Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Fabulous Reunion!

It's day one in Germany!  (Ok it's day 2, I was too tired yesterday from traveling here!)

Brad and I found the slowest Uber driver ever to take us to the airport.  Haha seriously he was going 45 mph several times on highways.  Anyway, we got to go through special TSA checks and pre-board because after Brad's flight to/from China, he reached a new level with Delta and now he is special.  Which made me special by default.  #winning

Ready to go! So excited!

We got in our cramped little seats on the plane and it turns out the vent thingy for our row was on backwards, so the vents were pointing to the seats in front of us.  The flight attendant already told us that there were 50 open seats and after everyone boarded, we could possibly move.  But I told her I needed that vent due to motion sickness, and she moved us right away.  We got an exit row, but in the middle seats, so we didn't have to help anyone out, but got the extra legroom and an empty seat between us!  Brad thinks the seats didn't recline as much, but no seats in coach recline much.  He just forgot since his China trip included those first class pods where he laid down the entire flight!
My legs are fully stretched! Nice for an 8 hour flight!

The flight was long but not bad.  I slept maybe 2 hours total, and not in a row.  The plane landed but then drove so so far on the tarmac, we didn't know what was going on.  Just kept driving and driving.  Then they let us out on the tarmac and we had to take a bus over to the terminal.  It was something we hadn't experienced before.  There was a huge line at Customs and the restrooms, so poor Stefan had to wait forever for us!  It was great to finally see him again!

He drove us to their house in Lambsheim which is in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz.  It's wine country, and the vineyards everywhere are very pretty!  When we arrived at their house, Stefanie had pretzels and Brötchen waiting for us!  Brötchen are just yummy rolls (called Semmel in Bavaria!)  I know what you are thinking.  We have pretzels and rolls in Michigan.  It's not the same.  I have searched for rolls like these and just can't find anything the same.  Germans do bread right!

MMMM pretzel
The kids came home from school, and they are so much more grown! We hadn't seen Anna in almost 4 years I think? And Philipp we saw about 2 years ago.  He is 14 now and Anna is almost 17.  Where does the time go? They are so tall, I took this before dinner:

We went into the town of Frankenthal, where all the Schäfer's attended/now attend Gymnasium (High School).  That's how I met Stefanie...her high school did an exchange student program with Ferndale High back in the 80's!  We went to a cool guitar store because Brad is going to replace broken strings on Stefanie's guitar.  It was a cool store and Brad of course had the best time.

The town is so quaint, like every German town I have seen.  If you haven't guessed yet, I love Germany!
A store selling Lederhosen and Dirndl

There was a festival in town! This place sold yummy treats.

This booth sold Flammkuchen which is a yummy flatbread type of thing.  SO good, but we didn't have any.  Sad, I know.  But it was almost time for a special dinner.

Waiting outside the guitar shop.  The owner put a sign on the door that said "back at 4:00" so we had to stand out in the rain for a bit! 
Brad reading the menu at this cute restaurant 

This was a monastery in 1119.  OLD.



We went home and got ready for the party!  Stefanie's aunt was having a dinner for her 80th birthday. We drove to a little nearby town called Freinsheim which is full of vineyards. The place was so cute! I felt like we were in Tuscany.  I have not been to Tuscany, but hey, it seemed like that! There was a tiny little restaurant in the middle of some vineyards.  It was just our party that was in there.  It was so much fun!  There was a guy playing the accordion.  It was so German!

He took a lot of breaks, but it was cool.  We had the best dinner!  It had several courses.  Started with a soup called Markklößchensuppe with dumplings in it called Knödel. They are made with bread.  It also had little squares of egg.  That was surprising.  haha.  It's like they made a pan of scrambled eggs and cut it up and threw it in the soup.  It was really good!! I would have never thought to add that to a soup. The salad was also so good!  It had some kind of homemade dressing.  Then the main course arrived.  There were 2 kinds of meat: a roast beef and a roast veal.  Both were covered in gravy.  Of course.  #Germany  The plate of veggies was awesome.  They somehow made carrots into little balls and served them with cauliflower.  They had little bundles of green beans wrapped in bacon.  Delish! Homemade Spätzle.  SO GOOD.  We had already had some of Stefanie's homemade Spätzle for lunch!  How lucky are we!! We put some of the gravy on it.  There were little potato puffs that were fried and crispy.  SO good!

Did I mention it was all so good?
Stefanie's aunt seemed very pleased to have us there.  She didn't speak English but we had plenty of translators so we could talk to each other a bit!  And Stefanie's parents and brother were there, whom we knew already.  It was fun to see everyone! It was a great evening.  Stefan left early to bring us back home because we were so tired!  Both Brad and I started to fall asleep on the ride home. It's only 15 minutes away, lol. We fell asleep pretty quickly and slept well. A great first day!

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