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We're off to see the Wizard!





newsoft
There were a few things that Bonney and Joe (Chris' parents) noticed when they got off the plane in Stuttgart, Germany. First, Chris wasn't there. Long story, but when he did arrive to pick them up, they were thrown right into German culture. They arrived in a place that is little traveled by visitors, so they saw first-hand the behind the scenes life in Germany. We enjoyed a beer on the Neckar, had sauerkraut, and of course, what Joe and Bonney had been looking forward to, a giant German pretzel.

The next thing they discovered is that the German language is often a funny sounding-- but their son could speak it very well. They learned the "ja's" and "danke's", but usually it was up to Chris to take on the big stuff. And because English is a Germanic language, often the words made sense. Other times, words that we associate with Germany, such as the city named Munich, is not Munich at all in German. Instead, it is Munchen, which Joe thought looked like Munchkin, so that rest of the trip, we were going to Munchkin-land. (Note: the little bear is NOT a Munch-kin!)

The third thing that was learned about German people, however, is that they are not Munchkins at all, but in fact really brilliant people. There were tons of things that we saw that were 'small' devices or ideas that make life so much easier and efficient! For instance: escalators that go one way, but also stop and go the other direction when prompted. Automatic lights in stairways and hallways that turn on when they sense movement to save electricity. Parking garages that need a ticket inserted to open the door to protect people's cars. And hand-held credit card machines that come to dinner table for easy debit card withdrawls. That last one was used a lot. Smile

Finally, something that was very different from home were all the castles. A castles is called a "schloss" (pronounced 'sh-loss') in German. Ask Bonney and Joe to pernounce it if you see them- I think they've got it. We saw schloss' all over the German countryside. Starting off at Neuschwanstein and Hohenswangau (also seen in Florida and Californica, but this one is much cooler!), then moving down to a major castle in Salzburg, and finally seeing castle after castle while driving down the Rhein valley. The one in the picture is the Berg Eltz. While we were driving, we had to be prepared with camera at hand to get another picture of a great castle that was randomly sitting on a hillside.
There were more firsts for all of us. The longest tunnel we have ever been in while we were in Austria. It must have been about 5 miles long. Going through the tiny country of Liechtenstein. That country must have been about 5 miles long, too! Eating meatloaf that was actually a slice of thick ham (see above) and hot dogs that were actually beef wurst in a crispy piece of bread. And beer at the Hopfbrauhaus that did not come in glasses, but only in huge liters. There were many firsts on this trip to Germany, and many things that we will soon not forget. Very Happy
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