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Hello Germany! Goodbye Iphone 15!

After nearly ten months of what felt like never-ending planning, we were off on our long-awaited six-week European adventure. There were many times I threatened to cancel the trip (both out loud and in my head), out of pure frustraton and overwhelm. I consider myself an accomplished trip planner, but this trip seemed to be over my pay grade. A total of six weeks on the road of driving, in four separate countries, with twenty different accommodations, was a bear to plan. I ran into complication after complication while trying to work out all the logistics. On many occasions, I imagined throwing in the towel on the entire endeavor and instead sitting home for the summer and reading a few good books. But then I remembered that I would be sitting home in the unbearable heat of Hidden Hills with four bored and restless children who would end up arguing all day. That was enough to motivate me to get back to planning! I powered through my frustration and fatigue and managed to get about 98% of the trip planned before departing, even if it was with only minutes to spare. I am doing the rest from the road.

We were up at 4:15 AM on Monday for a 5:50 AM airport pickup. Anna usually takes us to the airport, while picking up Fitzy, but not that early! Fitzy went off happily to her house the day before, riding off in the front seat of her Mini Cooper for his summer vacay!

We flew through Dallas Fort Worth and unlike our horrendous flight experience to Italy at Christmastime, our flights went off on time and without incident. We arrived in Frankfurt on time and all seemed good (except for the long flying times and lack of sleep on the plane). I managed to binge-watch an entire season of True Detective (Night Country with Jodie Foster, which I highly recommend). That's more TV than I watch in an entire year at home!

However, when traveling, you can't count on things going smoothly for very long. It seems to be the law of traveling, doesn't it? Something always goes wrong. And it did, in Frankfurt. We arrived at the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof train station from the airport, about a 20-minute ride, and disembarked the train to walk to our hotel. Garin asked me for my phone to call up Google Maps so he could guide us. My phone was gone. My heart began to race and I went into panic mode as I looked everywhere for my phone (my purse, my backpack, my pockets). Gone!

Since I am the only one with a phone (yes, that is quite unusual these days), we found ourselves in quite a jam. I didn't think I had left it on the train since I am not the type of person to set my phone down places. But where was it? The last time I had recalled seeing it was at the train ticket office at the Frankfurt airport. Garin quickly got out my laptop and used Find My Phone to track it down. He saw it on the screen, sitting somewhere in the airport. Luckily it didn't seem to be moving, so no one had taken it.

We promptly caught the wrong train back to the airport, sending us into the hinterlands of Frankfurt, until Garin noticed that something seemed off and none of the stops were the same as they had been on the way out. I was too panicked to notice anything. We got off that train and had to take another train to return to the Hauptbahnhof station once again, to start all over. Two hours later and five train rides in total, we found ourselves back where we started when we first discovered the missing phone (it had been at the ticket counter at in airport where I set it down to fill out some paperwork the clerk had asked me to, forgetting to pick it up it as we left).

We were exhausted by the time we reached our hotel at nearly noon, after having landed at 8:45 AM. But we rallied, and after dropping off our luggage, ventured out to see a bit of Frankfurt, find some nourishment, and salvage a bit of the day. My goal was to keep everyone awake until bedtime so that we could try to get on a normal schedule. With virtually no sleep in 24 hours, it was a feat, but I did it. We were like a bunch of zombies wandering the streets of Frankfurt, but I managed to keep everyone up. The kids got a second wind around 7 PM and then I had to struggle to get them to sleep by 10:30!

Never a dull moment when traveling with this group!

Catherine set my alarm to wake up bright and early Monday morning.

Everyone was ready on time and we were at the airport with plenty of time to spare.

Garin saved the day and was able to help locate my phone at the airport. The kind gentleman at the ticket desk had put it aside for us and even commented on my home page photo when I went to retrieve my phone. He liked our "cute dog" (an adorable photo of Fitzy adorns my home page, of course)!

We saw a bit of Frankfurt in the afternoon. We had some traditional German sausages for lunch, walked along the Main River, and marveled at the thousands of soccer fans here for the UEFA Euro 2024 (including a large contingency from Scotland all in soccer jerseys and kilts!). We took lots of sitting breaks along our walk and had some gelato after lunch to keep ourselves awake. I'll admit that I did fall asleep sitting up on one of the park benches, but that didn't last long before we had to get up and make our way back to our hotel.

Everyone seemed to sleep well except for me. I awake at 3;15! The three little ones shared what was supposed to be a king-sized bed, but turned out to be two twins pushed together. They had to sleep sideways to keep from falling into the crack in the center. They were so exhausted they didn't seem to notice.

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