WITH Aleida’s arrival, and it has not stopped since. I have been lucky enough to have the visit of a lifetime- two of my three sisters have come to travel around Europe with me. It has been an exciting, hilarious, stressful, confusing, adventuresome, exhausting, interesting, unexpected, very meaningful and totally unique experience so far.
It did all begin with Aleida’s first day in Stuttgart, where I kept her awake after her long flight by walking her all over downtown Stuttgart. Favorite moments included Fiona getting a special treat at the Markthalle….
and walking (and practicing walking) amongst the ducks and pigeons near the Neues Schloss.
I even made Aleida find her way back from the downtown metro stop on her own (not by herself, I don’t mean to imply that I abandoned her downtown Hansel and Gretel style- I’m not that mean of a hostess, I just wanted to give her a challenge see if she remembered in her jet-laggy state of mind). It was very impressive to me that after a grueling transatlantic flight (in which she entertained rows 9-13 with Primary songs playing from her i-phone while she watched a movie with headphones on) she was able to remember which line and direction to take on the U-Bahn, which stop to get off of and then also how to get to our apartment from the metro stop. I probably tired her out, but that was a good thing in the long run, since it helped her to avoid the jet lag issue.
The next day we wanted to go on an adventure, so we decided we would walk to the train station and based on the departures in the upcoming hour, we would take the next train to the most interesting sounding city in Baden-Württemberg.
Deutsche Bahn has this really nice ticket deal I love to take advantage of when I have the opportunity. In every state, you can buy a Laender Ticket where up to five people can enjoy unlimited travel for one day within that state. I’ve seen that prices can vary according to the state; ours was 28 EUR. Pros: Cheaper than buying round trip ticket yourself; you don’t have to buy the ticket ahead of time; you don’t have to worry about catching a train at a specific time either. Cons: You can only travel within the state and you cannot travel with the faster trains.
We had several options we considered upon arrival at Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof and I think our first choice was Bern, Switzerland. However, given the rainy weather, the train times and that it was already afternoon, we realized that would not be the most practical option, so we decided on ULM.
I didn’t really know a lot about Ulm except that it had an important church and was the birthplace of Albert Einstein.
It is too late here and I am trying to be more consistent with posting even if I don’t finish what I would like, so I’m going to go ahead and stop here and continue the post about Ulm later. I will try to improve on my above introduction to Ulm and end with some better cliffhangers so that you will want to find out what happens next:
..as we boarded the train, we realized that Aleida had cleared her throat when buying the ticket, and that was why we were now going to Ulm instead of Bern!
..as we boarded the train, we realized that Aleida would be forced to confront her greatest fear, as the Ulm Munster has the highest steeple in the world!
…as we boarded the train, Aleida realized that Ulm was one of the few cities on our itinerary which does NOT have a chocolate museum, and in a fit of rage at my ineptitude of planning, she pelted me with hard mints and travel size soaps until I promised her I would buy her some hot chocolate at a cafe.
Ok, none of these things actually happened, except we did find out that the Ulm church IS the tallest church in the world, and I will put a picture up in the next post.