26 September 2017

Flight to Germany

The flight from Dallas-Fort Worth, USA (DFW) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) was great!

I flew with Lufthansa for the first time and was quite pleased with the service and accommodations. The plane was an Airbus A330 - a pretty large plane. The flight attendants were all smiles, kindness, and, thankfully, spoke both Deutsch and English.

The flight was direct (I didn't want to spend my precious time away from work on lay-overs) and scheduled to be 10 hours long but we had a tail wind and landed almost an hour ahead of schedule. I reserved a window seat with only one seat adjacent to it before an aisle.

All beverages and several, alcoholic or not, were offered free of charge. I tried some German red and white wines. Water was frequently passed out, too, which I really appreciated.

Two meals were served. The dinner option I chose was a curried lamb and rice (sorry, forgot to remove the foil lid in the photo), and the breakfast was egg frittata with veggies. You can also see in the picture my notebooks: one is my day-to-day-keep-my-life-in-order notebook, and the other is my Germany travel journal which will morph into a sort of memento from the trip, stuffed with journal entries, tickets, and other tidbits.


I had hoped to sleep 6-8 hours, but ended up being wide awake - just my luck - for all but a few hours. For those few hours I got pretty terrible sleep as the seat in front of me was fully reclined, leaving me unable to rest by folding forward, which is my preferred method on a plane. And by preferred I mean basically the only way I can manage to sleep on a plane, so I've learned.

The leg room was typical for a plane, but given the length of the trip, my knee began to bother me. Nothing painful, but very achy and restless. Needless to say, I started to worry about the marathon. I did some stretching in the aisle but wasn't sure how much it would help. I just tried to not think about the up-coming race.

I had good fortune in the game of "am I going to get a cool seat buddy or not" roulette. My seat buddy's name is Michael; he is German, speaks English (thank goodness), and lives in Freising, which is just north of Munich in Bavaria. (The oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan, is in that town. Unfortunately my itinerary doesn't allow for a visit. Also, I'm not much into beer, so I wasn't too bothered.) Anyway, Michael was in Dallas for work. It turns out that we are employed by companies in related industries - small world (kind of). We enjoyed chatting and got to know one another. We talked some, did our own thing some. It was a perfect blend of interaction. And he didn't mind my practicing basic German travel phrases with him. I'm sure I sounded like a 5-year-old, but he was good-natured about it. He's a friendly fellow I'm glad to have met.

Finally we began our decent into Frankfurt! Here are a couple obligatory photos of the view from the plane. Looks like a cute little town outside of Frankfurt, surrounded by crop fields - they reminded me of the Midwest and home in Indiana!

A Small Town Outside of the Frankfurt

Lots of Farm Land

When we landed there was something going on such that we had to disembark via ladder and take a bus into the airport terminal. I managed to leave my neck rest pillow thing on the plane. I swear I fastened it to my backpack. It must have unsnapped while I was exiting. Ah, well. It was still $20 well spent for all the use I got from it over the years.

Once to the terminal I said goodbye to Michael (he had another flight to catch to Munich), and then I managed my way to the baggage claim. It was a bit of a hike - the Frankfurt Airport is huge. Once there I gathered my bag, and reached out to Judith who would be meeting me. (She's a German friend who lives in Frankfurt; we met during our Study Abroad stays in Australia.)

"Welcome" in German

Judith wasn't expecting the flight to land so early and was in transit when I got through Customs (which was super easy and my first time using my renewed US Passport - yay!). I had some time to kill so I used the ATM to get Euros (my first time using/having Euros), and bought some bottled water since I couldn't find a water fountain.

Judith spied me and we had a nice little reunion full of smiles and hugs. Before we made our way to a cafe to wait for our other friend, Inge, she told me about the bottle recycling program where I could return bottles to merchants for a refund. The bottle pictured below fetched me E0.25! I know of some similar programs in the US, but it's usually only available in certain states and doesn't refund nearly as much. It may be silly, but I was happy for this new experience. Yay for being green! 

The First Bottle I Returned for a Refund

Judith and I enjoyed catching up with one another over hot beverages while we waited for Inge's flight to arrive. True to form, Inge cried a tiny bit during our reunion. I love her bold emotions. It was so wonderful to see these two lovely ladies! We had much to catch up on and just a few days to do it!

I left DFW at 4 PM on Thursday, 21 September 2017, flew for 9 hours, and landed at FRA at 9 AM on Friday, 22 September 2017. With having worked a half day before flying out and only getting 3 hours of less-than-quality sleep, I knew the day ahead would be long. But I would be visiting with two of my favorite people in the world and seeing a new country and continent for the first time. Onward to Frankfurt!

24 September 2017

Germany Update

Hallo! It has been a non-stop weekend visiting with Inge & Judith, seeing Frankfurt and Berlin, preparing for the marathon, and actually running it. I have lots of photos and stories to share, but for now, please enjoy these favorites so far - more of a blog post coming tomorrow!

Romer Platz (Frankfurt City Center)

Frankfurt Skyline at Sunset

My First German Pretzel

At the BMW Berlin Marathon Expo

Just Before the Start of the BMW Berlin Marathon

Pretzel Picture Along the Course

After Finishing the BMW Berlin Marathon (chip time: 4:56)

With My BMW Berlin Marathon Medal in Front of the Reichstag

21 September 2017

Auf Wiedersehen!

I’m finally on the plane! Yay!

Thanks for all of the well wishes, for my Heidi care-givers, and to Linda for this gem:

17 September 2017

My German Heritage

In putting together these blog posts about my up-coming trip to Germany, I realized I haven't really even tried to learn much about how I am of German descent. I just always knew it as truth based on what I'd been told and my mother's maiden name being clearly German. So, I asked my momma if she had any concrete information and was pleased to learn that she did!

My maternal grandfather's side of the family gives me my German blood. Some family members shared with her, and she with me, enough information for me to build the following path in my family tree.

Mary & Henry Baugher were my great-great-great-grandparents.

They lived in the German state of Bavaria (for which Munich is the capital). I have details that they were from "the Rein Region", but haven't yet been able to discover where exactly that is. My best guesses as to where their home might have been are the following.
  • Rain, Swabia, the red pin that is the farthest north
  • Rein-Tal (Rain Valley), the red pin that is farthest south

"Rein", "rhine", and "rain" all seem to be related spellings of "rain" in English. The Rhine is a river that flows through Europe.

Joseph Baugher was born on 16 November 1861 in Ohio. He died on 16 June 1916 in Indiana. He was my great-great-grandfather.

Russell Baugher was born on 6 July 1884 in Lawrence, Indiana. He died in 1977 in Elwood, Indiana. He was my great-grandfather.

I knew Elmer & Imogene Baugher, my maternal grandparents, and I miss them both dearly.

It's really very neat to discover some of one's family heritage. I am looking forward to visiting the state, region, and country where my distant relatives once lived.

Special thanks to my mom, my Uncle Dave, and my Cousin Kerry for gathering and sharing the information about our German heritage!

I used Family Echo to build the family tree graphic. It is a free online tool and very easy to use.

Germany Itinerary by Map

The following is a map of Germany with pins where I'll be visiting.

Frankfurt is the farthest west. Berlin is the farthest north. Munich is the farthest north of the 2 pins in the southern region of the country. Fussen is south of Munich.