Friday, May 10, 2013

The Rain and the Dentist Won't Stop Us

May 10, 2013 –Day39- Munich, Germany
The Rain and the Dentist Won't Stop Us
We always said that this would be a great adventure – not a vacation – and it has been.  After nearly 40 days of being totally inseparable, we have had our little /big spats, but we are still glad that we decided to do this.  This past week has been a week of challenges.  When we last posted, we were in Koln, Germany, eating bratwurst.  Sunday night, May 5, neither of us slept well.  We have discovered that even though the hotels have been perfect about wake-up calls, we still don’t sleep well if we have to get up early to make a connection.  We walked to the train station at 7:15 a.m. so that we could catch the 7:53 train to Koblenz where we planned to take the 11:00 am Rhein River Cruise.  The cruise was fabulous.  Five and a half hours of castle after castle on a picture perfect sunny day.  We drank wine and ate lunch on the top deck as the KD Rhine Schiff lazily sailed down the river until we got off the boat in Rudesheim – a postcard village of a town where we had planned to stay the night before heading to Heidelberg.

Then things went a little south.  We couldn’t find a taxi or a TI (Tourist Information), so we had to rely
on asking people.  They got us to Wilhelmstrasse where the Hotel Rose was located, and we were staring at a straight up hill that we had to climb with our luggage.  Bill and I both do ok on straight pavement – we can walk for several hours.  Downhill doesn’t bother us a bit – but stairs and uphill climbs do us in. 

We both have back trouble; I have a bad left knee; and Bill has asthma.  We did it anyway, but by the time we opened the door to the hotel, we both looked pretty bad.  Ellen and Joseph Bertram took one look at us – poured us water and started waiting on us hand and foot.  Unbeknownst to us, if we had e-mailed them and told them we were arriving by boat, they would have met us at the dock in their car. 
New lesson – always e-mail the hotel and ask them the best way to get there. 

I was tired and Bill was exhausted and neither one of us was in the mood to think about going to Heidelberg the next day.  We decided to stay in Rudesheim for three days before going on to Munich.  It was a great decision.  We had dinner at a nice restaurant that Ellen recommended and then, the next day, we went by cable car to the Niederwald Monument with its 114 foot high statue of Germania.  Rudesheim is also wine country so we sampled some great Riesling.  The high point of the trip for me, however, was when I went downstairs on our second evening to check e-mail (sometimes wifi is available in the rooms, and sometimes it’s not).  Ellen, who doesn’t speak much English, and I, whose German is passable at best, started talking and had the most wonderful conversation.  We talked for a couple of hours using gestures and Google translator until Bill had to come and find me.  In those few short moments, I felt like I made a friend for life.  

The next day, we just walked around Rudesheim and did some shopping, had lunch, and talked to a lovely British tour guide who has our dream job.  That night – Bill had a bad case of stomach something or other, and it was not a pleasant night. 

The Hotel Rose is lovely, and we were sorry to leave.  The next morning, we began our trek to Munich:
Joseph drove us to the train station where we took a train to Frankfurt, then another train to the airport, then a plane to the Munich airport, than another train to the Munich train station, and then we walked four blocks to the hotel.  I goofed on this hotel.  When making hotel reservations in Europe, you have to be careful to be sure of what you are getting.  In this case, I mistakenly booked a room with a private shower, but with the toilet across the hall.  Not good for someone recovering from Montezuma’s revenge.  Luckily, Bill’s tummy has settled down, and he feels much better.

I forgot to mention our other challenge – on the plane from Frankfurt to Munich, Bill lost a crown.  We were able to recover it, but we were terrified.  We had heard some really bad tales of German dentists, and we didn’t know what to expect.  Our first day in Munich was a bank holiday (Europe has lots of those – I think this is the third one since we left on April 2).  The next day we went to the dentist with fear and trembling.  Wonder of wonders – we had the most wonderful dentist.  He spoke excellent English; he was funny; and our invoice came to 60.70 Euros.  We thought we would be spending hundreds of dollars.  Then we went to buy a cell phone (they call them Handys in Germany), and we are now figuring out how to use it so that we can call our German friends when we go to Berlin next week. 

Munich has been wet, cold, and rainy.  We would hate it if it weren’t one of our all- time favorite cities (my fifth visit, Bill’s third).  We went shopping to get new tennis shoes for me since I already have worn a hole in the ones that I brought, and then stopped at one of our all- time favorite restaurants – the Rathskeller on Marienplatz.  All in all, not a bad day – and hopefully, an end to a challenging week.  It will probably rain all day tomorrow, but we will walk to the Munich Hauptbahnhof ( Main Train Station) – decide when to travel to Salzburg on Sunday and eat a Turkish Doner – a sandwich that our good friend Denise introduced us to when we visited her in Berlin.  Still owe you stuff from Paris and Amsterdam, but we hope you enjoy our latest pictures of the Rhein, Rudesheim, and our Munich dentist.
By the way, even in the rain, there are people everywhere having a good time.  And that includes us – a little rain and a tooth emergency isn’t enough to slow us down.

First Group of Pictures - The Amazing Rhein

Statue of the Loreley - The real Loreley are the cliffs around the bend. 

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