Thursday, November 3, 2005


Just over a month ago, the three of us left to go to Germany. We've been back for over three weeks now, but we are just now posting the photos to our Shutterfly collection. I'll call it the blogging version of jet-lag!

We flew to Frankfurt on a Thursday and then took a train to Dusseldorf, where my cousin, Jason, his wife, Julie, and their two daughters live. We stayed with them for several days and Sydney had a blast with Madeline (3-1/2) and Gabrielle (22 months). The following Monday we rented a car and drove via the Romantischestrasse (Romantic Road) to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg is a town that dates from medieval times and was one of the largest cities in what is now Germany with a population of over 6,000! It has been well preserved (including a town wall that you can walk around) and is a great place to visit. After Rothenburg, we drove on to Munich and spent several days enjoying the gardens and historic buildings. We didn't press our luck by trying to see many museums with Sydney, but we did see the Residenz, the former palace of the Wittelsbachs that is in the heart of Munich, as well as Schloss Nymphenburg, their summer getaway that has since been enveloped by a growing Munich.

Leaving Munich, we took a train to Oberwesel, where we met up with Jason, Julie, Madeline, and Gabrielle to take a cruise on a portion of the Rhine. We had lunch in Bacharach and enjoyed an authentic German pub lunch, complete with impromptu bar songs provided by a group of well-orchestrated gentlemen! We then went back to Dusseldorf and spent another day at Jason and Julie's before leaving for home.

During the course of the trip, I brushed up on my very rusty high-school German. By the time we left Munich, I was able to have a complete coversation in German regarding where we could find food for Sydney at a train station. I ran into one clerk (in a Subway sandwich shop, of all places) who grew impatient with the speed at which I comprehended and spoke German, but otherwise people did their best to allow me to stammer through. Most of the folks we dealt with spoke better English than I do German, but there were a few who shook their heads at English and made it necessary to dredge my memory for those vocabulary words. (How do you say 1/4 in German?)

Everyone has asked how Sydney did, and the answer is that she did wonderfully! It took her a while to get over jet-lag on the east-bound leg, but she was pleasant in all of our time on trains and even in the car. There was one stretch on the A-9 where we traveled 10 miles in 2 hours, and even the parents got cranky there (because we missed the deadline for returning the rental car...)

She recovered more quickly on the way back, and overall I can't imagine a more pleasant experience. We spent one leg of a train ride in a compartment with three grandmotherly ladies who ooohed and aaahed over Sydney and shared their virtual picnic with her. (I still resent not getting a bite of that pastry...) One thing we happened upon during our first train journey was that the ICE's (Inter-City Express trains) have a compartment reserved for people travelling with small children. That was a huge blessing because we were able to grab that compartment and have more floor space for Sydney to move around in. Similarly, we were very generously upgraded to business class (thanks Dad!) on our flight, and it made a huge difference to have room for Sydney to sit on the floor and be able to do more than sit in our laps. For the most part, we had very nice flight attendants and "neighbors" who enjoyed Sydney. On the way back from Frankfurt, there was a young serviceman sitting in the row behind us. Sydney enjoyed playing peek-a-boo and smiling at him during the trip and on through customs. We even got special treatment in several places as a result of having Sydney. In the Frankfurt airport, for instance, we were directed to a separate security checkpoint that seemed to be reserved for crew members. When the wait for everyone else was 20-30 minutes, we were through in no time and had smiles from everyone involved (except the other people in line...)

While it was a wonderful trip, I think it will be the last overseas vacation we plan until our children are older. We'll be headed back to China in about a year (or so it says in the fine print), but other than that, I think we'll stay domestic for a while.

Also at the above link are some photos from before and after our trip, including the 16th birthday party of Madeline Rogers, a visit to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, and Sydney's first Halloween.



tricia said...

wow, you guys have all sorts of exciting adventures! what beautiful pictures too. i've been to germany twice, many years ago as a pre-teen, and i really loved it.