Day 1 – 4/20 through 4/21 – Getting to Oma’s

The blog posts are finally being entered. To make sure everyone is confused I am back-dating them. Pictures will follow eventually.

Friday evening and Saturday morning sort of blended together in one gigantic blur. Arrived at the airport with out incident, opted to check our luggage and just carryon our backpacks, and then proceeded to spend half an hour in the airport Borders. We then sat and numbly watched the Iraqi psychic talk to CNN until a gunman took over a building at NASA. Details were vague by the time we boarded our plane around 4 pm and none seemed to be readily forthcoming or available.

The flight itself was neither good, nor bad, but flying makes it so. There were no overly obnoxious small children, no annoyingly over attentive flight attendants, no amazingly great meals and no great shows on the in-flight entertainment. I had already seen “Night at the Museum” it was pretty good the first time, but on an even smaller, more distant, airplane screen, nothing really came to life the way it did the first time.

We arrived in Frankfurt at 5:30 am Saturday. At least, I think it was Saturday. There were no incidents in passport control, the baggage claim, or customs. Our passports were good, our baggage showed up, and we had nothing to declare –except that I loathe sitting for six solid hours, but the German government doesn’t care about that.

The 6:09 am train was a little too early to be reasonable, so we settled for the 7:09 ICE from Frankfurt flughafen to Koln. Gavin declared he could travel in style, ICE first class, indefinitely. We arrived in Koln at around 8 am, and walked outside to see the Dom. I left Gavin with the luggage and ran back a few yards to try and fit it all in the view finder of the camera, no such luck. I guess I’ll have to piece it together later.

We caught the 8:32 RE to Bad Godesberg. It took almost as long to get from Koln to BG as it had to get from Frankfurt to Koln. It was slow, it took forever. When we did finally arrive at the BG train station, none of the luggage assistance belts were functioning so we got to carry our bags down and up the stairs.

I did not want to deal with the bus at 9 am on a Saturday, so we took the only taxi waiting by the station up the “largish hill” to where Oma lives. The weather was beautiful. The sun shone brightly, everything was vibrant and lush. We rolled our suitcases down the hedge lined paths, up to Oma’s door and rang the bell.

It was 9:30 am. No one answered. Slightly concerned I had confused dates, times and locations in some previous correspondence, I began to hunt for a possible spare key. Before I could take a peek at the large pot on the doorstep, a rapping noises and a “HELLO-o” grabbed our attention.

Oma had just been upstairs, preoccupied, and didn’t move as quickly as she used to. We were greeted with another exuberant “Hello-o!” hugs, and apologies of not getting to the door more quickly. We went in, and Gavin was informed he should “Just follow Kindli, she knows where everything goes,” so Gavin dutifully followed me up stairs to the guest room, and then on a tour of the house.

Part way through our tour, Uncle Bernie arrived and he and Oma got into a discussion about cell phones. Then we all sat down for tea (for Oma and Uncle B.), and water for Gavin and myself. We showed Oma the Boston book we had brought for her, and the brightly colored TEXAS themed apron mom had sent with us. Oma was quite excited with both and tried on the apron at once, it was quite something.

After tea, Gavin, Oma and I walked to the grocery store to get lunch makings. Gavin marveled at the wide variety of unique and differently processed meats, and the unique array of frozen pizzas. “The Boston Spinach pizza was… different.” I agree, and am perpetually shocked to see the “tun-fish pizza.”

As Oma peddled off on her little bicycle (“I must be able to put my feet on the ground easily” she explained), Gavin and I went on a short walk around the Heiderhoff, the community where Oma lives. We went past the Catholic School, the playground with the slide and hut, the other playground near the forest and the other school, a few more sand-pit playgrounds, and finally back, past the dog to Oma’s back gate. I will eventually include pictures of some of these great landmarks.

Lunch was around 1. At Oma’s, lunch is the large “hot” meal of the day. Lunch was rouladen (that day it was thinly sliced beef rolled up with carrots and italian ham inside, but Oma frequently varies it), rosti (“better than hashbrowns”-like potatoes), and a large salad (the remains of the sald making process went to the shildkruter next door). Dessert was strawberries and cream.

Not long after lunch, Gavin and I scrapped the idea of “staying up until 10 and then going to bed then.” We had moved the time forward to 9, then to 8:30. At 2:30 we gave up. I was seeing triple and Gavin was about to nod off reading Harry Potter on his Nokia.

I vaguley remember waking up at 5:30 for something, for some reason the number sticks in my head. We didn’t get back downstairs until about 8, Gavin had showered, and I was feeling much more awake. There was a note by the phone that Oma and Uncle B. had gone for a walk, but they were back and having dinner at the table.

The were thilled to see we were awake. Apparently Mom had called while we were asleep, and Oma didn’t want to wake us. Dinner was brotchen with kase and liverwurst, Gavin just had his brotchen with butter, and I skipped the kase.

After dinner we watched TV with Oma. Some CNN, some BBC, and finally some of a German variety show that was an evil cross between America’s Funniest Home Video’s and Candid Camera, it was called “Ferstehen Sie Spass?” (Do You Understand a Joke?). My favorite was where people were blindfolded and told they were testing a lipbalm and then kissed Herr Mortiz the Chimp.

We did get to bed by about 10, or 10:15, our origionally intended bedtime.


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