Saturday, Dec. 29th
I suggested shopping in Darmstadt this day and Thomas agreed. He’s good that way – he doesn't mind going shopping with me and holding all my bags. Have I mentioned he’s an awesome boyfriend? No? Well, he is!
I slept in and we caught the bus/train combo to Darmstadt arriving around 1 in the afternoon. Darmstadt has a large shopping area called Marktplatz. We wandered the stores there including the European version of the dollar store and TK Maxx, which is basically Germany’s TJ Maxx. Thomas found a pair of shoes there for a great price. We then decided on lunch and had some Thai food at a place called Bubblo. It was not very good. Thomas had a noodle/beef combo that was filled with salad at the bottom. It was a rather odd combination of food and didn't make for a very good taste. I had chicken and rice, which was good. I gave the vegetables to Thomas. I don’t like to eat stir-fried vegetables generally, but Thomas loves them so I always give what I don’t want to him. It works out well.
After lunch, we did some more shopping. I picked up a couple of small things for some friends and we then scouted out Eis Cafes in search of my very favorite ice cream, Spaghetti Eis. We found two Eis Cafes, both of which were closed. I was still hungry after lunch since I didn't eat a lot so we found a place with schnitzel and potatoes. It was OK, but not the best schnitzel I've ever had. I've eaten so much schnitzel recently that I’m becoming quite a connoisseur of it. So far, the best I've found was in the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (train station). You just never know where you’ll find great food.
We had some time before we needed to catch our bus home so we went over a bridge to the library, which had a great metal sculpture outside it. There were also some castle ruins just outside the library. History is everywhere in Germany!
We spotted an ice cream shop. They had no spaghetti eis, but they did have some other good ice cream so we both got some and sat in the park watching the kids play for a few minutes before we headed back over the bridge to the bus stop. We still had some time and it was cold so we went to a café and I had some hot chocolate while Thomas had some tea. It was a good way to warm up and wait for the bus.
After we got home, we watched TV and talked before heading to bed. It was a good day of shopping.
Sunday, Dec. 30th
One of Thomas’s friends picked us up in the morning and we did a little sightseeing by car before heading to a nice restaurant. I had a great steak and potato lunch while Thomas had schnitzel. We then went to Schloß Auerbach, a local castle. It was really amazing. We walked around the castle taking photos and climbed to the top of the tower. It was very windy and cold, but we had a good time. You can’t find history like that in America. We have our own brand of history, which is just as good in many ways, but it is amazing to see the ruins of places people lived centuries ago.
After viewing the castle ruins, we headed home and had some tea. We talked and rested, watched TV and just relaxed. It was a good way to end the weekend.
Monday – New Years Eve, Dec. 31st
We went to the post office in the morning so I could mail my post cards. Unfortunately, they were only open until 11:30 and we arrived at 11:40. Oh well, such is life. Thomas will mail my postcards for me on Thursday. We then headed to the store to pick up some grocery items.
Thomas made banana bread and we had some of that for lunch/snack before heading to dinner later in the evening. We had decided to have our favorite food, the döner, for dinner. We went to the döner restaurant and had a lovely candlelit, romantic dinner. We were the only people in the restaurant so that was nice.
We went home to rest before going up the hill so we could view the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the three surrounding towns. Thomas had some of his own fireworks to set off as well so we had fun with that. We started off for the hill around 11:40 and made it about five minutes before midnight. We met some other people who had the same idea. They had some fireworks so we watched theirs, set off ours, and saw the show put on by the surrounding town. It was fantastic, really beautiful to see!
We headed home, I had some tea and banana bread and we relaxed a bit before going to bed very late.
Tuesday – New Year’s Day, Jan. 1st
My last full day in Germany. I always get depressed on the last day. It’s hard to leave Thomas, although we will see each other again soon. Still, we miss each other terribly so we made the last day one of rest and spending all the time together we could.
Thomas showed me the Wii Personal Training Program he has. Wow, that looked so hard! Don’t know if I could do it on a regular basis. I’m sure I could with some practice, but it would definitely take a lot of time.
I started packing some of my things in the evening and we looked up the schedule for the bus/train to get to the airport. I had to be at the airport at 6:15 a.m., which meant we had to leave around 4:30 in the morning. I couldn't sleep and finally fell asleep around 2:45. I had to get up at 3:45 so the morning was rough.
Wednesday – Jan. 2nd
Thomas and I got up early and he made me some tea and toast while I finished my packing. We were out the door and going down the slick, icy streets about 4:30. The bus came at 4:36. We got off the bus in Reinheim, caught the train to Darmstadt, and then took another bus to the airport. It’s sometimes complicated getting where you need to go, but I must say the public transportation is amazing in Germany. It may take some time, but you can get wherever you need to be.
We arrived at the airport and Thomas stayed with me while I checked my bag. We then had to say our goodbyes, which is always hard for us both. I don’t even like to call it goodbye, I refer to it as “see you soon” because we will see each other soon and it’s helpful for us both to remember that when we have to part.
I wandered around the airport and picked up a couple of souvenirs for some friends, hopped on the Internet quickly before going through security. I got a cookie and some hot chocolate before sitting down and waiting for my flight. My first flight went from Frankfurt to London and took about one hour and 10 minutes. I had roughly a 90 minute wait in London. I had to take a bus to the right terminal so that took up some time. I laid down on some benches for about 20 minutes and got a bit of rest. I looked through some of the shops and bought a sandwich and some chips as well as a Mountain Dew Energy, which apparently has more caffeine than the standard Mountain Dew. Because that’s totally necessary what with Mountain Dew not having enough (side note for those who don’t know – Mt. Dew has the most caffeine of any soda on the market).
Finally, it was time to board the plane. I got on and got situated for the 10-hour flight. Based on the departure and arrival times, I thought it would be an 11-hour flight, but the captain announced that it would be 10 hours. One hour may not seem like a big deal, but when you're trapped in a steel tube with hundreds of other people, believe me, it matters!
And that brings us up to date. I am writing this in the airplane. I will post it when I am in Houston. I touch down in Houston in about four hours. I will drive myself home and be a bit morose for a couple of days because I miss Thomas. But I remember that I will see him again soon and then I feel better. I also have some fun things coming up in the next couple of weeks. So that helps too. Auf Wiedersehen Germany, thanks for the great time as always! See you soon!