First off I just want to say that I’m sorry about my lack of posts. Lemme tell you, getting wifi in Germany is difficult because of contracts, bank accounts and a bunch of other stuff I don’t wanna get into. So I haven’t had the luxury of being able to post according to my calendar I planned out like I wanted to. Oh well, life’s tough get a helmet right?
I want to start off blogging about our travel to and through Europe because it was the a teaser for what to expect when we got to Germany, and it was one of the things that I was looking forward to before we even knew we were going to Germany.
Here we go. To start the trip, we had a nine hour plane ride to Paris, France and that was heavenly. Mimosas before takeoff, a delightful chicken dish for dinner and a basic fruit breakfast in the morning was perfect, just perfect. On the flight I watched a movie, listened to in-flight music and played solitaire on the plane’s television which was super handy because I had nothing on my iPad to use because silly me forgot to download music and movies. As for John he slept and slept, and slept like he always does on planes. I couldn’t sleep except for the last two hours of the flight because I was running on pure adrenaline and excitement. When we got the ok to land and I could see Paris and it was magical. Not gonna lie I cried. I was in disbelief.
We get off the plane and are escorted to what I can literally describe as a box on wheels to take us to the baggage claim. It was only us in this moving cube which was fun but creepy because I didn’t know what was going on, but I figure I should just trust the escort and John after all they know what they’re doing. We go in through what feels like a secret passage way to the baggage claim, say our goodbye’s to the Frenchman and are on our way to retrieve our bags. Wow. The first thing I thought after we got our bags was how everyone looked like supermodels. The women that work in the airport look like they’re straight out of a 1960s Pan Am catalog (if they ever had one) sporting bright red lipstick and hair perfectly pinned with a hat on to top it off. The men are dressed to impress with their prim and pressed suits, hair gelled back. Whoa, no one told me I was walking down a runway; I’m standing there pushing luggage with my all-black sweats looking like I’m getting ready to rob a bank. It sure was a sight to see. Then, our taxi driver (that we booked ahead of time) to take us to the train station was there immediately holding up “McPhail” on a piece of crisp white paper. I felt like a movie star, even though I wasn’t dressed like one.
Our driver, whose name I don’t remember because I was in utter shock that I was actually in Paris, spoke English with a french twang of course. Thank goodness because I only have one year of high school French under my belt so I used the basic words. Bonjour. Merci. Anyways, the drive to the train station was crazy! I’ve never seen streets so busy, noisy and packed with Mercedes-Benzs. Chic I thought, but that’s the norm in Paris. After being in the traffic-filled cobblestone streets for over 30 minutes we arrive to the train station to embark on our final leg of the trip. A three hour train ride to Cologne, Germany.
We get to the train station and end up having to wait for about four hours before we load onto the plane, but that was ok because any time spent in a new place is still the biggest adventure for us. While we waited John had his espresso and salami baguette while I gulped down a black coffee with a bagel. Simple yet satisfying, the breads are amazingly delicious. During our wait, we did a lot of people watching. Families traveling and meeting up with loved ones, business men and women running as proper as possible to catch their trains, dogs on leashes and cigarettes galore! It was a different sight that’s for sure, but nonetheless I couldn’t take my eyes off. Then as I started to feel tired and lethargic, we board the train. The people of THALYS (the train we rode) were utterly helpful and sweet with getting us to our seats and finding ample space for our luggage since we seemed to have more than our counterparts-four luggage bags and John’s ball chair. Everything went so smoothly it was like having nothing but green lights on a busy Main Street. And my, oh my, we’re 15 minutes into the ride and the sights made me oh and ah. Simply blissful. The French countryside with operating factories in the background, and the Belgian train stops and town centers overlooking farm lands looked like paintings meant to be in a museum going for thousands of dollars or euros in this case. An incredible view. An hour in, they served us a gourmet lunch. We had two choices: chicken or fish. I chose the chicken entrée which I only had a few bites from, but nonetheless exquisite for a train meal. It consisted of a chilled thick cut chicken breast atop a bed of mixed greens and quinoa salad along with a baguette, chocolate tart and a cup of cold carrot soup…cold carrot soup? I was intrigued to say the least. Allow me to share my experience. I put a spoon in the soup and it didn’t move. Huh. It had the consistency of a gritty, thick jell-o pudding. What in the world was this? I’ve never seen or heard of this. So before I put my tongue to it, I observed how others ate it-with a heaping spoonful like a sorbet pallet cleanser. Err. Ok. So I tasted it and it had a dull flavor with the exception of a hint of carrot and cinnamon here and there. Like a baby food puree that was left in the fridge for a month too long. Let’s just say it’s not for me, but it was certainly fun trying something new. John observed me the whole time, smiling then proceeding to laugh at me with sincerity and a love in his eyes. It’s moments like these that we’re gonna look back on one day and just smile at each other knowing we wouldn’t wanna do this with anyone else.
Soon after our train excursion, we arrive in Cologne and meet Sedat, the team manager for the Cologne 99ers, (Kӧln is the actual spelling in German) John’s new basketball team. Such a warm welcome from Sedat on this cold and rainy day in Germany. He drove us to our apartment, which is the cutest flat in a quaint and older suburb of Cologne. Germany is unlike anything I’ve ever dreamed of seeing. From the moment we arrived at the flat, the sun shone through the many clouds at this moment; the beginning of our new life together is looking bright, and we knew this would be an amazing experience that we would talk about forever. We’re here, we made it and we couldn’t believe it.
P.S. I will make photo albums, just wait on it.