Sunday, September 30, 2012

Baden-Baden to Schaffhausen

Okay, the trip continues.  My head is swimming with everything I’ve been seeing but it’s very exciting to drive through places I’ve only heard about.

When I was growing up, I listened to Danny Kaye; one song he sang was about triplets.  Nearly everything he said was in triplicate.  So he sang “Every summer we go away to Baden-Baden-Baden; Every winter we come back home to Walla-Walla-Walla.”  So when I heard we were going to Baden-Baden, I was pretty excited.

I will have to admit (sorry, Dad) that this little part of the trip was pretty disappointing.  I wanted to go to a spa (“Baden” means “Bath” and this town is the prime spa town in Europe) but found it was difficult to find one unless we were staying at one of the special hotels and the prices were outrageous (to me) for going.  Oh, well (sigh).  So we stayed on the outside of Baden-Baden, in a sweet little town called Steinbach in Linde, run by the Fiala family.  This is the family house and they have made it into a Guest House (Gasthaust); I met most of the family the day we checked in. Momma gave us our key, younger son told me the password for the wireless, older son helped me connect (a little bit of confusion) and Poppa told us how to get to Baden-Baden and also the best place to eat that evening.

We drove through the Black Forest, but it wasn’t very thrilling - the road was very much like a road in the Black Hills of South Dakota but the trees were a little bit different.  I think to get a taste of the Forest, we’d have to find some country roads.  The city was confusing and we never did find the center of town that was supposed to be tourist-driven.

But we enjoyed the ride through the little bit of Black Forest we saw.  Then went to a lovely restaurant.  The food, as usual, was good.  Even picky-eater (you wouldn’t know it by my size) liked everything!  Fish, pork, potatoes, dumplings, ham, cheese (and cheese and cheese).  I WILL have a blog on just foods, eventually (have PATIENCE, Glenda, I’m getting there!).

The next morning we got up, had a wonderful (as usual) breakfast and headed to Switzerland.  Our goal was to see the Rheinfall waterfall.  This is the largest and most powerful waterfall in Europe and is a busy tourist place.  At LAST I found tourist goods to purchase for home!  Dad had worried that we needed Swiss Francs to buy things with but everyone accepted Euros (but gave change in Francs).  Our Hotel Edelwiess was to be paid for in cash and Dad asked the owner where to get Francs, but he said he’d take Euros!  Relief!!!  We couldn’t find an exchange anywhere along the way! 

Speaking of the owner, he was a cutie ... not little, sweet, cute - he was pretty tall, but good looking.  But his personality was cute!  I would normally take Sammy and turn to the “wireless” page and ask someone if this was their wireless and then what the “passport” (password) was.  As it was being told to me, I would type it in, to make sure that I connected.    Mr. Mladen Basaric (didn’t get his picture - sigh) started to tell me the passport and I repeated each number after him.  He started to giggle (yes, giggle) as we went through the process.  “One one (I said after him - one one), two two (two two) three three (three three).” I can tell you the “passport” since I doubt any of you will be staying there anytime in the future.  When I asked him how to get to the Rheinfall, he was telling me and I made him draw a map.  As we got back for dinner, I asked him to draw a map to the restaurant.  He did, but said it was “very simple.”  I said “Don’t SAY that!”  But this was easy to find, just two turns in the street.  So when we got back, I had to tell him “very simple!”  I liked him!  But I liked everyone over there – they were all so nice and helpful!

Okay, the Rheinfall ... hard to talk about as there aren’t many words to describe.  I have a small video of it to show you the awesome-ness of it!  We parked in the third level parking lot - there were a LOT of people there - and walked down.  We had lunch and enjoyed the view, then did a little bit of shopping at the small gift shop, then slogged our way back UP the hill to the third parking lot.  It was great!  I could have stayed there for hours and hours, just watching the water. 

When we were getting ready for bed, I took a video (for the sound) of the bells.  The church bells rang every fifteen minutes just outside the hotel.  They were so beautiful!  However, the video didn’t turn out well, so I won’t share it - sorry - the sound didn’t come through as I had hoped.  But I can hear the bells in my head!

Tomorrow - the trip from Switzerland to Innsbruck, Austria.  Tired of the pictures and story yet?  There’s still four more days to come on this life-time adventure!



Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Today is the birthday of my youngest granddaughter, Bubba.  She is fourteen today.  And (yes, it makes me sound and feel old), I remember the day she was born!

Before she was born, I had enjoyed Bitty for over two years.  Being a grandma, to me, was the cat’s meow!  I didn’t know if I could love another grandchild as much as I did my first one.  Silly me!  I had forgotten that the heart grows to make room for more people to love.  When she was born, I forgot I was leery of not loving her enough.

So, now I have two favorite granddaughters.  Bitty is my favorite ..... with brown eyes.  Bubba is my favorite .... with blue eyes.  So I can tell each of them they are my favorite granddaughter!

Let me tell you a little about Bubba.  She has been a delight from the minute she was born.  She is funny, smart, sweet, lovable and entertaining.  She loves everyone and everything.  She is graceful and beautiful.  Bubba has been taking - along with Dad and sister Bitty - Martial Arts.  She has her purple belt and is studying for her brown belt.  Purple is third from the top, black belt.

Bubba has been the delight of my eyes ... she is clever, good with her hands and does a lot of crafty things.  She knows how to sew, spin, weave, knit and crotchet.  I have been blessed with having her in my life.  And, YES, grandmas can love more than one grandchild, just like moms can love more than one child (I should have known better!).

I love you, Bubba.  Have a great birthday and a great life!

At age six

She loves to climb trees - this is "her" tree on our place

She loves to demonstrate at historical events

She was excellent in soccer when they lived in Florida

She has grown up to be a beautiful young lady

Saturday, September 29, 2012

And now, back to our regular broadcast .....

But first of all, a short side-line.  Yesterday morning I went to my friend, Jody’s, house to help her with her computer.  I had arranged to have friend John hook up with us and fix her freeze problems.  With the miracle of modern technology, John could sit in his home in Wisconsin and take over Jody’s computer, where he found out the problems and fixed them!  So now she is breezing through websites and enjoying the non-freeze capability of her computer.  Thank you, John!

So, back to the trip.  We had been in Luxembourg and headed to Frankfurt.  Now, Frankfurt was the largest city we visited, except for Amsterdam (and I’m not sure which was largest).  It was also the most confusing for us.  It was also the most difficult for communication - most people we talked to had very little English; however, they would do their best to find someone who could speak well enough to give us directions.

But no one seemed to know where our hotel was. We had the name and address written down but we kept getting different directions.  We would follow one set of directions, realize we were lost, then find someone else to try to help; we would follow those directions and realize we were still lost.  Finally, after about four times, we found a taxi driver who said “For ten euros, I will lead you there!”  We went directly there, after taking only about twenty minutes!  He did as promised, not losing us in traffic and we went right to the front door of the hotel.

We got there rather late; we checked in, freshened up some, then asked where we could go eat.  We walked about a block and a half (American blocks) and found a lovely Italian restaurant, Portofino.  The first thing we always said in a restaurant was “Do you speak English?” Well, our waiter didn’t, so went into the kitchen and found the owner, Nino.  He came out and decided that HE needed to chose for us and served us, himself, with his wonderful young assistant, Francesco.  This was the best restaurant that we went to (in my opinion).  We had personal attention from the owner and very good food.  The fettuccini that he chose for us was very good.  The stuffed shells was “to die for.”  Nino brought out two pans with the pastas and served us himself.  The fish was a whole fish that was wrapped in foil; as he brought it to the table, he lit some alcohol and served us flaming fish!  Then he took the head and skin off and fileted it himself and served us de-boned fish.  He brought the wine (mine) and beer (Dad) and poured it himself - we let him chose the drinks but I asked for a sweet white and got a very good one.

He wanted to serve us a desert but we said we had to get to the Opera - finally got through to both of us that our “Opera” is their “Ooper-a” - and he ordered us a taxi to take us; he also told the driver where to go.  We arrived at the Opera House and showed our tickets.  We were shown our seats.  The usherette told us that the people on stage were giving a lecture and the “concert” would start at 8:00, so we made it in time (whew!).  But Dad was suspicious and showed the tickets again to the usherette and she said “Oh, no ... that is for “Ooper Frankfurt” ,, this is NOT the Oopera!”

We rushed downstairs and asked a ticket taker where we needed to go.  Then found a taxi driver who promised to get us there in five minutes!  Well, it took about seven, but he got us there.  However, it was just at the beginning of the first act and they let no-one in after the lights went down, so we sat outside and had a drink while waiting.  We then got in for the second (final) act.  Even though we missed the first half, I knew the story, slightly.  “Adriana Lecouvreur” is a new opera for me but the music is beautiful!  We got our seats and got comfortable.  Dad talked to a lady in the seat beside him who said “I didn’t see you at the first act.” Dad explained our problem and she got very upset.  She was a resident of Frankfurt who spoke very good English; she said “There is only ONE Opera House ... those people should not have Opera in their name!”  She wanted us to contact the taxi company and complain about the first driver who took us to the wrong place but both Dad and I said it really wasn’t worth the effort - we didn’t know the name of the driver or the number of the cab.

However, even half an opera was worth it to me.  I was in a “real” opera house, watching a “real” opera, not on TV or as a movie.  The opera was in Italian with subtitles (German). It was dizzy-ing to try to figure out what the words meant in Italian but to “read” the subtitles and not have words match was dizzier.  So I tried to keep my eyes off the subtitles on the top of the stage and just listen to the music and watch the singers / actors.

We got home rather late - Nino had invited us back to have coffee when we got back but we were later than he had planned on being open so didn’t.

A hectic day, a great dinner, a lovely opera and a good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow we head to Baden-Baden.  And here is the slide show!

Visit to Frankfurt

Thursday, September 27, 2012

And we will take a break from our regularly scheduled broadcast .....

I know that my millions of fans are eagerly awaiting more pictures and stories of my trip, but I need to tell you all about what I did yesterday.

No, you don’t need to guess .... I will tell you.  I went to Luverne, Minnesota, to meet a new weaver friend.  Darlene has been a master weaver (and I mean MASTER) but she has had a stroke and cannot remember how to set up the loom for weaving.  She remembers that she loved weaving - she has samples around, purple ribbons and pictures.  But she can’t remember the HOW.

So I went over today - her daughter, Jan, met me at the door; Darlene was waiting anxiously inside and met me with a BIG hug!

My plan was to treat Darlene like she was a new weaver, so I took it slow and easy.  I found that she tired easily, so we went slower than normal.  All we really did was wrap half the warp on the warping board, but Darlene said she felt like it was something she did before; if she concentrated, she would get the all-important cross put on correctly. 

We did a lot of talking and Jan brought out items that Darlene had woven in the past and pictures of others - plus a purple ribbon from the Alaska State Fair .... now, how awesome is that?  I’ve never had the courage (or the perfection) to enter my work in any fair!

The next meeting will be in two weeks, after the Educational Rendezvous in Albert Lea next week.  Darlene was disappointed that I couldn’t come next week but understood.  I left her with a book to read and instructions to try to wrap the second half of the warp before I got back.  I had started it and drew a diagram to help her remember.  I think that Jan, also, will be able to help her if she gets stuck.

What a fun day!  I spent some time out in their beautiful yard, had a wonderful lunch (thank you, Jan) and have met two wonderful new friends.

It was a beautiful day yesterday; it is a beautiful day today; you have a beautiful day.

Darlene, wrapping the warp on the warping board

She has a Baby Wolf loom (36" wide, 4 harness)
She also has a Mighty Wolf (40" width, 8 harness) - be still, my beating heart!

Monday, September 24, 2012


In Luxembourg there is an American Cemetery where many soldiers are buried.  These were young men who died in Europe during World War Two. 

Also at this cemetery is the grave of General George Patton.  He was head of the army that fought in this area.  He survived the war but died in a car accident soon after.  He had requested that he be buried here with his men.  His grave is a very simple one, just like all the others here.

Dad and I went to this on our third day.  I was wandering around, taking pictures while Dad wandered around on his own.  We were the only ones there except a few maintenance men; the grounds were kept immaculately tidy and clean.  One of the men was sweeping the walkways as I passed.

This was an awesome place to visit.  It is a memorial to the many men and women who fought in this area during the war and who died to give us freedom.  I cannot say what feelings it gave me.

Here are the pictures that I took while there on that beautifully quiet day.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that. 

American Cemetery in Luxembourg

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day three - Amsterdam to Luxembourg

We got up early on Sunday morning (I think) and had a lovely breakfast - all the places we stayed at had great continental breakfasts as part of the package.  Then headed back to the train.

I realized that I didn’t explain the train thing yesterday - we got off the airplane and then went through customs - easy-peasy - they had two gates - one for declaring and one for not.  We went through the “not declaring” and was waved through by a nice guard.  Then found the train station and Dad got tickets - we rode from the airport to the center part of town and walked to our hotel.  In the morning, we caught the train back to the airport and got our rental car.   

We drove through France .. hard to tell where we were, as there were no signs at any borders - but I started reading French signage (part of Belgium is French speaking, too).  Then arrived at Luxembourg, Belgium, and found our hotel, across from the train / bus station.  I thought it would be noisy at night but things quieted down and I wasn’t bothered by noise at all.

After we settled in, we asked where the best place to eat was.  The standard answer in all places was “easy walking ... ten minutes or less ....” We found that ten minutes for a normal person meant twenty or thirty for us.  But this was our first time and we believed the “easy walking” - it was uphill and we had trouble finding someone who could direct us.  I finally went into a bar and asked - the lovely girl walked us around the corner and said “Here!”  We were looking for a “Plaza Italian Place” (Dad wanted spaghetti) and found that the “Plaza” was the place for many different restaurants!  So the place around the corner was a whole street of restaurants with open doors and tables (with umbrellas) outside.

We went in, looked at the menu and had a reasonably English-speaking waiter show us things on the menu and help us order.  I will have a whole blog - with pictures -on the foods we ate at a later time (patience, Glenda!).

After the eating, we walked back to the hotel.  I found that most of the hotels had free wireless; this time was the first after I contacted people from Albert’s home, so I sent emails and Skyped with Jody and with Jessica, giving them tours of our room and views outside the window.

Dad got hooked on Skype and was always eager for me to hook up with someone so that he could talk to them and see their faces.  I even got Albert’s Skype so that we could let him know where we were and how we were getting along.  He was concerned but didn’t need to be - we had a very safe, great trip.

We spent the night in Luxembourg and headed out the next morning.  So, here are some pictures from Amsterdam to Luxembourg.

Also, I have a short video of the fountain in the Plaza.

It was a beautiful day that day - it is a beautiful day today.  You have a beautiful day.

Click here to see the slide show:   Amsterdam to Luxembourg


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Okay, here are more pictures of days one and two.  We flew out of Minneapolis on Sept 4th and arrived in Amsterdam on Sept 5th.  

Besides going to Anne Frank's museum, we had a tour of the city, given by Albert.  His daughter, Josephine, is a good friend of my folks - and I have come to know and like her, as well.  After the tour, we went to his apartment and met his wife, Meke.  We went out to eat at a lovely restaurant 5 minutes from their place, then had another tour before they took us to our hotel.

It was a great day there - I want to go back to Amsterdam and to The Netherlands and see more at some time in the future.  A lovely place - so full of flowers and water!

We had a beautiful day there.  It is a beautiful day here, as well.  You have a beautiful day!

Click here to go to slide show. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, well, well!

The trip of a lifetime - the experience of a lifetime - is over!  We are home, at last!  The trip lasted only 10 days, but it feels like a month, at least.  I had a great time and am now able to share with you my pictures and stories.  I know my thousands of fans have been waiting with bated breath for me to give them more details and here they are.

However, as to not make your eyes glaze over with the tediousness of pictures (a total of 1,229 - not all good) and several short videos, I will be posting one story at a time and have PhotoBucket show the pictures, a few at a time.

So, to begin with, we left Minneapolis about 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 4th and headed to Iceland, where we changed planes and headed to Amsterdam.

The trip was long - 6 or so hours from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, Iceland - and then switching planes and going to Amsterdam in about 3 hours.

There were 2 things that helped our jet lag - that famous jet lag!  The first was that we changed our watches when we left Minneapolis and set them at Icelandic time.  So our brains told us what time it was there, not back home.  Then we re-set our watches to European time; when we arrived in Amsterdam, it was morning in our heads as well as on our watches.

We arrived, then, in Amsterdam and caught a train to the Central train station where our hotel reservation was.  We checked in and then caught a taxi to Anne Frank’s house. 

What can I say about Anne Frank’s house?  We could not take pictures so I am including the website for you to go and see for yourself what I saw.  Feelings will not be the same, though.  I don’t know how many of you have read “Anne Frank’s Diary” - but I hope that most of you know her story.  She was a young Jewess in Amsterdam when the Nazis took over Holland.  Her family was in danger of being transported to death camps (although they were not known, generally, to be death camps at the time) so her father made arrangements for them to hide in the back of the office building that he owned.  Soon others joined them and they had a total of eight people living in a very small area.  They could not make any noise during the day and had to be pretty quiet at night.  The windows were covered so that looking outside was difficult if not dangerous.  Mr. Frank’s employees - the ones he trusted - brought them food and clothing and news about the war.  The whole group lasted for about two years until someone turned them in and they were carted off to different camps.  The only one to survive was Mr. Frank; he came back to Amsterdam and met up with the employees who survived.  One of them had found and saved the diaries that Anne Frank wrote during this trying time.  Mr. Frank decided to publish them and the diaries have gone around the world.   

It was inspiring and awe-feeling to walk where these people walked - climb the stairs, feel the walls, look through the windows!  There were places where videos were being shown with interviews from people who knew Anne and had experienced life with her at one time or another.

Anne Frank has inspired millions with her diaries - she was just a teenage girl, why do people feel this bond with her?  Well, she lived and tried to survive during a terrible time in history; she wrote her feelings down as she felt them.  She was just a young teen with all the problems that every teen goes through but she had to live her private life with seven other people in crowded, restricted conditions.  Many of her thoughts, as she wrote them down, were concerned with the pain of knowing that she and her family were safe while all around her people were being tortured and killed.  She worried about her friends that she had left behind.  She felt guilty for being “safe” while thousands of her race were being destroyed.

I talked to a woman at the small store they had (post cards, pictures, books .... NO souvenir-type junk) and she said that over one million visitors came each year to see the house and learn more about Anne and about the Holocaust.  It’s amazing that one young girl could inspire all this!  I was touched and honored to be able to join all these others to see the hiding place she lived in for two years before being arrested and hauled of to her death.

And on that note, I will close - I can’t talk about anything else on my journey after this.  More on another day!  Anne believed that life was beautiful and every day was a blessing. You have a beautiful day.

 This is the church that chimed the hours - Anne missed the chimes when the bell was melted down during the war.
Notice the line of people waiting to get in?

 The canal in front of the house.

The on-line ticket that Dad got.
Because it was a reserved time, we were allowed to go in without waiting in line like the hundreds of others.

The door to the shop

The window from Anne's room

Another door to the shop

To get to the hiding place, they had to go up a steep stairway that was hidden with a bookcase.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh, dear!

I am home and working on my blog post and my pictures.  But I re-read the post I made in Europe, on Sammy.  Now, a tablet is a great thing to have but fat fingers and small digital keyboards don't mix too well.  I see that there are typographical errors all over the place!  I apologize .. and to make up for it, I will post a few pictures to keep your appetite whetted until I get the rest ready for you.

I thought I had almost 3,000 pictures taken but a lot of the numbers were taken up by videos.  So I actually only took 1,229 still pictures.  Although a lot of them turned out lousy because I was taking many through the window of the car, I still did get some good ones.

So, here you are. We were in Innsbruck, Austria.  The video is from a show we saw that night ... the gal is singing about a cow.


 It's a beautiful day today - I'm glad to be home but am pretty tired ... hope the jet lag goes away soon!  You have a beautiful day.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Things I have learned

As my millions of fans know, I don't know much about nuttin' ... so I'm learning alot about Europe.  So here are some things.

In The Netherlands, most people speak English, and vey well.  There are three million, nine hundred and seventy-five bikes in Amsterdam alone.  Trust me, I counted them!  And almost as many scooters!  I WANT a scooter!  (Yes, Mom, that will be written on my tombstone ..."She never gor her scooter.")

This is mostly because the gas is equivalent to about $10.00 per gallon, American!

In Belgium, at least the part we were in, the people speak some English, but less than in Holland.  They were nice people (everyone has been nice.)

We traveled through France but never stopped.

Germany, so far, most people do NOT speak much English.  I've gotten good at sign language ... even asked about a train station with "choo-choo" and got the message across.

I have found if someone does not speak English, they usually will try to find someone who can.  We have (eventually) found our way vy helpful people.  And the taxi drivers are a breed apr ... eveyone ww had contact with has been marvelous!

It IS difficult to try to read street and road signs if you don't know the language.  And try ro follow an opera sung in Italian with German subtitles!  Oh, lordy, that can give you a headache!

We are now in Baden-Baden, filled to the brim with excellent food, as always.  I will weigh sixttens (and what will I get?) when I come home.  portions are humungous!

We go to Switzerland tomorrow.

 I am taking most of mu pictures wirh my camera, but there are some on the tablet, so I will share.  It's ten here, now, I'm pooped.  Ir's been a beautiful trip so far.  You jave a beautiful day.

Monday, September 03, 2012

One Last Thing

Dad is here and has given me the last minute itinerary.  So I am putting it on here, now.  For those of you  who want to read the places we are going, follow below.  For those of you who do not, avert your eyes and I'll see you on the other side!

Sept. 4, 2012 - Depart Mineapolis - St. Paul airport, Terminal 2 - 7:30 PM on Icelander flight #655. Arrive Reykyavik, leland - 6:30 AM - 6 hr. flight. 

Sept. 5 - Depart Reykjavik, Iceland - 7:55 AM flight #502. Arrive Amsterdam, Netherlands - 12:55 - 3 hr. flight. Go through Customs then take train to down town Amsterdam and check into our Hotel "A-Train" across the street from the Train Station. Settle in and then take a taxi to Ann Frank's House. Albert Van Nierop will meet us there and give us a tour of Amsterdam and then we will have a nice dinner and go back to our Motel for the night.

Sept. 6. We get up, have a B & B breakfast and take the train to the airport to pick up our car. We leave the airport and drive through Holland into Belgium and stop at Bastioned where American troops were surrounded, by the Germans, without food, heat or supplies from Dec. 15, 1944 until January 1, 1945 when General Patton arrived to win the battle January 17, 1945. This was the largest battle in WWII. At Luxemburg we check in at our Hotel Empire. We then will visit the American Cemetery and General Patton's grave. We will visit the Cathedral Notre Dame and possibly the Palace or an Art Gallery. We leave the next morning after a nice free breakfast.

Sept. 7. We leave Luxemburg and drive to Metz, France then to Saarbrucken, Germany, where you take a train to Frankfurt. A 2 ½ hour ride through beautiful German country. I meet you at the Train Station and we go to our hotel, Hotel Mercator, rest up, have a dinner and attend the opera.

Sept. 8. We drive to Wiesbaden and then follow the Rhein River for 50 miles to Lorch, a medieval town on the Rhine. This is the scenic drive seeing grape fields and Castles. We will drive back to Wiesbaden and head south on the Autobahn and end up at Baden Baden, the Spa City of Germany. We stay there that night at The Hotel Gausthaus Linde just outside of Baden Baden. We will have dinner in Baden Baden.

Sept 9. We leave Baden Baden and enter Switzerland and stay overnight at Schaffhausen, the most beautiful medieval town in Switzerland. From the town you can see the Munot Fortress that was build between 1564 and 1589. Just outside of the town is the Rheinfall Waterfall, the largest and most powerful in Europe. This will be a well worth stop before we continue our trip.

Sept. 10th. We now have a long, but beautiful, drive following through the Alps to Liechtenstein. Then drive through the Alps to Innsbruck, Germany, head south through Brenner Pass into Italy. Return to Innsbruck and drive to Oberammegau, Bavaria. We are booked at the Hotel Friedenshohe for 2 nights.

Sept 11 . We walk around the beautiful the city of Oberammegau, drive to the Crazy Ludwig fairy tale castle and tour other places. Hoping to have a nice dinner at a place that has some Bavarian entertainment.

Sept. 12th. We leave for Munich and tour the Dacha Concentration Camp, a must stop where the Nazis killed off thousands of German Jews. Leave there and drive to the Medieval City of Rothenburg where we will stay 2 nights at the Gasehaus Goldener Hirsch Hotel so that you get to look the city over and buy many things.

Sept. 14th . We leave early enough to get to the Frankfurt Airport, turn in the car and check in for our flight home. Depart Frankfurt on Iceland air flight #657521 from terminal 2 at 2 PM arrive at Iceland, their time 3:35 PM. A 3 hr 35 minute flight.

Depart Iceland on Icerlandair flight #657 at 4:45 PM and arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International terminal 2 at 6:05 PM, Minneapolis time. A 6 hr. 20 minute flight.  While driving through Europe we will be stopping off at different places to visit interesting sites that I have not mentioned. 

At this time, it's 24 hours until we take off. You have a beautiful time ... I know I will!

Thirty-five hours and counting

Yup, it's getting down to hours, now.  Things are getting exciting.

However, there is a big, BIG crimp in the plans.  Candy's husband, Wayne - he had a heart attack last week!  First of all, he is doing all right.  (Details to follow.)

All summer long, Candy has refused to get excited.  She has been having me do all the research for canes, water bottles, passport pouches, etc. I have been printing out maps for the different towns to help find where we are going.

The only thing she did that I didn't was to get an International Driver's Permit.  Candy was going to do most of the driving.  I did not get a Permit, as I had (still have) no desire to drive in Europe, especially on the Autobahn.

Now, however, things HAVE changed.  Candy will be staying home with Wayne so I have to get an International Driver's Permit and I will have to do most of the driving (Dad is 92, after all).

Dad is working on getting a refund for the flight tickets and changing the rooms from 3-person to 2-person rooms.  I will be getting my Permit tomorrow on the way up to the Cities.

Wayne, now ....... a light (light?) heart attack - he was feeling "poorly" all week after what he and Candy thought was heat exhaustion.  He never got better and got sick (another attack?) one night so Candy took him to the clinic.  Blood tests showed one or two attacks, so he was sent by ambulance to Sioux Falls (1 1/2 hours from here).  They found that he had major blockage which had been there for quite some time - in fact, some arteries had grown around the blockages.  Don't know how that happens, but it did.

So, stints .... a stint on Saturday and a second one tomorrow (Tuesday); if he is cleared, he won't have to have a pace maker put in.  However, he does NOT need by-pass surgery!  (Whew!) Wayne is walking around the floor in the hospital and getting more energy as he goes.  If the second stint is what he needs, we will have our cheerful Energizer Bunny back.  He HAS been tired and grumpy for quite a while.

So, the deal is, Candy is missing out on the trip, I will be missing her, but Dad and I will still go and will have a great time!  Dad is coming over today, spending the night and we are heading up tomorrow.  Norm is driving our van so he can visit with Joy and family.  

Joy will be taking Dad and I to the airport and dropping us off.  Norm will spend the night and head home on Wednesday.  Peanut will be coming with us, of course, to the Cities, but NOT on the plane!

We will be home in about 12 days.  Joy will pick us up and we will spend the night with her before heading home on Saturday the 15th.  Norm and Peanut will head up on Friday and then drive us home.  Dad will head back to Rapid City after that.

Now, I will be TRYING to send a few pictures while we are gone - I have heard that half of our hotels have free WI-Fi and I am taking my tablet along.  But I will have a lot of pictures and stories to share when I do get home.

Until then, it's a beautiful day today - you have a beautiful 2 weeks.