Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Germany- Day 4

Holly- This post is for you!!! It's really long and I will call and quiz you later to see if you read it all!

So, I'll begin by saying that halfway into Day 4 of our trip, I was convinced that God DID NOT want the Doyals going to Munich. It seemed that everything that could have gone wrong DID go wrong- and I took that as a sign! But we went anyway- and loved it- and lived to tell the tale! Here it goes...

After David completed his work at the factory, our plan was to rent a car and drive to Munich for the next two days. That plan turned out to be not so easy! We woke up that morning and went downstairs to get our car (we requested a BMW with an American-speaking GPS). When we got downstairs we were met with a tiny hatchback Ford with a GPS that even the car guy couldn't figure out! It was hooked up to the radio and you had to turn the radio knobs to scroll through the alphabet and find each letter to spell out the name of your destination (which- I might add- was the German spelling of the cities and not what we would have entered). So we got a little scared and decided that a 4-hour trip to Munich in this car was not in the cards for us. If we would have rented this car, I think we would still be lost somewhere in the Alps!!!
So...we decided to take the train, but then called that plan off when we found out it would be about $500!

Back to the drawing board...I decided to look up directions on Mapquest- surely Mapquest could get us there! But the directions on the Autobahn seemed very confusing. Lost in the Alps again!

What to do? One of David's friends came downstairs and suggested that we buy a GPS and use that. Finally- a good idea!!! We called the rental company back and the same guy (we were so embarassed!) delivered out new car- an Opal! David went and bought a Garmin and we were ready to go!

Opal + Garmin = LOVE
But no! Still more trouble! When we got in the car- we realized that the cigarette lighter's fuse was blown so we couldn't plug in the GPS to charge it! At this point I was sure God did not want us going to Munich! So my mechanic husband gets out the car's manual and (with the help from a really sweet lady from the desk who could read German) replaced the fuse. He traded it with the fuse from my passenger window- so all my pictures from inside the car were looking through a window I couldn't roll down.
FINALLY- with our precious GPS up and running- we were Autobahn bound!
Interesting facts about the Autobahn:
  • It's a very clean and well-maintained road. Not like those great Louisiana roads!
  • People drive REALLY fast. There are portions with speed limits and places where there is no limit. When there was no limit, those cars were passing our Opal like nobody's business. We drove as fast as the Opal would go (which turned out to be about 120mph- I know David would have liked to go MUCH faster!)
  • There's no shoulder on the road so when there's accidents, all traffic stops! We experienced this a few times and our 4-hour trip turned into about 6 or 7 hours. (Hello Doyals! It's me- God! I told you to turn around but you wouldn't listen to me!)
We stopped for lunch in a little town called Wurzburg. It had some beautiful architecture.
This church really creeped me out- it was beautiful from a distance...

but a closer view revealed some scary skeletons hanging out with cherubs.

We finally made it to Munich! YEA!!! And we were so excited to check into our hotel and do some sightseeing (in the dark since we made it there so late!). As luck would have it, the man at the desk informed us that our reservation was made for the night before and because we didn't show up, we were charged as a no-show. At this point I was almost in tears and I dragged my pitiful self to the counter and gave this guy our sob story! Something must have worked because he was nice enough to not charge us and give us a room for that night.

WOW- what a day! And just to let you know- our bad luck ran out so you won't have to listen to my sob story anymore!

That evening we went to dinner at the Hofbrauhaus- the most famous and largest beer pub in the world. It's over 400 years old! Very authentic- the waitors and waitresses were all dressed in their old German clothes and they had a German band. Of course- David really enjoyed the beer!

We spent the rest of the evening walking around the old town area. It really reminded me of New York City- with lots of people and very commercialized. What I found extremely interesting was that these old (1400s) buildings were still in tact but had strip mall shopping in the bottom floors.

We visited the famous Town Hall that houses the glockenspiel clock. We didn't get to see the clock in motion- which I've heard is really cool- but the building was amazing. Incredibly ornate!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Germany- Day 3

Our third day began with of lots of rain and so Sue Ellen and I decided to stay nearby in Frankfurt. We started the morning at the Communication Museum, which was actually very cool. Here's some things we saw!

Sheep made from telephones and phone cords. Clever!

One of the first models of television (1929)- made by Telefunken (I love that name!)

Actual telegraph message from the Titanic to announce its sinking. The message has coordinates and then reads, "Sinking- wants immediate assistance"

clay tablet in cuneiform from 2200 BC

After a delicious lunch in a German cafe, we walked to the Frankfurt Opera House. It was under construction, but still very cool. Something I found really interesting about Germany was- when they're doing construction/remodeling on a building (and there was construction all over the place!) they always put up plastic sheeting to hide the work. But what's cool is the plastic sheeting is made to look like the completed facade of the building- if you squint, you can't tell what's actually building and what's plastic. Pretty cool!

Germany- Day 2

On the second day of our Germany trip, the wife of another distributor- Sue Ellen- and I went to Weisbaden. Unfortunately David had my camera at the plant. I did take some pics with my phone, but haven't uploaded them yet.
Here's a few photos of the Siemens factory where David was. They were doing product testing on some huge machines- you can see the pallets in the picture. Each huge pallet had one switchgear machine on it and they had 8 of these things. They were enormous.

Also- here's a photo of the employee lounge at the factory (complete with open bar!). David was very impressed at how clean and upscale the factory was. I would have loved to have a lounge like this when I was a teacher!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Germany Trip- Day 1

A few weeks ago, David and I were able to travel to Germany for a week. He had work there for a few days and we decided to stay some extra time and go sightseeing. It's always been a dream of ours to travel to Europe- and because of David's work, we were actually able to afford it.
The next few posts will be a day-by-day look at what we did. I know I will be including TONS of pictures- believe it or not, these are only a snippet of what I took.
After a VERY long plane ride- I now see why people pay good money for first class- we arrived in Frankfurt (our home base for the week). We flew into the Frankfurt airport- the second-largest airport in Europe(behind London's Heathrow). We were very lucky to have one of David's distributors (he's been to Frankfurt way too many times to count!) there with us and he gave us a highlight tour of the city that day.
We took the S-Bahn train to the historic downtown area. I loved the old German architecture! Most of this was destroyed by the war, but I love how they rebuilt things the way they looked before. These buildings were in Romerberg- the central square in Frankfurt.

We went to lunch in the Sachsenhausen district. This is a suburb famous for authentic German eateries. We ate at Adolph Wagners and had the Frankfurt Platter- pretty much the largest plate of pork you have ever seen accompanied by potatoes and sauerkraut. Definitely a traditional German meal. We also drank some Ebbelwoi (apple wine) that was very tasty. Sorry I have no picture of this food as it was definitely a photo-op!
We visited the Roman Ruins in the courtyard area of the Dom Romer. These ruins of a Roman settlement and bathhouse date back to appx600 AD (I'll have to double check my facts). They were built on top of and actually not discovered until after the destruction of the war.
From there we went to the Dom Romer (Saint Barthomeus' Cathedral). This is a large tourist attraction and one of many cathedrals we visited on our trip. It was built in Gothic style in the 14th century.
I wish the colors would have come out on this picture because it was a beautiful sight of a crucifix backed by some beautiful stained glass windows.
These are without a doubt my two favotite pics from the trip. Might I say- a camera on manual without a flash can do wonders for an average-looking night sky!

Seriously??? Even our hotel was beautiful!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dancing Queen!

Oh my goodness- this was so funny and I wish you were all here with me to see Miss Priss dance like a ballerina. Her YaYa got her this leotard and we paired it with some tights and her tutu skirt from her first birthday. She's actually got some good moves!

My pretty princess ballerina!

Isn't this like first position or something???

We don't have any ballet shoes- but high heels work just fine!

At this point the delirium set in... we put the skirt on as a hat. She's such a little ham!

So what do you do when you're finished dancing? Wash windows in your leotard, of course! (No this isn't child labor- she wanted to do it...I promise!)