Unvergesslichen Weihnachten

December 31, 2010Devon 2 Comments »

Where to begin? Nothing really interesting has been going on, hence the quiet blog. But now, I have Christmas to blog about. If you remember, I found out that my Christmas present from my mom this year was a trip to Germany for 7 days. On December 23, I went to work until 2pm. Once I got out, I finished up a lot of errands i’ve been putting off. The main errand was getting my car’s oil changed. After the change, the car mechanic told me I needed a new tire because I had a nail in the side wall. Of course, I over panicked thinking it was going to interfere with my driving down to Houston to catch our plane. After my small mini-heartattack, I figured I could drive down to College Station in the morning, drop my car off at the Mazda dealer, and then go to the airport in my mom’s car — which is exactly what I did. It was actually a good plan. One, I got a new tire, and two, they kept my car safe while I was away. Almost like a baby-sitter for my car.

December 24th at 9am I drove to College Station, then my mom and I drove to the Airport. Once we got to the airport and parked my mom’s car, we got on our plan to London. It was a 7 hour flight on a bowing 777. It was one of the nicest planes I have been on. Each seat had a mini-screen on the seat in front of it where you could watch any movie from a list of 100 or so. You could even watch TV shows, play video games, and more. My mom and I played a couple games of Battle Ship. Between the movies, games, and two hot meals, it was the fastest 7 hours ever.

December 25th we landed in London. All we did was go through customs then transferred to our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. It was a quick 1 hour flight. I slept the whole time — even turned down my free beverage. After we landed and went through customs in Germany, we headed to the airport’s train station. The last time I was in this train station was when I visited Germany after my graduation in May 2009. It was very neat to see the station in winter with all the snow on the glass — it gave it such a different feel. Our train was 40 minuets late, so while we waited my mom and I pulled out Euros from a Deutsche Bank ATM.

We arrived in Cologne at 9pm. The plan was to walk the 1/4 mile from the train station to our hotel but it was so cold and dark that we opted for a taxi. When we arrived at the hotel the lady at the checkin desk told us that our reservation was for a room with only one bed but we could upgrade to an executive suit (which included the mini-bar) for just 25 euros a night. We decided it was worth it. Once we got into our room we relaxed. I called my friend Dominik and we made plans to met at 10am. We went to bed around midnight. Total travel time (including driving down from Dallas and time change): 22 hours.

December 26th we met Dominik and his friends at 10am. They then drove us to Dominik’s Sister’s house for breakfast. It was nice to see Sara and her husband, Guido, again. They had a banquet of breads, cheeses, jams, spreads, and meats for us. Shari even had her first authentic german Gl&#252hwein. Guido told us that the Cologne zoo was having its 150th anniversary this weekend and the entrance was free. So Dominik, Patrick, Shari, and I went to the zoo. After the zoo, we went to dinner and got better introduced. While talking we discovered that we could get a car rental for cheap. Shari and I had planed on renting a car for 4 days and the cheapest we could find it for was around 160 Euros. But, Patrick told us he works for Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile for you American readers), and can rent cars for really cheap.

On December 27th, we went through Patrick’s work to rent a car. We got a car for 4 days for only 113 euros — Thanks Patrick! Dominik and Patrick even picked it up, chauffeured us around for the 4 days, and even dropped it off. Best car rental ever! Before taking a driving tour of Cologne, we went across the street from our hotel to the Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum). The museum has everything from where chocolate comes from, how it’s made, history, marketing, and even eating it. My mom agrees with me that the quality of European chocolate is vastly superior to that of any chocolate in the USA. Believe you me, having been to the Hershey factory in the USA, Americans over process our chocolate to death.

After the Chocolate museum we did a driving tour of Cologne and went to the Cathedral. After a tour on the inside of the Cathedral (and deciding not to climb the 529 steps to the top) we did a tour of the treasury. It’s amazing how much money the church has — and all the jewelry. It is so true, men had all the best jewelry in the past. I mean, come on, some of the precious stones where larger then my fist. For the rest of the day we went around Cologne and some of Bonn ending at an authentic german restaurant for dinner. We eat a fantastic meal and had a great conversation until we closed it down at 1 am. Then back to the hotel.

December 28th, Shari and I spent the day with just Dominik. We started at the
Römisch-Germanisches Museum (Roman-Germanic Museum). We spent over 5 hours walking the museum. The artifacts had german and english information but the english was only an 1/8th of what the german said. So, we really relied on Dominik to translate. By the end we were all exhausted — especially Dominik. We took a needed break and went to a cafe for some lunch. After, we did more touring, starting with the city hall and ending with another church. Around 7pm, Dominik and I dropped my mom off at the hotel. We then spent some alone time at an internet cafe for an hour or so. After, we went clubbing, had a few drinks, and talked about everything thats happened since we last saw each other over 18 months ago.

In the morning on December 29th, we picked up Patrick and my mom, and took a two hour drive to Aachen Germany. When I was on my study abroad, my class visited Aachen and I really wanted to show Shari.

The main thing was that Aachen is famous for gingerbread and natural hot springs. The picture says it all. We spent a few hours exploring Aachen City hall, walking the city, touring the church, and enjoying breakfast at a local bakery/cafe.

After Aachen, we took another 2 hour drive — to Amsterdam. Yep, Amsterdam. It was the first time that Dominik, Patrick, or Shari had been to the Netherlands. So once we arrived and parked the car, I became the tour guide. We first got some dinner at a local restaurant and then walked the city. For me, I had been to Amsterdam twice before, It was so strange to see it in winter. Seeing the canals frozen was just shocking. Yet, even though it was winter, the city had the same amount of people as it did in summer — Crowded! We left Amsterdam around 8pm and got back to the hotel at 10pm.

I was so exhausted when we got back to the hotel I knew it was time to say goodbye to Dominik — once again. I hate saying goodbye to Dominik — it always feels like I am leaving something behind. Anyways, at 10am in the morning of December 30th, Shari and I started our way home to Texas. After a train, two planes, and a drive we arived at my mom’s house at 11pm. Total travel time: 19 hours. I went straight to sleep. In the morning I went to the Mazda delaership to pick up my car — with its new tire — and then headed to Dallas. Once I arrived, I went to sleep.

Überraschen Christmas trip! Exhausting — but fantastisch! I didn’t get to do everything I wanted, but it’s okay. Just means I need to go back again.

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