Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
36Trip End Ongoing
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We waited and waited and waited... got a bit hungry so decided to try out one of the hot dogs from a VENDING MACHINE (eeewwww!).
So this extremely late train took us to the Frankfurt Airport and from there we were to transfer to a local light rail to the main train station across the street from our hotel. Of course this train is also late by over 40 mins! Enough! We decided to pay the 25 Euros and take a cab from the airport to our hotel. We checked in and said good night. We were all so tired from an extremely long day and needed the energy to wake up early and catch our train to Italy in the morning. Luckily, we were only across the street!
The next morning I woke up early and decided to use the hotel gym. They had a pool on the top floor as well as weights and a few exercise bikes. It was completely empty, I had the whole place to myself and tried it all, except for the pool as it reeked of too much chlorine, though the idea of swimming on the 14th floor was appealing. I came back to the room and woke up sleeping beauty (that would be Marty) so we could meet my parents, get some breakfast and check out. By the way, the nice thing about Frankfurt hotels is that there is a lot of competition for the businessman's dollar. Almost all of them offer free buffet breakfast and free minibar with fruit and snacks and drinks (though non alcoholic) and a couple of free drinks at the bar upon check in. All for really low rates. Our hotel was not as nice looking as the one in Koblenz but it was comfortable and the amenities were many, which made up for it, plus it was across the street from the train station which was the real reason why I booked it.
So at about 11 am we made our way to the train station or Hauptbahnhof in Frankfurt. It is truly a train station out of the movies. Its large with glass ceilings and row upon row of tracks. It has a variety of stores and restaurants and people everywhere. The energy of the station really solidifies that feeling of anticipation before you travel. It was a perfect set up for the next leg of our adventure.
So we boarded the train and found our seats, stowed our luggage as best we could since it had really no space for large suitcases. Ridiculous but true. Why an international train would not have adequate space for the riders personal belongings is beyond me, but we made do and prepared ourselves for the long ride through the south of Germany to Basel and then continuing on over the Swiss Alps and into Italy. The whole trip would take about 9 hours.
The beginning of the trip was easy going. We talked and read and planned a little bit for the next coming days and of course joked around. But the best was that Dad had been teasing Mom for around a half an hour and then karma got him back. Just as he was beginning to tease her again, he also was opening his water bottle which spilled out all over him and his pants. So now it was our turn to tease him! Geez Dad, I knew you were gettin on in years, but incontinence too? We should have gotten him some pampers for the long ride... Mom had tears it was funny...
Close to the border of germany and Switzerland is Basel. A sweet little city with pretty buildings and color everywhere. Plants and trees were blooming, and everything is painted one color or another. More in the pastel shades than anything, and the money is really beautiful. Swiss Francs are brightly with interesting design and pictures.
I just want to point out, that haircuts that we often think of as "alternative" or risky are the norm in Deutschland and also I guess in Switzerland. I have seen more 6 year olds with mohawks here than I have ever seen in my life. And I don't even know how many fauxhawks and variations there of that I have seen. Countless. I am pretty sure that 1 in every 5 males has some sort of variation of this cut. Including the youngsters as can be seen in this picture. But what gets me is how easily they wear it and how good it can sometimes look!
So we boarded our next train that would take us to Milan. This would be the leg of our journey that would take us through the Swiss Alps. We had huge viewing windows and large comfortable seats. But of course again, no room for luggage...
So I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to, as the windows provided a glare that just ruined the pictures, but it was quite a lovely ride. We went through tunnels and valleys, along lakes and through the passes. The town of Lausanne looks so lovely, I want to go back and visit it at less than 30 miles an hour, and hopefully we can rent a car and drive over the pass next time. We happened to sit next to a couple from the Netherlands that normally drives to their vacation destination at Lake Como. But this year the Highway through the pass experienced a land slide and a boulder the size of a MAC Truck was sitting on the highway blocking all lanes. No one was hurt, but it took days for them to blast the rock and clear the road. So this year they spent the extra money and took the train. Normally driving it takes only 13 hours from where they live to Italy. Thats like driving from SF to Las Vegas, except instead of being in the desert you are in ITALY! I think I like the latter choice better.
So after a long day of train riding, we finally pulled into the Milan station, our hotel was not far, but none of us had the energy to schlepp luggage and search for a hotel, so we grabbed a cab and made our way to our next temporary home. Tomorrow morning we would explore a little bit of the city and in the evening my Brother would be flying in to meet us...