Day 1: Frankfurt-Heidelberg-Dresden

Since we had to haul car seats (plus all our luggage) we decided not to take public transport, and we arranged for a driver to pick us up at home and drive us directly to the airport.  Our flight left London at 7:30 a.m. and it takes an hour to get to the airport, so our car came at 4:30 a.m.  The kids were so excited, they chattered the whole way to the airport.  

Our experience at the airport went as smoothly as can be expected, but carrying six suitcases and four car-seats/booster seats is just not an easy task.   (European laws are more strict so even Cameron uses one.)  We made it to our gate just in time to board, but we didn’t have enough time to grab any breakfast or snacks or even water for the flight.  And when you fly cheap airlines, there are no freebies on board.  

By the time we landed in Frankfurt we were all ravenous and tired, and it was only 10:00 a.m.  We gathered our stuff, anxious to get it all squared away in our rental car, when we were informed by the woman at the Avis desk, in broken English, that our car wasn’t ready.  The car was available, but she needed special permission to release it to us because we were returning it in another country.  We had made the reservation weeks ago, and Richard and I were baffled about why this had been overlooked but our communication with the woman at the desk was really limited due to the language barrier.  So we ate some brunch at an airport cafe, some really yummy pastries, and then we waited and waited.  It was particularly frustrating because we didn’t know how long we would have to wait.  An hour? Two?  Four?  It ended up being two hours, and at about 12:00 we got the keys to the VW Caddy , an ugly but spacious van, that would shuttle us around Europe.  

Our hotel reservation that night was in Dresden, but I wanted to stop in a German town that would give us a small taste of German villages and Heidelberg wasn’t too far out of the way.  It was a great choice- I LOVED it. 


It really doesn’t get hot in London. Our bodies were not used to 90° and then some. We were so hot.

By the time we found parking it was around 2:00 and our first order of business was to find something to eat.  In the books I’d made for the kids I’d made a big deal about bratwurst in Germany so we were on the lookout for a place that would fit the bill and we scored big.  The bratwursts were so good that Richard, Cam and Eli became immediately hooked and it was their meal of choice, until we got to Italy and it became pizza.  I wish I’d taken a picture of a bratwurst, but it’s just like the photo below, a really long wurst sticking out a good 2-3 inches on either side of the amazing bun.  The bread/bun was just as important to the experience as the wurst.  As frustrating as it is to order food in a restaurant where the employee doesn’t speak English, it’s always satisfying because it feels authentic to me.  (All the places where tourists eat have English speaking employees.)  The man at the bratwurst shop was really friendly and accommodating and mostly we just laughed at ourselves as we tried to order with gestures and nodding yes or no.  It still didn’t come out right, but we had no complaints.  

There ya go.

After lunch we walked down along the river, made our way through some streets, ate some ice cream and then found our way back to the car to make the long drive to Dresden.  

Medieval City Gate on the “Alte Bruecke” (Old Bridge)


Heidelberg Castle


I’ve become a street-performer snob I think. During the course of our holiday there were some really terrible ones actually. But these guys were really great- they were playing a Beatles medley and they were just really into it. I wanted to listen forever.

Heidelberg stole my heart, I think it’s up there in my Top 5 favorite European cities along with Bern, Switzerland and Bruges, Belgium.  (I’m not sure what the other two are…) 

The drive to Dresden took the rest of the day, and when we arrived it was dark.  The check-in time listed was only until 8:00pm and I knew we weren’t going to get there in time.  Many of the places we stayed in were private apartments rented out via (I didn’t use AirBnB this time, but we have in the past) and so I had a phone number to contact the owner but it was not working.  When we arrived at the destination, according to our Sat-Nav, (which I must mention was a HUGE bonus in our massive Caddy) we could not figure out where exactly the apartment was.  As I mentioned, I couldn’t get through on the phone number, so Richard and I were both considering our options.  All we could see at the address was a nail salon, but finally I walked around to the back of the building and found a name plate on a wall buzzer (what is the real name for those things?) and I buzzed up.  Sure enough it was the woman I needed and she let us into the apartment.  Sadly, it had no air-conditioning (the first of many) and so it was pretty toasty, luckily we were all pretty beat.  

Long. Day.  

(Re-reading over that last paragraph, I feel like it is written in such a nonsensical way it represents the way I was feeling while I was living it.  Too tired and annoyed to be concerned with improper or over-use of parenthesis.) 

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