Today, we left for Germany. In exchange for having my blog go private, JB and I decided before we left for the Middle East that I would just be extra careful on what information I share for the “world” to read. We didn’t want to provide information about when we were leaving Base, what rotator we were taking, where we were staying, that sort of thing. So … while I did mention we were going to Germany before I remembered this fact, I didn’t divulge any extra information. I am writing this today, Wednesday September 29, 2010, the day we left for Germany. However, I will not be posting this as a blog until I get back. Throughout the next ten days, you'll be getting to read about my trip. I'll post a day of blog for each day that passes. So it'll be just like we are in Germany but not. Ha.
All right. So, Day One of our trip. This included a roll call at the hangar on Base at 9am before taking the rotator (a military flight) to Germany. We dropped Scrubs off with Shane and Linda (thanks guys!) last night so that this morning, we could just get the boys dressed, luggage loaded, and board our plane.
We were flying “Space A.” This stands for “Space Available.” There are various levels of Space A travel which determines how far up in the list you are. Today, it didn’t matter. There was plenty of space on the rotator for anyone who wanted a flight to Germany. We’ve been told that as long as you are flying when school is in session (in other words, not Christmas or Summer Break), you will get a seat.
We not only got seats (for free!), we got GREAT seats. Four in a row in bulkhead (those are the seats behind the big wall that have extra leg room). We brought the boys car seats but “opted” not to use them when they didn’t fit. But they (the boys not the car seats) did fantastically on the trip. Elijah took a short snooze while Isaac watched some of Cars. The rest of the time was spent eating a lollipop (which despite being both red, caused a big fight as one was cherry and one was strawberry) and playing with our sticker book from Joni! It was, no surprise here, Cars, and was a huge hit. We stuck them all over the bulkhead wall (they peel right up), each other, ourselves, anywhere to pass some time.
The only downside of taking the rotator is that you have to be there for roll call around 8:30 in the morning. The flight didn’t leave until well after noon. You would think that there would be a more efficient way of figuring out who was getting a seat and who wasn’t then having the entire group of hopeful individuals hunker down in the hangar for four hours. (Especially when there were more than enough seats to go around.) I came up with all kinds of good ideas for improving this system while we were passing the time. But, I must remind myself that the military is a government-run organization and a more efficient way would take more red tape than any one person probably wants to deal with.
We arrived on Ramstein Air Force Base around dinner time and emerged from customs to fifty degree weather. We were picked up by our rental car company, got our car, returned to Base to get some free card that allows us to buy gas for half the price (I still don’t know what this is or how we got it but we did) and were then off on the two hour drive to Beilstein, a town just outside of Cochem, Germany.
I’ve always been good with writing. But writing about beauty that you see with the eye has never been my strongpoint. I am not sure that I am capable of sharing with you the amazing creativity we observed from our car windows during this two hour drive from Ramstein to the quaint little town we were staying in. Creativity of our Lord God I mean.
As JB drove and our new GPS friend navigated (I like her and her British accent – it was our first time using GPS and we really liked her/it!), I imagined God running his strong fingers through the earth so many years ago as he created the rolling hillsides we drove through on our way to our lodging for our week long vacation. I could picture him, paintbrush in hand, coloring them every shade of green you can imagine, and then allowing fall to provide even more colors and variation to his artwork. Vineyards and small German towns waited for us around every bend. Cobblestone streets and tastefully advertised pubs presented just the sort of picture of Germany we had in our minds to our reality. Delightful.
And upon our arrival, our hotel presented the perfect bit of quaintness JB and I so appreciate. More on that when the sun comes up tomorrow morning.