Thursday night was a very short night and Friday was a really loooong day for these two weary travelers. We were sick & tired--no sleep, no food and we both felt pretty awful.
David woke up about 1:30 (Friday morning), sick with the flu. Really sick--as in throwing up sick, chills & fever. And we had to leave for the train station at 6:00 am to catch our 7 am train. Oh, joy!
I'll spare you all the unpleasant details and just say we made it to Germany by noon! Dosed up with meds from my "traveling pharmacy", and with our fingers crossed (please oh please, let us NOT throw up on the train), we made it to the station and boarded our train for Frankfurt.
We found our seats and settled in for the 4 hour ride to Frankfurt. There was a little mix up with our seat numbers, but no big deal. We traded seats with a nice couple from Taiwan so we could each sit with our spouses. We had a nice conversation with them--as much as the language barrier allowed. They were interested to hear about our home state of Alaska. They said "oh--very much ice, big salmon, big bears!" So I got out my trusty phone, fired up Facebook, and showed them a picture of David with the king salmon he caught a couple of years ago. Cheesy, I know……..
Just as we started to relax and think "we've got this--we're going to make it", we heard an announcement in German. Did I just hear the word "strike"???
You've got to be kidding me!
Nope--not kidding at all. They made the announcement in English next, and it seems that there is a nationwide, one week long train strike in Germany. This was for all Deutsch Bahn trains, the main train line in Germany. The announcer said that even though our train was leaving on time, to please check your connecting trains, as most trains were not running.
We just looked at each other and laughed. We're pretty good at rolling with the punches when we travel, but so far this trip has had a couple too many "punches"!
We knew that our Taiwanese friends had not understood the announcements, so we tried to explain it to them. They were getting off before Frankfurt, and we think they had a connecting train to Dusseldorf. We wished them good luck with their trip, and off they went. They were a sweet couple.
Our next seat mate was a nice lady that spoke excellent English, as she had lived in Texas for several years. She overheard us asking a train employee about connecting trains, and asked us if we had not checked our schedules before we left. Duuuuhhh…….
We didn't know about the strike, we never watch the news or even turn on the TV when we travel. We do read the news online, but there was no mention of the strike in the US news. She suggested we ask at the information window, just a couple of cars up. So I took our tickets and asked the nice man if he could tell us if our connecting train to Boppard was running, and he said no. He quickly scribbled some info on our tickets and told us to get off at the next stop-Cologne and then change to a regional, privately owned (not striking--yay!) train line to Boppard. We had 10 minutes to make our connection, and we were running 5 minters late. Yikes!
We made it--barely. David (my hero) lugged both of our suitcase up a few flights of stairs to the platform, while I carried our packs. I don't think I've ever been so glad to get on a train! It was a "milk run" type of trip, the train stopped in at least a dozen little villages along the way. We were just happy to relax and enjoy the scenery--we saw a few castles across the river and pretty vineyards on the hillsides.
We pulled into Boppard about 12:15 and took a taxi to our hotel. It was certainly a walkable distance, but not with two suitcases and two backpacks.
We pulled up to our hotel, The Garni Guenther. The nice proprietor, Scott came out to greet us and take our suitcases. He cheerfully checked us in, and mentioned that our room was ready--but that the previous guests had broken the lock and he needed to fix it. We were able to store our luggage, so we decided to get some lunch--we were starving! I'd only had a few crackers and a couple of bites of noodles since Wednesday afternoon, and David had not eaten anything since Thursday night. Scott suggested a nearby restaurant, The Severus Staub, so we headed that way. As the weather was nice, we sat outside. We each ordered a beer, and shared two plates.
Venison goulash, served with spaetzel and green beans. It was delicious!
Unfortunately, even though we thought we were starving, our tummies were telling us a different story! As delicious as it was we only ate about 1/4 of our food and drank just a few sips of our beer. We asked for our check, the nice waiter glanced at our plates with a puzzled look on his face. We assured him the food was delicious, we were just full. We paid our tab and walked back to our hotel, hoping that our room was ready--we were just pain tired.
We were in luck, and soon we were checked in to our room. We LOVE it here! It's a small, family owned and run hotel with just a few rooms. It's right on the river front, and our room has a nice little balcony facing the Rhine.
A pretty church spire across the river:
The view up the street, from our balcony
We didn't even unpack--we took a one hour nap on the comfiest bed--not too hard, not too soft, but just right! We woke up and felt much better, so thought we should go explore Boppard. It's a very pretty little town.
Their small town square, complete with fountain:
Nice, timbered buildings
This one is pretty elaborate:
Detail of the carving:
As we were walking around town, I spotted this neat life size cast iron crow. Of course, I wanted to take it home with me, and David even has his backpack with him……..(old family joke here--he once carried a cast iron duck in his backpack for me--all the way home to Alaska, and said "never again") Later on in our stay in Boppard I found one for sale in a gift shop--it wasn't cast iron after all, just plastic. Not as much fun if it doesn't weight a ton! I think the crow will stay in Boppard.
I was back home in about an hour, and I was ready for bed, too. It's been a very eventful few days--maybe a little too much excitement for these two travelers!
Goodnight from lovely Boppard, Germany………..