guten tag!

I’m going to begin with this:

DSC_0600

Isn’t it simply beautiful?  The quaint German town of Cochem nestled peacefully on the banks of the Mosel River.  Steep rows of grapes line the sides of the valley while authentic restaurants and shops fill the town, the Cochem Castle perched protectively above it all.  It’s where we spent our first night in Germany and was so worth the exhausting travel to get there.  If only we got to begin with that…

Mom, Cameron, and I left Olympia at 3:00 am on Wednesday morning (thanks for driving us to the airport at that ungodly hour G&P!).  Dad was already in Indianapolis  for a meeting so his flight plan was a bit different.  After arriving at SeaTac, we were able to convince the gal at the United counter to check all three of our bags all the way through to Paris for free – an early morning win! 🙂 Made our way through security, stopped for the first Starbucks of the day and were soon on our way to Chicago!  3 hours and 45 minutes later, we landed in the Windy City.  As our first flight was domestic and the second international we needed to switch terminals requiring a classic ricky Chicago train ride (reminded me of the L train ride of a few years past!) and another pass through security.  We had a few hours of the layover left to kill before we needed to board our Are Lingus flight to Dublin so we wandered through the duty free shopping, found some band-aids, got some grub, tried to sleep bit, and got ready for the long haul across the Atlantic.  Dad meanwhile was venturing from Indy to Chicago where we almosssttt met up but his flight was late getting in so there wasn’t enough time before we needed to board.  We all left Chicago late Wednesday afternoon- the three of us for Dublin and he for Paris.

One international flight, a couple of meals (Irish beef stew w/ peas, and ham croissant), few shaky hours of sleep, we watched the Thursday morning sun come up over Dublin, Ireland.

Another layover, another Starbucks stop, another pass through security as we switched terminals (that’s THREE today for all y’all out there keeping track), and a first trip through Irish Customs (Cameron’s first passport stamp!!).  The shopping through the terminal was a fun reminder of our last international voyage to the UK; the familiarity of Boots, a cup of porridge for breakfast, and the sunny attitudes of the Irish people.  FINALY we boarded our last flight – Air France to Paris.  We were all so exhausted we were asleep before take off and bounced awake by the landing.  Welcomed by a beautiful Paris day – 28 degrees C and warm air was wonderful to walk off the plane too.  Our little puddle jumper flight landed in the middle of the airport, not near a terminal so we were bussed in to the terminal.  A second passport stamp was achieved and thankfully I remembered how to say parlez-vous anglais s’il vous plait Bleary eyed and dead tired we collected our baggage and somehow (miraculously) met Dad right outside the exit.

Edging on mid afternoon on Thursday in Paris, our journey was’t yet over for the “day” (we had no concept of what time it was here or home, there or where…!).  We collected our rental car, got the GPS translated into English, and hit the road.  Shortly after leaving the airport, the tummy started growling so we stopped off for a quick McD bite.  As we waited, Cameron and I wandered through the neighboring shopping – a strip mall type center that was just shopping for locals.  We use the nifty iPad app that lets us hold it up to any text or signs and it translates it on the fly for you – it certainly wasn’t perfect but it did an incredible job of giving us a great general idea of the sign or text.  Ahhh modern technology.  I <3 you.  Not many spoke any English but we got a kick our of the fact they were selling ostrich in the pet store!  New things.

We got back on the road (much easier for Daddy this time – he has to drive a stick but at least he is on the proper side of the road/car!).  C and I promptly fell asleep as we drove another five hours through Luxembourg and into Germany.  The Germany countryside looks comforting familiar, transitioning between landscapes that remind me of Eastern Washington to those that I drove by at home a few days ago.  The small villages are incredibly quaint and just quintessentially European!  (Side note, Leavenworth didn’t do a half-bad job at attempting a German village)

Finally arriving in Cochem, we checked into our hotel and I’m certain we delighted the group of people-watching German men smoking and gossiping on the porch.  Dad, Cameron, and I left a jet-lagged and motion sick mamma in Room 11 to venture out into Cochem for some late night wandering.  The town was a beautiful juxtaposition of bustling yet peaceful.  There was a life size chess board on the banks of the river, lights strung across the awnings of all the restaurants, many people eating on patios, and shops that climbed up the hill.  We wandered and enjoyed before sitting down to a meal of beer and delicious schnitzel.  Dad and I with cheese and tomato, Cameron with mushroom.

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{our hotel for the night}

SAM_0542{hidden square – note the people watchers at the cafe!}

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{the alleys between the shops never run straight and seem to twist and turn up the hill forever}

SAM_0540{beautiful storefront}


DSC_0612{Dad and Cameron’s first German beer}

{loving the subtle culture differences – like the different sounds of sirens}

DSC_0618{our restaurant as we were leaving}

DSC_0620{the entire city is art – the buildings, the shops, the squares}

By the end of the “day” we had traveled 6,280 miles, been awake for 38 hours, battled three security and two customs check points, been through five countries, and enjoyed some darn good schnitzel.  Tomorrow it was onto Cologne!

DSC_0629{saying goodbye to Cochem}