Monday, June 11, 2012

Deutschland!

We got to do our first out of country trip back in April!  A couple months ago I found out Nathan would be going to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for his job so I asked if he could check and see if Miles and I could tag along.  We got the go-ahead and so we found a hotel and packed our bags.  I have been longing to go to Germany since I sat in Herr Jessop's German class back in 1993. 

We were supposed to leave the 25th...but that was changed to the 26th.  So bright and early Thursday morning we headed on in to the Space-A terminal, checked in and hoped we would have a seat on the plane!  There was a bit of a bump...at first it didn't look like all the spouses (five, plus three kids) would be able to come.  Luckily it was resolved and we all got to go.  

Yay...tickets!!

This is how daddy chose to entertain Miles while waiting for the plane. 
This was the first time I've ever entered the plane through the rear-end.  It was interesting...and LOUD!


We also had to ride with all the cargo (which was all the gear/luggage for the band)...the first half of the plane was stripped of seats and the cargo was put there.  Cool...but slightly unsettling.  


Miles did AWESOME on the plane...seriously, he is a born traveler.  


After we landed in Munich we had to stay on the tarmac a while and let the guys unload the plane.  It was LOUD...good thing we had "mickey mouse ears" for Miles! 
The Sound Engineers for the band...and Miles. 

Love this face!

After the plane was unloaded we took a bus to Garmisch, dropped the boys off at the stadium for rehearsal, checked into our hotel, scarfed down a DELICIOUS steak in our hotel's restaurant, and then went to the dress rehearsal for the tattoo - which for the non-band geek is like a large marching band show.  It was so neat...of course I'm a band geek at heart so seeing 400+ musicians marching onto a large stage is total geekdom for me.  At the first of the show, all of the bands marched onstage and then played the national anthem of all the nations represented: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Oman & the United States.  I have to admit that being in that big stadium, hearing the Star Spangled Banner being played by that many people brought tears to my eyes.  Miles did really well through the show...he danced on my lap and clapped and clapped and clapped.

Here are three shots of the stage with all the musicians, dancers, performers, etc.  

Stage right.

Center (the Navy Band is in the middle of this pic)

Stage left
The first full day in Germany...we (Miles, me and my friend Christy) skipped the country and went to Innsbruck, Austria.  First stop was Swarovski Kristal Welten.  It was pretty amazing...and it was probably a good thing to do without the big boys...they would have been bored.  

This is the cool fountain outside the entrance.
Inside Kristal Welten are bunch of rooms with various exhibits made of Swarovski crystals.  Some of them were pretty cool...others were kinda weird.  

This was a crystal wall inside the beginning of the exhibits.  It was something like 30 feet tall and 200+ feel long.  It was so sparkly...I wanted to take it home. 
Why is there a Zebra in the shoe??!

A pyramid made of crystal...the pyramid was cool.  What was inside was just plain odd.
Inside the pyramid was a tiny little screen that played a 10 second video loop.  It was of a mummy attacking a guy...and someone was screaming.  And the mummy's butt was bare.  ?  Odd

Jellyfish made of Swarovski crystals

Purple AND sparkly?!  Um...yes please. 

After Swarovski, we stopped at Basilika Mariae Empfängnis in Innsbruck.  The Virgin Mary statue in this church used to be in another old church.  When the world war affected the area, the soldiers who looked after the church buried the statue under a tree and left for war.  Many years later a local farmer was digging in his field and found the statue.  

Miles and I in front of the church.
View inside the church...the Virgin Mary statue is on the red velvet in the front.

Basilika Mariae Empfängnis in Innsbruck
After the stop at the church we headed into downtown Innsbruck for lunch and shopping.  Christy, Miles and I opted for Greek food (we were ok with pretty much ANYTHING but Italian...because here in Naples there is not much in the way of other kinds of food...it's Italian, Italian...or Italian), followed by a McDonald's ice cream (yay for McDonald's!).  

Don't knock it...American soft serve was SO delicious!!
The Royal Palace in Innsbruck. 

We made it back to Garmisch that night, ate some yummy food and shopped a little in town.  We didn't see the boys until they got home from the tattoo late that night.

Saturday we woke up early and caught the parade for the International Military Music Festival (that's the reason they were having the tattoo).  

Miles was WAY too distracted by all the drums to look at Christy for the picture.

Nathan marching in the parade. 

Miles playing in the fountain in Garmisch


Mmmmmm....German food.  Mmmmmmm
After lunch, we used the bit of a break to check out the hotel's swimming pool.  I had brought a swimsuit for Miles but because he's so short it was more like swim pants...and was WAY TOO loose.  So I stopped in H&M and grabbed him these swim bottoms.  He's European!   He LOVED the pool...seriously loved it.  As in, cried when we took him out loved it.  That kid is a fish!

Miles in the hotel's swimming pool
Sunday we got up, checked out of our hotel and waited for the bus.  Once we got on, we got word from Nathan's boss that we would not be leaving that day as planned.  Our plane had an unfortunate bird incident and was not flyable.  The band was staying 20 minutes away in NATO barracks in Oberammergau, and luckily the boss arranged for us to stay with them.  The bad news was there was NO internet so we had no way of telling our families that we were not coming home.  My mom got quite worried when multiple means of communication were not answered and I think had just about given herself a stroke by the time I was finally able to get in touch with her on Tuesday.

The plan was they were fixing the plane...or sending a replacement and we would likely be leaving on Monday.  Our German host...Ingo, from the German Air Force, was very good at helping us with things to do.  He first took us to the store so we could buy food and clothes (and diapers and formula for us), then we had the evening free to check out Oberammergau.  I didn't take very many pictures...but I got the important one...our dinner:  

Nathan's pork knuckle and potato dumpling
My steak with grilled onions...and bacon wrapped green beans.
One shot of downtown Oberammergau

Staying in the barracks was...um...interesting.  It was like a dorm (I guess...I never lived in one), with a community shower.  The beds were wicked hard and uncomfortable...and twin sized.  So Nathan took one and I took the other and we rotated sleeping with Miles.  And wow...I thought I was a crazy sleeper!  Miles is a mover and shaker in his sleep...Holy Moses!  

Sweet huh?  <3
Monday we went to Ettal and saw the Monastery and then went to the Palace at Linderhoff...one of the palaces built by Ludwigg II (guy who built Neuschwanstein Castle)

In front of the Ettal Monastery

Schloss Linderhoff
Daddy helping Miles play in the fountain at Linderhoff

All wet.  I love his toes in this pi!

Monday evening we got word that the plane was not going to be fixed and the replacement plane was now broken.  (it was ALMOST comical at this point...almost) The plan was to take a tour bus the 16+ hours back to Naples.  I wasn't too thrilled with this plan, but figured I'd deal with it.   Right before bed we heard that the spouses and children were not going to be able to go on the bus...we'd have to find our own way home.  Which would have been ok, but we didn't have internet to look up plane or train schedules.  Needless to say I did NOT sleep well that night.  

Tuesday we woke up and heard that the bus would NOT be taking people home, but that one of the planes was fixed and would be picking everyone up the following day.  I was glad I wasn't going to have to wing a trip home...and also grateful for one more day in Germany.  We spent the morning lazing around Oberammergau (it was a German holiday so a lot was closed), then rode the Laberbahnhoff (a cable car) to the top of the Alps.

Miles loved his view from the cable car

Us with our friends Christy and Taylor in the tops of the Alps.

Family of three in the Alps.
Wednesday we packed up our suitcases, headed back to Munich and were turned lose in the city and were told to be back at the bus at 4:30.  I had a whole, jam-packed day planned for us, I was so excited!  Marienplatz, St Peter's Church, lunch, Dachau, the BMW museum...I was ready to go!  But we needed to eat first, so we rode the subway (SO clean...and SO on time...completely opposite of Chicago's L...but it made me miss it just the same) into town and quickly saw Marienplatz with it's famous Glockenspiel, then headed to Hoffbrau Haus to eat.

Marienplatz, Munich, Germany

Miles and his HUGE mug of frothy apple juice.

We asked someone to snap a pic of the whole group...this is us...minus the four people they didn't get in the shot. 

No sooner than we sat down were we alerted that the plane was there and waiting for us...with a "distinguished visitor" (which to my understanding is usually an admiral).  So we no longer had until 4:30...we had to go NOW.  We scarfed down our food and hustled back.  We rushed through customs and got to the plane to find out that the distinguished visitor was the part for the plane that was broken by the bird.  Seriously.  Ah well...such is life in the Navy.

We got home and Winston was VERY excited to see us...he meowed at us for almost an hour.  Germany was amazing.  Aside from FINALLY being able to use my German, the air was clean, people were polite, and there was NO trash anywhere!  It was like the Disney World of Europe.  I can't wait to go back!

3 comments:

Ty and Ber said...

Looks like a super fun trip.
I always get ice cream at McDonalds when I travel. Yummy.Although not as yummy as all that tasty looking food you guys had on this trip.

Dana said...

What a fun post! I LOVE that pic of Miles' face squished in the headphones! So happy you got to go! How fun, Holly! :)

Ryann said...

Looks like fun! We did a space A flight from England to Ohio and we were not given those cool ear muffs. Now that was amazingly loud and we did not have seats either! Looks like you flew luxury space A:)