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The Trip: Part 3

The week we spent in Germany felt like it lasted one or maybe two months. I’m sure you remember that I didn’t want to go in the first place. Although it was one of the longest weeks of my life, it is now officially over and I am writing this piece from warm and sunny Mallorca, Spain.

Why was the German leg of the trip so long, you ask? Several reasons I would answer.
1. It never got above freezing the whole time. That’s below 0 degrees Celsius. I left my native southeast Ohio because I hated the cold. I swore when I left that I would never again live in a place where the high of the day could possibly be zero. My thoughts on that matter have not changed.
2. It snowed every day. Snow is something that accompanied the cold of southeast Ohio that I generally didn’t enjoy. At first it’s pretty, but when it’s time to drive on it, it really gets ugly. Examples will be provided later.
3. With two exceptions the food was just adequate but not excellent. The Germans have a tendency to grind up anything lying around loose and stuff it into a sausage casing to serve it at any meal of the day.
Typical German Person, “Richterwich gutemer dei weismutten Americiancus.
(Here are some particularly disgusting pig entrails. Let’s grind them up and stuff
them into a sausage casing. The Americans will eat them.)
Maybe it’s just another manifestation of German recycling.
4. The Germans are fascinated with fahrts. When you drive down the highways,
every few miles you see a sign that says Ausfahrt. When entering a highway there is a big sign that says Einfahrt. At the airport you will find an Abfahrt and there is a road sign that says Vofahrt beachten. The only place I know that has a greater interest in fahrts is the TV program, South Park. It’s disgusting
5. For a while it appeared that our last day would not really be our last day at all. I need to explain that.
We awoke very early on Saturday, the day of our escape, only to find several inches of new snow on the ground. That was not so bad, except we also found it on the streets and the sidewalks. I thought the snow might be a problem since we had to drive to Düsseldorf to catch our flight to Mallorca.

I swept off the car, the right one this time, with a large broom and put all our luggage into the trunk. I then loaded Lynn into the car and backed out of the parking lot onto the street. So far, so good. We were headed up the short hill we had to climb in order to get out. I put the car in low gear and carefully eased out the clutch. The car did not move forward at all—it moved sideways. I tried to get the car out of the middle of the street by driving back into our parking space. I missed and drove into a bush instead. One of the Germans watching this whole procedure suggested that I back down the hill to a less steep part and “make a run for it.” “What the hell,” I thought. I tried it. It didn’t work. We are now stuck about a half-mile from the top of the hill rather than just fifty yards or centimeters or deciliters or whatever. The helpful German is probably still laughing. I assumed, at this point, that we might be here until the spring thaw, a thought that brought tears to my eyes. They froze on my face.

I stayed with the car while Lynn slipped and slid back up the hill on foot to our resort to call the airline to change our flight reservations to a later time.

It’s now four hours later. Finally someone put a lot of salt on the street. The salt turned the snow to slush, which allowed the tires to get some traction, and we escaped. We had only 120 snowy millograms to go to get to Düsseldorf.

We stopped for diesel fuel and breakfast. By this time I was starving so I ordered a big breakfast. I didn’t even need a menu. In my best German I ordered a “three egg umlaut.” Lynn and the waitperson seemed amused. I never did figure out why.

We finally made it to the airport and turned in our rental car and settled in to amuse ourselves for the eight hours we had to wait for our flight. We amused ourselves by watching the passersby and speculating about what they did for a living. We decided most of them were spies. Why not? Here we were at an exotic international airport in the middle of Europe, listening to people speak a variety of languages. I’m pretty sure most of them are spies. I have, after all, seen every James Bond movie ever made.

A significant number of the passersby had dogs. Some were walking on leashes (the dogs not the passersby). Some were in backpacks. Some were in carry-on luggage. Most of them were fairly small dogs, but some were pretty good sized. We then wondered if the dogs were also involved in spying. There was a scene from the movie Men in Black involving a small dog who was not what he seemed. I’m pretty sure the dogs were spies as well.

I’m sure you can tell by now that spending a week in Germany in freezing snowy weather can have a very negative impact on one’s mental facilities. The deteriorated mental condition could also be attributable to the onset of starvation. To test this hypothesis, we went to the airport restaurant nearby and ordered whatever meal was due—it’s easy to lose track. The food was unusually good for airport food and, although a number of dogs joined their folks in the restaurant, all of them (the dogs) were at least as well behaved as our East Texas cowboys and none of them wore their hats in the restaurant.