Tuesday, October 2, 2018

August 29, 2018, arrived back in Koblenz in Wee Hours of the Morning

We took a late train back to Koblenz from Berlin.  We were 20 minutes late getting into Koln, then our connecting train was 20 minutes late, so we were running 40 minutes late. Got back to Koblenz around 1 a.m.  Then we could not get Mary's car out of the parking garage.  We were already exhausted.  The machine, in the parking garage, would not take Mary's credit card.  Went to another machine on the other end of the parking garage.  The credit card slot was sealed up.  She had some Euros, but it only took low denominations, so she ran out of her cash.  She needed to pay 45 Euros.  She had fed the machine 35 Euros, then she ran back upstairs and into the train station, to the ATM, and got more cash.  While she was gone the machine timed-out and spit out a receipt for 35 Euros.  She came back and put her ticket in the machine and it said she owed 45 Euros.  She managed to feed it 35 more Euros, before it would not take more of her money.  She ran back to the ATM and again the machine timed out and spit out a receipt for 35 Euros.  She has, now, paid 70 Euros, but it won't validate her ticket to allow us to escape the parking garage.  We had already use the phone down there, but nobody answered, and we used the big buzzer and nobody answered.  We looked to see if there was switch somewhere, that would open the gate.  We tried to see if we could get another ticket at the entrance, but it would not give us one.  Mary and I went to find the station police.  They came down and checked out the situation.  The young policeman asked Mary if she didn't want to try spending even more money on the situation, which was not much help.  The older policeman, went back to the office and got his car keys, then he drove his car out and back down the ramp.  He got a new ticket and gave it to Mary.  If you leave within 5 minutes of getting the ticket, there is no charge.  Free at last!  It was 2:30 in the morning and we only saw two other vehicles on the road out of Koblenz.   Pete was asleep in the backseat, and I was trying to keep Mary company in the front seat.  I would nod off, then wake up and say, "Are you okay?"  Mary would say, "Yes, Mom."  I must have done that about 15 times.  Boy, were we all glad to be back in Clausen.  It was around 4 a.m.  We all slept in late.
      We finally decided to go out to lunch at the Greek Restaurant in Wittlich, which was closed on Tuesday, the week before, as it was their "day of rest".   It turned out to be closed on Wednesday, August 29, for some other reason.  Blah!!
 We went and ate at the cafeteria at the home improvement store there (sorry I cannot remember the name of it).  I managed a decent gluten free salad, and nobody starved.  Mary did take a different direction when leaving the Greek place, and finally found the fabric store, she had seen on some other occasion, long ago, in Wittlich.
It was a small shop, but they had a load of cool stuff.  They sell sewing machines, had a classroom, lots of knits and sweatshirt fabrics, drapery fabrics, and my favorite cottons/quilting cottons.  Mary bought some nice cat drapery fabric to make curtains for two of the dormers at her place in Clausen.  I bought about 3 yards of fabric and some zippers and colorful elastic.  You gotta get the colorful elastic, wherever you find it!
     Then, we went back to peaceful, beautiful Clausen, where Mary drug out her sewing machine.  We plugged in that two-ton adapter, so we could plug in her iron and sewing machine.  She made one curtain for her upper dormer window.  It turned out fab!  It was so relaxing just hanging out at her place.
This is the little café/store across the street from Mary's place.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Spent Today In Berlin

We arrived in Berlin yesterday afternoon. We had a little difficulty finding the local train, but after walking a thousand steps up, down, and around we finally made it to our hotel.  Very nice hotel Mary picked for us.
RIU Hotel, very nice
 We took the Underground and walked a few blocks to the Berlin Wall.  We saw the Mall  of Berlin, some cool old cars, and some interesting buildings.  We visited the Berlin Wall, which made a big impression on each of us.
 




 We walked around a little, then we went to the Mall of Berlin.  It was more awesome than any mall in Idaho.  We found frozen yogurt, yeah! We had a good explore through Toys R Us, where Mary found good stuff and Pete bought me an 18” doll.  She is fabulous! As we were leaving, at 9 pm, all three of us spotted the same store; Pete saw the word ‘krepes’ and thought of Mary and her crepe addiction; Mary actually saw sewing machines and thought of me and sewing; I saw the big word ‘Fabrik’, and thought of me and my addiction.  They were actually selling tea. What?? The sewing machines were cut in half and used as decorations on the ends of the shelves.
They had carrousel horses hanging from the ceiling
and a big tube slide from the third floor. 

This was the only quilt I saw the entire time I was in Europe.
It is made of parts of jeans that are stuffed, apparently
advertising the different brands they sell.  This is Mall of Berlin.
It was a lovely warm evening, and we had finally figured out the underground and had good success at getting back to the hotel.
My 18" doll is just fabulous!  Mary thinks she is fabulous, too!
This morning, Mary found us a good place for breakfast, that had gluten free options and eggs for Pete. We strolled to Check Point Charlie, which was a major tourist trap, then on to the Natural History Museum, where we learned a lot about natural history. 
  Of course you know the Museums of Natural History are all filled full of things from the 'natural world' that have been 'collected'.  If they were alive, that means they were killed and stuffed or preserved in formaldehyde for people to study or observe.  The Berlin Museum of Natural History is pretty extensive: dinosaurs, insects, birds, fish, fossils, rocks, mammals, plants, etc.  Yes, polar bears, fleas, and peacocks!
Berlin Natural History Museum
Me and Rex.

Between the Underground (train) and our hotel was the most colorful place in Berlin, Delores Burritos.  I had to take a photo.
     We are currently on a train back to Koblenz.  We will spend tomorrow, in Klausen, relaxing and doing laundry. We are hoping to make our connection, in Koln, without incident. Right now, we are running 20 minutes late.  TTFN!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

In Hamburg Today!

We actually left Idaho on August 17. We arrived in London on August 18, where Mary met us at the airport.  We took the subway to London Bridge, London, which is the neighborhood we stayed in.  We were at Tooley Street, at an air b&b.  I took a nice nap, then we had dinner at Asian Mexican place; gluten free. Then we walked around and discovered some water features including the PWC at Hayes Galleria. We walked along the river and enjoyed the sights, including some old barges, bunting, boats, and tourists.  We continued on to the Tower Bridge and took the tour. What fun!

Two old barges
Tower Bridge
Girls taking selfies along the Thames.

You can go into the Tower Bridge and walk on the glass over the traffic
and pedestrians far below.  They had glass on the ceiling, for an interesting shot.
A wedding party going under the Tower Bridge.  We waved; they waved.
You can see all the people along the river edge, and The Shard catching the sunset.
We mosied back toward our digs, and stopped at a market, where we discovered gluten free food!  Back at our digs, I could see “The Schard” from my bedroom window. I slept with the window open every night; it was so pleasant.
view from my window
Sunday morning. Last night's crowd is gone.

Sunday morning Mary and I went back down to the Thames and walked passed the Tower Bridge to take photos of the bridge opening.  They were scheduled to do a test at 7 a.m. Sunday morning.  We had a good time mucking about and taking photos.  Found a Starbucks on a little cobble stone street, where I secured and iced Chai tea; so pleasant.  
We went back to the abb and got Pete, and went to breakfast at "The Breakfast Club", where they had this awesome chandelier light fixture that had glass fried egg shaped ornaments hanging from it.  Pete had the "full English breakfast" less the black pudding.  Then, we went to Kew Gardens.


It was really humid in the greenhouse, but you can see the lovely
layout of the flower gardens below
We walked and took photos. There was so much to see, but the weather was lovely and we had a wonderful time.

hidden orchid
 




We had a lovely time, except the “Tree Top Walk” was closed for maintenance. Blah! We got pretty worn out getting back to the Victoria Gate, and just laid down on the grass and took our shoes off for awhile. We laid there like slugs. We finally made it back to the train. We went to Piccadilly Circus, where Pete bought an adapter and Mary bought a London hoodie sweatshirt.



Monday we went to the London Eye; got their early so scouted out some breakfast at a fancy hotel restaurant in the government building very near by.  We rode on the Eye.  It moves real slow so you can see the city in all of it's glory.  You step into what I would call a large glassed-in capsule.
Then we walked across the bridge to the foot of Big Ben and proceeded on through town passed Westminster Abby, and finally found the tour Mary had purchased for us to Buckingham Palace with a follow-up of Tea at the Grosvenor.
The young English lady here really ripped me one, for taking a photo of the
inside of the palace, even though I was technically "in the garden" now.
 
View of where we exited the palace. It was lawn mowing day.
The royal lawn mower is a John Deer.
We had walked quite a ways, so it was a relief that we were riding a bus to Buckingham Palace.  At Buckingham Palace, where we were not allowed to sit on the furniture, not even the sixteen foot long red couch, and no photography was permitted. Blah! They would not let Pete use the royal biffy, either.  They gave us false hopes of being free to enjoy “the garden”, after we were out of the palace, but no.  It was roped off and we had to stay on the walkway.  We consoled ourselves by buying lots of chocolate in the royal gift shop and consuming it directly.  The chocolate sustained us while we walked to “Tea” at the Grosvenor Hotel.  Boy, were we refreshed!
     Since we ruined our dinner by having 'Tea" and biscuits (scones and other a sundry pastries) we decided to take the train back to Earl’s Court (weren’t we tired?), to find the TARDIS. We did find it!
The Train Station at Earl's Court


We took fun photos, and since I borrowed some cash, from Annita, I bought a special Dr. Who tote bag (for her) at the gift shop there. Pooped!
     Tuesday, we got up at the crack of omg, and went to catch the subway and much to our dismay the subway was closed! We walked back to the taxi stand and got a cab to the train station. We flew on Ryanair to Hahn, where Mary’s car was parked. We were way out in the country. It is really lovely here.  Klausen is wonderful little village. Mary’s place is Devine! We love it.
Mary took us around to Wittlich, Piesport on-the-Mosel, and Morbach.  We had so much fun at the Deschuets Telephone Museum at Morbach.
Thousands of rows of grapevines on the hillsides.  The little village
of Piesport lies below by The Mosel River.

Thursday, I had a quirky tummy most of the day, so Pete and Mary hung out and went to the commissary and bought goodies for dinner.  Mary got me some plantain chips, which were awesome!   Later, we went out to the Wittlich train station and go tickets to Hamburg. Yesterday we traveled for seven hours on the train; lovely time!  Last night Mary and I caught the bus to a souvenir shop, but we discovered it was a liquor store with a lingerie shop in the back.  Luckily we found the World of Souvenirs, just down the street.  It was cold outside, so I got a hoodie, and just in time to hike back to the bus stop and wait for our ride back to the hotel.
     FINALLY! Today, we went to Miniatur Wunderland.  It was awesome!  I did hit the saturation point after about four hours.  So much to see it becomes wee taddy bit overwhelming.  We did got there early, but so many other people came today’s, as well.

Area 51
 What a crowd! Not much elbow room.  I took a 'shit ton' of photos (Mary's word).  I randomly selected two for this post.  We got separated, but met up downstairs. Pete bought me two Fiat Pop 500s; one is 1:87 in size.  Then, we went to U434 down at the pier. Mary took a movie of me getting through the hatchway.  On to Berlin tomorrow! Gotta get up early!  TTFN!

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