Lufthansa flight 5007 out of Houston at 4:20pm. We flew on a Boeing 747-400 and the flight itself was great – hardly any turbulence whatsoever, departed and arrived on-time, pretty simple & straightforward flight. 4 nuns on-board too – cool!
The configuration on the plane, however, was terrible.
Sitting straight up in my seat with my elbow tucked into my side, I could stick my arm out and touch the seat in front of me. Fulling extending my arm was completely out of the question. Moving around in my seat? Not gonna happen. Having ANY room once the schmoo in front of me reclined his seat? Not an inch. No seatback televisions to speak of either so it was a very loooong 10 hour flight across the pond. The seats did recline a good deal, especially in comparison to most airlines’ seats, but that is where the creature comforts ended.
German efficiency gone too far, ja? Anyhow I can’t really complain. We landed safely and now, WE’RE IN GERMANY!!!
We proceeded to find our rental car which totally cracked us up once we found it. It’s a teeny tiny Chevrolet Matiz. Matiz as in Matisse, ergo I’ve affectionately named him Henri! He’s a bright red teeny tiny fellow, undoubtedly the product of one passionate night between two Legos. Our luggage justbarely fits into the car, and as long as we don’t pack in anything else we should be just fine. We could probably propel the car quite a bit faster with a kleine toot!!!
Autobahn!!! I flipping love the Autobahn. A3 to Wurzburg? Yes please! Ferrari growling along at mach something? Love it! Polite drivers? I’ve missed you! Henri allowed us to pep him up to 140kmh without the wheels flying off so that’s pretty cool. Who’s the most bomb-diggity navigator in Deutschland? Oh yeah, ME.
(Ausfahrt ausfahrt ausfahrt! Ausfahrt is everywhere…. a million and one ways to ausfahrt.)
By the time we reached Wurzburg we’d both been up for just shy of 24 hours with no rest and hardly any food. Maurice finally gave into my pleas to stop so I could tinkle (,70€ for a clean bathroom, I’ll take it) and knock back a cappuccino. Zwei cappuccino and two little amaretti cookies later and we were back on the road to Oma’s house.
We drove through Schweinfurt where Maurice was born, up to Stadtlauringen, and finally to Birnfeld.
Along the way Maurice sweetly pointed out the bee house (where they keep honey bees), the tennis courts, the school where his cousin Ivonne went and where he sometimes visited, where the old Audi dealership was, the steeple of a factory, and many other sweet memories.
(I should stop myself right there for a moment and mention my favorite part of this adventure so far: Maurice’s smile. Seeing my husband so happy to be home, surrounded by places and sights and smells and people that he loves and that bring him joy makes me so incredibly happy!!! His smile and laughter, relaxed shoulders, and easy conversation are the best!)
Birnfeld unveiled itself to us around 1pm on the 28th.
We drove past Schloss Craheim, past the church, the baker, the carpenter’s house, and the family cellar, and turned left onto Sonnenleite Strasse.
So far we’ve had 3 meals in 5 hours: sausages & sauerkraut with brotchen; cake with tea and coffee after a light nap; and cold cuts with brotchen for an evening snack. I’ve had several cups of tea, aqua frizzante, and a shot of homemade aperitif so far. I hope my hosen can handle it all.
Oh, and I understand more German than I can speak – one small step for Nicole, one huge leap for… somebody else.