Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Germany Trip - Day 1 - Part 1

A little delayed, but it has been honestly difficult to find enough time to sit down and do any serious writing without a child, spouse or somebody else vying for my attention. All is quiet at the exact moment...naps are being taken by everyone but myself, so I figured I would get us much in as possible. What I have been doing is taking point form notes of the many experiences we've shared so far, and will be expanding on them all as we go.
The Nortons in Pearson Airport, Toronto
Melanie's father Stefan picked us up at our house at 1pm. Everything was packed and ready to go. We loaded up his car, and sped off to the airport (quite literally, actually...he's a bit of speed demon). Luckily I have an eagle eye for details, otherwise we would not have known which terminal to pull into. Since the terminal status had been in limbo when Melanie ordered the tickets, they had not posted it on the paper. The only way to know for sure was a sign on the 401...which at 140km/h goes by really fast. I spotted the blur that looked like our carrier and off we went. Screeching to a halt, we unloaded the car, said our farewells and headed into the terminal looked for Luftansa airlines.
We deliberately came a little earlier than necessary so that we could request bulkhead seating. Always anticipate a fully loaded flight and gain as much ground as you can when tagging a 21 month old in tow. We lined up at the Luftansa Economy class window, and were soon informed that they were not in fact going to be taking us on the first part of our flight. Air Canada would be taking those duties...taking us the seven hours to Frankfurt, where we would then take a connecting flight with Luftansa to Dusseldorf.
So, we dutifully lined back up at the Air Canada desk (luckily in the same terminal only a couple rows over), and checked the three million pounds of luggage Melanie had dutifully packed for us...only taking on two carry-on bags...one filled with Nathaniel's necessaries and other essentials in case the rest of our luggage ends up in Siberia or somewhere else that we are, in fact not in.
With a couple hours to go, we made our way through security, luckily catching the security people at a quiet time so they were very patient with us as we emptied our pockets of anything that may set the detector off (Note, some candy wrappers do have metal in them). Wisked through that and soon enough found ourselves in a huge walkway with the moving sidewalk. They do not allow strollers on it though, so Melanie and Nathaniel had to walk normally. I split it 50/50, first just standing then remembering Henry Rollins (a fav speaker of mine) taking people out if they get in his way on those things so guiltily I picked up the pace.
The restaurant selection at that point was sparce...so to try something new we had a quick bite at the Bacardi Kiosk Restaurant. We then browsed around the duty free shop where I drooled over a limited reserve bottle of 30 year old Glenfiddich. $535.00!!! I have a pic of it, but can't take it off my camera phone.
Soon enough, our flight was announced for boarding and we chatted with the flight attendants, who informed us the flight was underbooked, so they moved us to a row all our own...lots of room for Nathaniel to stretch out and sleep.
I'll end there for now...part 2 coming soon....the interesting stuff happens next.
Cheers!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Danke...Bitta

This will be the first of many blog entries from our trip to Germany. Yes, yes...I gave little to no notice lately that I'll be over here on the blog - the reason for that is due to my need to practically kill myself over work. As we got closer and closer to the date I began working more and more hours. My health got worse and worse as I went and I was a zombie more often that not. Trying to fit in the few minutes necessary to think of something amusing to write about didn't fit.
Now I have my break...sort of...
We are currently staying with Melanie's uncle and Aunt and their family...getting our own little headquarters in their attic. Luckily they have high speed internet here, so I'm able to get my writing in, and catch up on the months of writing that has been bouncing around in my brain - sadly neglected. It needs to wait at least another day though.
I have recently discovered that I have to be up early (7:30am GMT+1) as we are heading to another town to visit Melanie's Oma and other relatives...after which we will be driving back in Oma's car; which she kindly allowed us to borrow while we are here. So, I need to grab a few winks (something I'm slowly catching up on) before this occurs.
So, short synopsis, which I will expand on. At YYZ Toronto at 2pm. Flight at 5:10pm. Uneventful flight on Air Canada to Frankford for 7 hours. Walk through airport (50000 miles long). Discover connecting flight to Dusseldorf has been canceled due to a little bit of fog. Mad scramble to call people waiting on other end for us. Get train trip to Dusseldorf-hbf station. VERY impressed by lack of snow and abundance of green grass. Cannot find people waiting for us. Mad call scramble again. They are at Dusseldorf Airport station. They grab metro to meet us. Finally connect. Take metro back to Dusseldorf Air. Mad scramble to find car. Very impressed and amused by cars in parking lot (55% Mercedes, 35% VW, rest Volvo and Jaguars. No winter beaters to be found. Impressed by German driving. Small roads, 150km/hour in driving rain. Somehow able to sleep a few minutes. No, I was not driving at the time. Got to destination. Discovered they were not expected us for almost a week (still can't figure that one out). Good family, took us in anyway. Even fed us. Found myself addicted to German baked-goods and Pilsner Beer. Sleep necessary and welcome.
OK, that was day one in it's minute form...I will write the rest in obscene length over the next few days. Until then, Gutten-nacht!