Saturday, April 12, 2008
- Well, we're back from our Spring Break excursion into the Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian forest). It went remarkably well. We'd initially planned on taking Diva to Carl's mom's on Saturday, but after consulting with the map, we decided it would save time overall to drop her off on the way, sparing us the 4-hour round trip on Saturday that could be better used for packing.
- Turns out I was the one doing the packing--Carl went shopping instead. Which wasn't all that terribly surprising. Besides, his shopping turned out to be quite advantageous: he bought a navigation system. He'd checked the PX first, but they only carry high-end systems, with a lot of features we wouldn't use (and didn't particularly want to pay for). So he went to Saturn (not unlike a Circuit City) and came back with one that did everything we wanted it to. I christened it Frances.
- We actually packed Moby Saturday night and left home in a timely manner on Sunday, arriving at Carl's mom's where she fed us spaghetti and demonstrated her new coffee machine before we said good-bye to them and Diva and went on our way. Frances proved remarkably accurate in her time estimates, and we arrived at Ferienpark Jägerwiesen , where we'd rented a vacation house, well in advance of the 6 p.m. check-in deadline.
- We were fairly tired from the driving, so I directed the unpacking, then we asked Frances to find us somewhere to eat dinner. We ended up with a great traditionally Bavarian restaurant in Waldkirchen, where we stuffed ourselves with great food, then went back to the house and played the Settlers of Catan board game that I'd bought specifically for the trip. Everybody loved it, even Carl, who's not generally a fan of board games.
- The next morning, we woke up to snow. Lots of it, blowing around and storming. We started envisioning a week holed up in the house, playing games (in addition to the one we brought, the house also had Monopoly, Anti-Monopoly, Clue, and a couple of other games) and watching the DVDs we'd brought--Torchwood and the first season of Quantum Leap.
By the time we were done with lunch, it had stopped blowing, the sun was coming out, and we asked Frances to find us an Esso station. (Note: U.S. forces in Germany get gas coupons, which allow us to pay $3.45 a gallon for gas instead of the $8.50 Germans pay at the current exchange rate. The catch is that coupons are generally only good at Esso stations.) It was the one time Frances let us down--the closest Esso she could find was now a car dealership, and the next closest was another 15-minute drive away.
- Once Moby was full, we asked Frances where the nearest attractions were, and decided on the Museumsdorf Bayerischer Wald (museum village in the Bavarian forest) . It was great. We were the only visitors there, and could poke around as much as we liked. Most of the houses and exhibits were from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there were a few that were older and newer.
- After spending the day out in the cold, we went back to Waldkirchen and had dinner at a Greek restaurant. By the time we got back to the house, we were too tired to play a game, so we decided to watch a DVD. Oddly, the TV had no in-out jacks, so we huddled around the tiny portable DVD player and watched the "Random Shoes" episode of Torchwood. Good episode, though we're increasingly mystified by the Anita-Blake-ish-ness of Gwen (all men love her, apparently), who we really, really dislike. One or the other of us will make an attempt to cut her some slack--she's young, etc.--but it doesn't take long until she irritates the heck out of us again.
- Tuesday dawned sunny and gorgeous. Carl went for a run in the morning around the little lake at the vacation park; I did some Callanetics (my usual vacation exercise); the boys played videogames. We had lunch (tacos), then had Frances point us to Passau, which, if I'm not mistaken, is where the current Pope hails from. It was a perfect day for sightseeing--low 60s and sunny. We stayed in Passau for dinner, which we ate at a very cute but not very good Bavarian restaurant.
Back at the house, we were again tired, so we watched Torchwood again, this time "Out of Time," which was, quite frankly, rather dull. Unhappy with that one, we decided to watch another episode, reasoning that there wouldn't be two bad episodes back to back. "Combat" was better, but pretty much destroyed any residual liking we had for Gwen--not that there was much to begin with.
- Wednesday was another beautiful day, and we repeated the morning routine of exercise and lunch (spaghetti), this time leaving a little earlier to fit in two sightseeing destinations. First was the Gabreta Keltendorf (Gabreta Celtic village) . Here's a YouTube video of a fest there, which will show you the whole place: . As with the Bavarian village, we were the only visitors, and there were no performers or demonstrations, but it was a fun and fascinating recreation of a Celtic village in Bavaria (yes, the Celts did get this far into Europe) in the 3rd or 4th century BC.
After the village, we went to the Glasmuseum Frauenau (glass museum in Frauenau) . If there was anyone else visiting, we didn't see them. Nice timing this year of the kids' spring break--the German schools were all back from their Easter vacation, and the ski season was over, so we mostly had the place to ourselves. After the glass museum, we had Frances direct us to a nearby Chinese restaurant, which turned out to be excellent. I was very happy to find they had sweet & sour roast pork (rather than breaded--ick), and the sauce was spicy and not too sweet. Yum.
We didn't even try to convince ourselves we weren't too tired to play a game that night. We just put on the next-to-last episode of our Torchwood DVDs: "Captain Jack Harkness." Loved it. There was some half-hearted discussion about getting started packing, but we reasoned that a good night's sleep was a better plan. Plus, the key-keeper said not to worry about checkout time--unsurprising, as we were either the only renters there, or close to it.
- Thursday morning, Carl's snoring woke me up early (~7. I'd been sleeping until ~8.), so I took it as a sign and got up and had a leisurely breakfast of cereal, apple, and coffee, then got started packing. By the time Carl was out of the shower, I had almost everything packed up, and enlisted the boys in taking things out to Moby. The boys and Carl did the cleaning--Carl on dishes, Curran on the vacuum, and Camden on the bathrooms, just like at home--while I packed the car, and we were on the road at 10:30--amazing. I'm still patting my back over that one.
After about an hour on the road, it started raining and kept up until we got home. Stopped at McDonald's on the way, then went to Carl's mom's for a few hours, gave her the souvenir thank-you gift for watching Diva, and had some dinner (Bratwurst &/or Bockwurst, Brötchen, potato salad). We got home just before midnight, and managed to get Moby completely unloaded before crashing.
- A couple details about the trip I forgot to mention. The vacation house was quite nice, particularly for the price (€ 40 per day, about $63)--2.5 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a little kitchen with dishes, pots & pans, & appliances, TV, etc., etc. The second bedroom was for kids, unfortunately, and though there were two beds in it, they were too small for Curran, so he was stuck with the half-bedroom--basically a wide curtained hallway between the kids' bedroom and the living room.
It was also my first test of using just my ebook reader on a trip. I did bring along a paperback just in case, but though I read 3 books during the trip, I never had to recharge--in fact, it still has 3/4 of the battery left. I was pretty impressed.
And one more bit of praise for Frances: because she eliminated a lot of the stress from driving in a strange place, Carl was uncharacteristically relaxed even though we did a lot of driving on winding back roads. He's an excellent driver, but normally he does a lot of yelling at the traffic. Not so, this time. I don't know how we managed without her.
We took 226 pictures. I'm guessing there'll be one Thursday Thirteen for each of the places we visited. At least.
- Yesterday morning I woke up with a cold--probably due to the change in weather. We'd picked the best spot in Germany to vacation--the entire rest of the country had cold, rainy or snowy weather all week except for southeastern Bavaria. Carl had to work (which is why we came back on Thursday--he had a meeting about the upcoming JCAHO accreditation surveys). I did a ton of laundry and made a stab at catching up on my email. The VIN for the Mercedes finally came, so Carl was able to finalize the loan and get payment sent to the Canadian PX (US Mercedes sales are handled through the Canadian PX--don't ask me why), hopefully in time so we'll still be able to pick it up in Stuttgart before Carl's completely tied up with JCAHO.
- Today when I woke up, it felt like my head was twice its normal size. Fun. I've gone through about a box and a half of tissues. Carl and the boys are off to the Tierpark (animal park--I know I've posted about it before, but I can't remember its name now, so can't find a link). We're planning on seeing Over Her Dead Body tonight--it doesn't have very good reviews, so hopefully there won't be too many people in the theater to be annoyed if I'm blowing my nose constantly.
- As for the depression I mentioned last week--this vacation was a good distraction, though I know I still have to work on it. It's interesting: I'd always thought of depression as feeling that your life sucks. And that's not at all the case--I think I've got a wonderful life. Great husband, fabulous kids who all love me. I just don't think I deserve it, and have a terrible tendency to tell myself "you're a horrible person" several times a day. Like I said, I'm working on it.
Categories: WeekendUpdate, AboutMe
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