So I’m in Heathrow about to get on a flight to Ireland. By “about,” I mean “in three hours.” Anyway. Let’s do a mad rush to finish off the Double A’s Adventure! That way I can start writing about all the crazy times I’m about to have in Ireland over St. Patrick’s Day weekend!
Day 6: Black Forest, Germany
Woke up and looked out the window. We had arrived in the dark, but in the light a beautiful view was waiting. The little house–which used to be a mill–is right on a rushing river, in the valley between two mountains. The walls are all covered in ivy and wreathes made by B. It was so beautiful, and so peaceful.
B. took us on a tour of her little town. We did some prayer walking, and learned a lot about Carnival (which had taken place the week before, I think). Weird stuff.
Hopped in the rickety car and set out for the mountains! There were some spectacular views of little mountaintop villages. We found a field of snow, stopped the car and got out to play/admire the view. After romping around a bit, we climbed in the car again, only to find… it wouldn’t start.
Luckily someone drove past pretty soon. B. asked for help, and the nice boy had a look. It was something to do with water in the engine. He ran off to get us some water, filled it up and gave B. some tips. We piled back in and made it now the mountains and back to town safely.
Grabbed some spaghetti supplies in the grocery store. We made a lovely dish and sat out back by the river to eat. I managed to smash my fingers in a chair, accompanied by the customary “I’m fine!” and bursting into tears. Though they were dented impressively at first, they seem to be back to normal now.
B. went to a prayer meeting that night, while my sister, C. and I settled down for a quiet movie. Watched a fun girl movie and went to bed.
Day 7: Basel, Switzerland
B. had recommended right after our arrival that we use this day to go see Basel, which was an easy train ride away. She was going to be gone all day at a church event. We thought that Basel was divided into Switzerland, Germany and France, so we decided to go see it. (Later we found out this wasn’t exactly true.)
Got into the city and had some confusion about getting the tickets we needed. Eventually sorted that out. The tourist information lady was very friendly, and told us Basel is not divided between the countries, though there was a corner of the city where you could see all three countries. We decided to go there for the sake of saying we’d been. She discouraged us, saying it wasn’t the nicest part of the city, but we got our tram tickets and sallied forth.
It really wasn’t that great. Three flag poles in a sort of sketchy area. But we did a photo opt anyway.
Caught the tram back to the city. My sister and C. made the obligatory visit to a chocolate shop, which was stuffed to the brim with chocolate bunnies. My sister tried a truffle and I laughed at her face for like five minutes. I think my description of the event at the time was: “Your mouth got really small and your eyes got really huge!”
After leaving the chocolate, we went to look for lunch, and noticed there was a Mexican restaurant around the corner. What better way to enjoy Swiss culture than a Mexican restaurant? So we went, and it was good.
Wandered the city a little after that. Poked in the Town Hall, which was this massive brick building and quite pretty. Eventually we went back to the train station and caught a train back to Germany. There we had a relaxing evening playing “Sorry” (or in translated from German: “Don’t be Upset!”) with B.
Day 8: Sunday in Germany
Arose Sunday morning and set out for German church! We sang hymns on the drive, which was quite fun. The sermon and songs were in German (obviously), but I recognized some of the songs and sang them in English. B. translated for my sister on my left, and a nice church guy translated for C. on my right. But I couldn’t hear either of them very well, so I just listened to the German. It was quite nice, actually.
Afterwards we went back to the little town and decided to try out a new pizzeria. It was empty except for us, and our waiter only spoke Italian, which made communication fun–especially when in the mix up of languages C. and B. kept slipping into languages they’d used in Central Asia. But it was fantastic food, with seriously some of the best french fries I have ever had, and good company, and a great lunch.
B. ran to get some traditional Black Forest cake for us after we finished, while C. and I walked home. Later in the afternoon, we all gathered around the beautiful cake. It was really good! The cake part was chocolate, but a really fluffy dark chocolate. Frosting was sort of like whipped cream. It had dark cherry fillings between layers, which wasn’t my favorite, and a pie crust bottom.
We had a time of prayer after that, then just hung around playing games.
Day 9: Germany to Switzerland to Reading
We got up before human beings should ever get up, hauled our stuff to the train and set off for Switzerland. Aside from some brief tense moments, we arrived at the airport without a hitch. Said a woeful goodbye to C., then got through security and settled for a few hours. Had the best chocolate dish I’ve ever had… ever. I don’t remember what it was, but it was like whipped, creamy white chocolate. I don’t even like chocolate, but this was delicious.
The flight to London was only an hour long. Once there we had to catch a cab to pick up some of my sister’s luggage from a friend. We got to Paddington and I got us tickets to Reading. I wasn’t thinking, so bought off-peak tickets even though it was 4:30. Thus when we dashed onto one of the trains with all our luggage, it turned out the train was a peak train. I decided we’d run the risk of being caught and paying for new tickets instead of getting all our stuff off again and potentially having to wait three hours till it wasn’t peak anymore.
We were caught, but by friendly guys who thought I was my sister’s daughter. They had pity on me and only charged for one ticket. It was stressful but turned out okay, I think.
At last we got to Reading. A few other minor stressful things happened, but we dropped off the stuff and went to a pub down the street to relax. My sister made some classic observations about British people, such as, “Some of these boys are maybe 5’s, but all the girls are definitely 10’s!” To which I would full-heartedly agree.
The next day I helped my sister to the train station and saw her off to Battle to see another friend. And that concludes the Double A’s Adventure.