Barbara drove us, with our two big suitcases, three backpacks, computer suitcase, and small/hand bag, to the bus station in Concord.  We got there just in time to buy tickets and get on the bus that took us to Logan airport in Boston.  Check-in went smoothly and our biggest suitcase was just one kilogram shy of the weight limit.  There was some issue with our seating (a recurring problem you will find out) and Jon went to the Lufthansa help person to try to work it out.  We ended up with me and Faith in a bulkhead/bassinet seat, and all the males one row ahead of us.  It turned out those two rows were separated by the kitchen so we saw very little of one another during the flight.  Getting through security went relatively smoothly for five people.

We were hungry and didn't realize how much food they'd give us on the flight, so Jon bought some pizza and sushi for us to take on the plane.  I filled our water bottles and we got priority boarding with several other families.  Jon got me set with Faith in my middle bulkhead seat and then he settled himself down with the boys.  My seatmates were friendly and helpful.  The lady to my right was happy to play with Faith, and even held her while I ate my dinner.  The man to my left was and American who has lived in Europe for the last 20 years, now living in Germany with his German wife and 18 month old daughter.  He said Faith was a very good traveller.

After this trip, I no longer believe the thing about babies and kids having trouble with the pressure on their ears.  The reason Faith cried during takeoff and landing was because they made her sit facing forward on my lap with a seatbelt (attached to my seatbelt) around her middle.  By the return flights I managed to nurse her in it, but the first one was very awkward and miserable.  They put the bassinets in the bulkhead slots after the seatbelt sign is turned off and that was a nice thing to have.  However, it didn't leave a good place for my feet and I was very uncomfortable throughout the trip.  I was in the middle seat between strangers and therefore could not lean over to sleep and those headrests are never made for someone of my height.  I barely slept for a few minutes at a time, and mostly was just trying to keep Faith happy.

We got beverages/snacks, dinner, breakfast, more beverage, and coffee.  There was a movie which Jon and Jonathan watched, and then some cartoons at 3am which had the boys laughing out loud.  They didn't sleep until Jon took off their boots, which he wishes he had thought of earlier.

It was a really rough trip, getting no sleep overnight and realizing the day was just beginning - we arrived in Frankfurt at 5am.  We had to go through two security lines, and one was so sensitive it caught the metal on my mini pencil which I had forgotten was in my pocket.

Of course our water bottles were empty from going through security, but there was no drinking fountain at our next gate and the bathroom faucets said "No drinking water" (Kein Drinkwasser.)  Jon could get hot water from the cafe, or buy 1/2 liter bottle water for 5 Euro (except we had no Euro.)

After we got settled at the gate, they made everyone leave because the boarding pass checkers are outside the waiting area.  So I spread our coats on the floor and Faith and I took a nap.  Mom and Dad arrived and Dad-o had mercy on the thirsty ones by spending 5 Euro for water.  At this gate, a bus takes passengers to the plane, and we got massive doses of diesel exhaust in our lungs because they left the doors open during the boarding of the previous flight.

When it was our turn to board, we had a long bus ride to our little plane.  The flight was supposed to be 45 minutes long.  Five minutes before landing, the pilot came on, speaking German, but it sounded like bad news.  When he got to English it was confirmed.  There was an ice storm in Basel and the airport was closed because they couldn't clear the runways.  We were going to hang around in the air to see if they could clear it, but likely we'd have to go back to Frankfurt.  No!  I was so tired, and I just wanted to get there.  After about an hour, the good news came on - they cleared the runways in Basel and we could land, hooray!

We picked up our suitcases and got our passports stamped.  Then we saw Janet, Stephan, Stephan's parents (Margee and Andreas) and some friends.  Margee had brought balloons for the boys, and we had happy meetings and greetings.  Then the Stücklins took my parents to their place in their car, a friend took Jon and our suitcases in his car, and Stephan took the children and me to our host by public transportation.

We stayed at Richard's apartment.  He was on vacation so we had the place to ourselves the first few days.  Janet took Jon grocery shopping, we took a long nap, and then in the evening Mom and Dad came over.  Stephan got Christmas presents for the boys - Swiss flag decorated hacky sacks, finger puppets and two fun games.  For dinner, Janet and Stephan made fondue, mmm!

There had been talk of going to the New Year's celebrations, but the weather was yucky and we were exhausted, so we went to bed.  Faith, however, was still on EST, and she lay in bed cooing until about 2am.  Not an hour later, Noah was complaining, and Jon brought him in bed with us.  Then Noah threw up and we had to be up for a bath, cleaning, finding new sheets, etc.  Faith then woke up again, and learned how to roll off the bed which was not fun either.  Why are we doing this, why are we here? I think to myself. Oh, yeah, my dear sister's wedding!  But at that moment I really wished to be home. 

Jon looked up the laundry schedule and found that you can't do laundry in the middle of the night.  He couldn't read another notice, however, so he brought it upstairs and put the phrase into freetranslation.com.  That one said "Don't leave the yard door open."  My knowledge of the days of the week in German was helpful so we could find out what days the laundry facilities were open.  Jon also wasn't sure what one column was, he thought it might be names, but Nixon (our host's last name) was not on there, but upon examination of the name plates next to the doors, he concluded it was names.  (It turned out that Richard's time slot was still in the previous tenant's name.)  The conclusion was that we couldn't do laundry until Friday morning.  We piled all the dirty sheets and towels in the corner of the bathroom and finally got to sleep again.  We slept until 2pm.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 13, 2009, 5:35 pm | Read 1786 times
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Congratulations on being the first to write on this story!

Posted by SursumCorda on January 13, 2009, 6:24 pm

wow! I can't imagine going through all that with little kids! I'm anxious to hear about the rest of your trip.

Posted by Bonnie Walker on January 14, 2009, 9:45 am
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