, we waited to answer questions about our visit with customs (when I started to get nervous about my German), picked up our luggage, walked FOREVER to get the rental car straightened out (really dislike renting a car in Frankfurt), and started for the 4 hour trip to Zurich, Switzerland.
Why did we head to Zurich, you ask? Well, last fall my very good friend of over 10 years transferred there, and said if we were ever in the neighborhood we should visit. Well, four hours away seemed as in the neighborhood as we may ever be, so I contacted her and asked her if she was up for a visit. It turns out she had just been talking about not having many visitors, and so graciously offered to have us stay with her. I'm so glad we did. We weren't in Zurich long, and, we got there later than we should have...so, staying with her let us get to see her more.
Anyway, by this time in the trip the sore throat and cold that were bothering me when we left were starting to bother me more. My ears didn't clear from the flight for 6 hours, and I was exhausted. And Hubby was tired just from lack of sleep. So, while driving we both decided to pull over and take a nap for half an hour just to rest enough to make it the rest of the way. Because the traffic was madness, and the speeds were FAST...not when you want to be sleepy!
When we got to Elena's apartment in a great, convenient, pretty neighborhood right in Zurich, she made us feel right at home. She made pizzas for dinner, we talked, caught up...got the beds ready, and then we collapsed for 12 hours. Little Man slept so soundly, and was so off from the flight, that he wet himself TWICE during the night. And I started to feel more miserable. I had a sinking feeling that the rest of the trip would be more of the same, with me feeling awful and my German not coming back fast enough, and Little Man peeing on himself (which was a main reason why we had waited to take him on a big trip). But staying with Elena, I sucked it up, said I needed to go to a pharmacy, and after breakfast and showers, we headed out to explore (and get drugs for me, loads of drugs).
Zurich has many stunning views, and lots of water fountains...and since I love a water feature I just couldn't get enough!!
Because we wanted our walk to be relaxing, and since I was feeling a bit rundown, we stopped a few times while we did some sightseeing. We picked up chocolates from a shop...
...and headed to a tucked away bistro for lunch. Hubby and Little Man had burgers.
Elena and I had asparagus ravioli (asparagus was very in-season while we were there).
Then we walked some more.
And as luck would have it, we came across this yarn store called Hand Art.
I wanted to find a little something that I could purchase as my Zurich souvenir...and this little asymmetrical toy seemed just the thing. The sweet lady working in the shop helped me pick the appropriate yarn and made a copy of the pattern for me! The colors in the shop were gorgeous! I'm sure if I had felt more like myself, it wouldn't have been so easy to pick something!
After walking for a bit again, we stopped at Spruengli. They are known for their chocolates...and hot chocolate. Now, it was very warm during our visit. And, for those of you who didn't know this...there isn't air conditioning in much (all?) of Europe...so, well, something cold may have seemed more appropriate, but, that hot chocolate was DIVINE! I had a cappuccino, and it was perfect too. We sat, regrouped, used the rest room (use the bathroom while at a restaurant, otherwise, you'll have to pay), and then headed back to Elena's apartment. On the way we picked up a Swiss army knife for Little Man for when he's older (we couldn't resist).
When we got back I sprayed my throat and laid down on the bed while Hubby and Elena worked out how she wanted to hang some curtain hangers that she asked for help with. And then, I helped her measure and hem the curtains...in between lying on the bed...I was really a mess at this point. After all of this curtain work was done we headed back out to find somewhere for dinner. After several different tries, and about 45 minutes of searching, we came across a very hot Italian restaurant that had one table. We took it!
Little Man's pizza came looking like a fish!
The spring vegetable soup burned going down my throat, but helped it for a little while.
Elena picked a prosciutto pizza.
Hubby chose lasagna (he said it's the best he's ever eaten).
And I had schitzel with risotto.
Afterwards we headed back to Elena's place where we watched part of a movie, and then, with all of us tired, we headed to bed.
The next morning we had breakfast, and sat with Elena a bit while we finished the movie from the night before. Then we cleaned up, re-packed, and then, feeling it was too soon, headed to Germany. It took us several hours more than it should have because of lots of construction on the Autobahn. And my throat became much worse, with one of my lymph nodes sticking out of my chin. I was a mess...not really how I had imagined my return to Germany being!
But I must say, when I started recognizing the roads, and we got into Suttrop, it was so exciting!
Naechstes mal: Deutschland!