Monday, December 08, 2014

Hello from Germany!

Well, yes, we're here. It's not been the most joyous of vacations so far, but we're in Germany, so how bad can it be?

We landed at Frankfurt Airport shortly after 7:00 last Thursday morning, collected our bags, and hopped a train from the long distance terminal at the airport to Singen, with a connection in Stuttgart. For those of you unfamiliar with train travel in Germany, let me just say that it's really the way to go ... unless you have to change trains in Stuttgart, where the station is undergoing a major reconstruction and there is no such thing as a "quick transfer" between trains. Our Inter-City express train from Frankfurt arrived on Track 15, and our connecting regional train left from Track 4, with ten minutes between trains ... the door of our connecting regional train literally closed on our backsides as we raced up and dived through.

The regional train, true to its name, stopped at every town between Stuttgart and Singen with a population of more than 3 (including dogs and cats), but by late afternoon we'd finally arrived and made it to Agnes's father's apartment. We visited there for a few hours, then hiked over to the Holiday Inn Express, where they automatically pulled out our registration form when we came in the door ... Agnes has stayed there so often in the last year that they automatically recognize her.

As luck would have it, this year Singen is having its first annual Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), and is having it on the Rathausplatz right in front of our hotel. The good news is that there's plenty of good food and drink available right outside. The bad news is that if one's hotel has a festival right in front, it tends to be pretty noisy. Happily (and for the first time in memory), our room is on the back side of the hotel, so we've been spared the worst of the Christmas revelry. We've briefly visited the Weihnachtsmarkt on two evenings, and have partaken happily of the Gluehwein (hot mulled wine), hot Bratwurst, and Schupfnudeln (a regional specialty consisting of stir-fried noodles with sauerkraut and bacon). I also tried (and can strongly recommend) some small sausages called "Schoko-Chili-Wurst" - dark sausages spiced with chili peppers and chocolate. It sounds terrible, but is REALLY good.

We've also visited with Agnes's cousin Bernadette and her husband Richard, who live in the nearby town of Aach. You may recall that they stayed with us for three weeks last October, and they're repaying our hospitality with some wonderful homemade dinners ... yesterday, Richard made an herb-crusted tenderloin of fresh venison with Spaetzle (noodles), mushroom sauce, and red cabbage. I could get used to that.

We will be spending another few days here before heading to the teeming megalopolis of Schwedelbach to see our son and the grandchildren and then finishing up in Reutlingen with a visit to  Agnes's cousin Anna and her husband.

And by the time all that's over, I'll probably be ready to go back to work to relax.

These relaxing vacations will be the death of me yet.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.



Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Have Fun relaxing! :-)

KathyA said...

Looking forward to getting together when you get home.

Pep said...

Sometimes, vacations are more exhausting than a busy day at work. I'm hoping to prove that on Friday in Disneyland. Jealous of the spaetzle but not the trains. Enjoy the fam and Merry Christmas!!

Mike said...

Just think, when you retire you can do this all the time!

Linda Kay said...

Running for a train is no fun. How fun to have the Marktplatz right outside your door for the festival.
We have been attending all kinds of Christmas celebrations, but we get to come back to a quiet neighborhood. Have fun and be safe!