Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tickets and Passports

I’ll take a holiday far away…

There’s certainly something to jetlag. I’m just now starting to feel ‘back to normal’, which translates to just tired every day, not exhausted. But it was worth the fatigue! We had a great time.

After a grueling airline experience (another post) we arrived at the airport in Amsterdam. Bryce stood at the gate greeting us with a hand drawn Texas flag! What a sweetie!
Bryce welcomed us to Germany with a Texas flag!
We grabbed the luggage and headed to a store for a snack. With sandwich and suitcase in tow we found the rental and the adventure began. It was a station wagon, which was funny because when the kids were little they played some weird game about station wagons. Most kids play strange car games with VW Beetles, but not mine. Anyway, as we were driving, if we saw a station wagon, the person spotting the car would say “Station wagon alert!” I still don’t know exactly what that means but I think we all said it as we loaded the vehicle.

I was worn-out but I didn’t want to miss anything so I tried to stay awake and look around as much as I could as I settled in the back seat. Alan, not so much. He was reclined and snoring almost as soon as we left the parking lot! We were on the way to Hamburg.

Highway scenery is much the same in Germany as it is in the states. It just seems to flash by at a much faster rate!
Scenery along the way.
An import. Chevrolet Camaro!
A corn field where the corn as tall as the eaves on the barn.
Cattle grazing in the field.
Hay field with fresh mown hay.
Perhaps that’s because there isn’t really a posted speed limit on the Autobahn. Speed limits do apply at intersections or somewhere to be cautious like a construction zone. Generally, the Autobahn only has an advisory speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour (81 mph) in some spots and no limit at all in others. Staying with the flow of traffic had us practically airborne.
No speed limit.
I  was in the backseat, tending to my knitting which keeps me from grasping the ‘oh shit’ bar and clawing the windows when the driving makes me nervous.
Don't look, just knit!

As we were driving I noticed a sign. It said “Ausfahrt”. It was blue, with white lettering and was shaped with a point on one end, looking to me like an arrow.
Exit? Ausfahrt is a lot more fun to say!
Of course, just saying the word as I thought it would be in English immediately made me laugh. Think what "aus" and "fahrt" would break down to. Wouldn’t you laugh too? As we came upon another sign saying the same thing, I chuckled silently to myself. Passing still another sign I decided it must be pointing the way to a German town, probably a stinky German town, and giggled some more. Finally I said it out loud and asked Bryce just what it meant. Actually vocalizing it, with a Texas accent made us all laugh out loud. Then Bryce told us it just meant ‘Exit’. Prime example of lost in translation.

After dozing for a while it was time for a rest stop. We pulled off the road to a convenience store to use the restroom and to replenish the snacks. Before I went in Bryce explained that there weren’t any ‘free’ restrooms. There was a charge of .70€, about $1.00, to use the facilities. But you did get a voucher back which was .50€ that you could use in the store.
Vouchers to use in the convenience store after you pay to go to the bathroom.

Well, it wasn’t what I was used to but he had the right coins so I headed in to do what we stopped for. All went well and I did what you’re supposed to do when you finish and prepared to flush. I didn’t have my glasses on and sadly, I can’t read a thing without them. There was a divided button on the wall that I figured was meant for flushing so I pushed it. In some hotels I’ve occupied, there have been split buttons for flushing. One part is supposed to be for “number 1” and the other for “number 2”. I thought it might be the same. Instead, a square object came out, the toilet seat started to rotate and it was cleaned for the next person. Well, that was all good but it still hadn’t flushed. I pushed again, and because I couldn’t see, managed to press the same spot. The square piece, which I figured out was some sort of squeegee, came out, the toilet seat rotated and it was double clean for the next person. But it was still not flushed. So, concentrating this time, I managed to push in the right place and finally got the job done. I definitely had the cleanest seat in the place by the time I managed to flush the toilet!

We were soon on our way without further adventure. We arrived in Hamburg and found Bryce’s flat. It had been a long day. We were hungry and tired. We headed out for food, another post. Stay tuned!
Hamburg, Germany, officially known as Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg,  gets its name from the first castle built on the site, as per the orders of Emperor Charlemagne in 808 AD.

The intersection of Bryce's flat.

I’ll run until the end of the time 
The second hand slowly unwinds… 

Remember a month ago (wow, a whole month since I posted?) when I told you about the scarf exchange and showed you the pictures of the scarf I made? Well, I sent it off with a couple of other surprises and it got to Caroline. She said she loves it! I’m so relieved.
Caroline took a picture of her scarf package.

And while I was gone I got my scarf from my friend Beverly. It’s beautiful. It’s the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf. It’s made of Ella Rae Lace Merino, a yummy superwash fingering weight yarn. There were some other goodies in my box as well. There was the cutest little pin, a yarn dot it was called, that says, "Shut up I'm counting!" and some awesome knitting ball knitting needle point protectors that made me laugh.
My secret scarf package!
Easy Drop Sticth scarf from my friend Beverly.
A Yarn Dot!
Point protectors that look like balls of yarn!
What a fun surprise to come home to!

Our last goodbye to what we know, 
We’ll pack our bags and hit the road…