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Old 11-04-2013, 06:47 PM   #391
pkondz
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I'm being a bad DISer... not keeping up.

And not really caring all that much!


Quote:
Originally Posted by queenbetsey View Post
Happy Belated Birthday Ponzie!
Thanks Bets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenbetsey View Post
I agree it must have made a great picture all of you standing staring at the bathroom.
Thought about this trip report at work the other day/ The kids were watching Phantom of the Opera and remembered your pics of the opera house, then I remembered the bathroom pic with the image of the four of you gathered around it.... yeah not a good thing to giggle in the middle of that movie. Poor form when you are supposed to be the grown up
Only three of us were staring at the bathroom at any given time.

I'll have to rent or buy or something Phantom of the Opera... it's been too long.


Quote:
Originally Posted by buzz1121 View Post
So Pkondz, did you and your family do anything special for your birthday?
Got some nice prezzies from the rugrats.
Then we went out to our favorite restaurant, The Keg.
Had Escargot and Fillet Mignon with lobster tail and twice baked potato.


mmmmmmmmmmmmm............



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Awww...I feel special.
And so you should.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I know I shouldn't really laugh at that, but we (me and a co-worker of mine) use the definition of jealousy to convey to the students we work with that jealousy is not a bad thing, it's just in how you approach it with your significant other and how you deal with it that can make it healthy or unhealthy...and unfortunately because that is engraved in my mind now, it's the first thing I thought of when i read your response.
So.....
should I be jealous?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I'm not a good resistor anyway...is resistor even a word? Hmm...

Resistance isn't my strong suite.
Resistor is a word. At least in electronics.

But you might not want to tell narrow minded people if you're a transistor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
At least you have a smiling face to look at...although I'm not sure if that would be a good thing.
NOT a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Poor thing. That would be me. The first time I ever went roller blading I was rolling down a huge hill and there were people just at the bottom of the hill walking along. I knew there were two options for me. Either I could somehow leap over the little rut that was in the sidewalk and possibly crash into the couple walking, or fall on my butt. I chose the latter option for the safety of all involved.
Safety of all involved?
What about your... ummm....

uh..

what about you???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I was one of the worst picky eaters when i was younger. I wouldn't eat sauteed mushrooms because they looked gross. I wouldn't eat Tuna, because it smelled gross. Most of my childhood was spent making frozen chicken nuggets while everyone else ate some home cooked meal. Once I got to college I started learning to step outside the box on food, but I still see things, such as escargot, and think, no way...
Yeah, I'll eat escargot, but there's no way I'll eat snails!
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:22 AM   #392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
So.....
should I be jealous?
It depends. If you feel like something you love (i.e., my postings) is being threatened, then sure...be jealous. Just don't over do it






Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Safety of all involved?
What about your... ummm....

uh..

what about you???
Plenty of padding on me. So all that was bruised outside of that was my ego.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Yeah, I'll eat escargot, but there's no way I'll eat snails!
[/QUOTE]

Duly noted!
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:47 PM   #393
pkondz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
It depends. If you feel like something you love (i.e., my postings) is being threatened, then sure...be jealous. Just don't over do it
When have you ever known me to over do anything???


DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!
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Canadian Buffoon's Vacation - PTR/mini TR
Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
When have you ever known me to over do anything???


DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #395
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To Hell in a carry-on

Moving day!

Today we depart France for Germany.

We have a noon train to catch from the North train station (Gare du Nord).


We pack up our suitcases and head off for our final ride on the Paris metro.

And thus began our descent into hell.


Before leaving Canada, I'd given the girls some suggestions for packing.
Unfortunately, Kay took me a little too literally.

I had told them that they should dress for hot temperatures... but to make sure they had clothes for when it rained...
plus we were planning to go to the Alps so it might be cold.


Actually, it kinda amazes me that she could fit her entire flipping wardrobe into one suitcase.

One heavy suitcase...

No, wait... That doesn't look right.

One HEAVY suitcase.



Elle had packed her suitcase, which we'd borrowed from my Mom, and she had no problems with it.

Ruby has a lightweight suitcase with matching carrion which gave her a bit of trouble.
We couldn't figure out a way to attach the carrion to the larger bag, so it kept slipping off.


I'm gonna use Nebo's "carrion".
I think it's clever.
Although to be honest, whenever I think of a "carry-on", the following runs through my admittedly warped mind:

"All right fella, what's in the bag?"
"Nothing, sir!"
"Nothing, eh? Come on! Out with it! What've ya got in there?"
"Just some personal items and liquids in very small containers which are all inside a clear plastic bag and some stuff that I don't trust the baggage handlers with... Sir!"
"Wellll.... all right. I'll let you go this time, but next time you might not be so lucky.... Carry on."


My lightweight suitcase and carrion were fine.

Kay had an older suitcase which would've been okay...
unless of course you have 400 lbs of clothing in it.

So Elle handled her suitcase.
Ruby handled her suitcase.
Kay handled Ruby's carrion.
And I struggled along with my suitcase, my carrion and Kay's 400 lb behemoth.

As we walked towards the metro station, I regularly had to stop and switch the suitcases.
After walking for a bit with Kay's suitcase in my right hand, my left side would start to ache.
Switch.
Walk a bit.
Now the right side is starting to ache.
Walk some more.
Ache.
Pause.
Switch.

Repeat ad infinitum.

When we got to the metro station, after struggling through the gates, we were confronted with our first set of stairs.

It's all just a blur now, but I think this is how we did it:

Elle and I would go down the stairs. Ruby and Kay would wait at the top.
I'd leave Elle to guard the two bags.
I'd trudge back up to the top and grab another bag.
Sometimes Ruby and Kay, together, would wrestle the last bag down.
Sometimes I'd bring it down.

Did you know there's a lot of stairs in the Paris metro?

A lot.


We never did see an elevator or escalator that day.
We'd seen them in other stations... but usually they were for exiting.
We weren't exiting.

Ever.


I think we had to go down four or five separate flights.


After a metro train had stopped and opened its doors, we boarded.
(Happy now T_Man?)

We were a bit concerned that we'd get split up with the crowd,
but everyone knew where we were going next so we weren't panicking.

At Gare du Nord, we all piled out and started looking for the platform where we'd catch our train.

Of course first we had to climb a few flights of stairs.



And then we couldn't find the platform!

We had to catch the Thalys train to Cologne.
At first there were signs all over the place with Thalys and an arrow pointing up flights of stairs.
Then the signs just.

Stopped.

I asked a couple of security guards/cops/military personnel/costumed party goers.....



... where the platform was, and they kindly vaguely motioned up a flight of stairs.

<sigh>

Behold.... a vision of hell.
(Warning the following contains a graphic scene which some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.)



<shudder>

Yes. I took a picture of stairs.
I had to either laugh about it or run around in circles while waving my arms and screaming.

After I stopped screaming, we mounted these last (thank Gawd) set of stairs.


We were in the right area, we could even see a Thalys train,
but there was no indication if it was our train.

I inquired at the Thalys desk and was told that they don't let you know which track/train is yours until 15 minutes before departure.

I have no idea why.

Anyway, here's the train.



The Thalys high speed train from Paris to Cologne travels at speeds up to 300 kmh (186 mph) and covers the roughly 500 kms (310 miles) in three hours and fifteen minutes (some stops along the way).
After 15 years in operation, there's only been two accidents.

At exactly 11:45 they finally anounced the track for the Thalys train to Cologne.
Everybody had 15 minutes to scramble like mad to find the right track, then the right car and finally the right seats.

It was a bit of a zoo... a panicky zoo... but we managed to get on before it was too late.

Oh, sure, that little ol' lady we bowled over will never be the same,
but it was survival of the fittest out there!
Every man for himself!

What?


Because I had booked well in advance (just like booking CRT meals at Disney!) we got a discount on our tickets. (not like booking CRT meals at Disney!)
Four first class tickets were only slightly more then second class.

Our first class tickets actually saved us money since not only did we get more comfortable seats, but we got a free meal served to us.

Well.... about that.
Here's my meal:



Sliced tomato salad with a side of vinagrette, cold bean salad, prosciutto, some cheese that I can't remember, a polenta like substance, cherries and a bun.

I liked it.

I don't remember for sure what the brats ordered... but I know they didn't like it.
Too different, I guess.

Elle stole my cherries.
She's evil that way.


Also on the train that day was the person with the world's loudest phone.
I swear, this thing went off and we all looked at each other as if to confirm, "Yes? You hear it too? I'm not dreaming?"
I can only assume it was that loud because it had to be heard over the noise of the train... and wake him up... if he was in another room... in a building that was on a different continent.

Seriously, On August 6th, around 6am Eastern.
Did you hear a loud ringing?
That was him.

There was also a gentleman on the train who brought two toilet bowl cleaners with him.
You know... puntables.

Small dogs.

One was well behaved and lay down quietly the whole trip.
The other...

I'm not sure, but I think if you took Satan and shoved him in a small furry four legged body... he'd be that dog.
Every time someone would walk by, all you could hear was barking, snarling and growling.
The gentleman, perhaps bowing to the inevitable, made no move to quiet Satan.

It makes sense, of course.
I mean, first we descend into hell, then we meet Satan.

It's obvious, in hindsight.


Later on, a staff member came by and offered sandwichs.
I had to try one when she said it was cheese and fig.

meh.
It was okay, but I wouldn't bother having another one.


Eventually, Kay mentioned that she had to use the restroom, but wasn't sure where it was.
I went with her to find one.
I walked first to the closer end of the train where I was told that the washroom there was not in service, but there was one at the other end of the car.
We turned around and headed in the opposite direction.

Darn it if I hadn't forgotten about Satan.
As I walked past the aforementioned gentleman, I noticed a small dog sleeping at his feet.

Aww. Nice puppy. I miss my dog.

Suddenly, Satan comes charging out from under the seat, barking and snarling and trying....
Well it's a small dog, so I'm gonna say... trying to gnaw on my ankle.

Still, scared the prac out of me (I 'membered this time, Heather)


After a few hours, we arrive in Cologne, Germany.
Upon exiting the train station, the first thing you see is this



I'll have more to say about the incredible Cologne Cathedral in the next chapter.
Right now we're tired and want to get rid of our bags, so we set off to find a taxi to take us to our hotel.

There's four of us with all our luggage.
No teeny tiny euro clown car is going to work.
One of the drivers is commandeering a van, and after sizing up our haul, agrees to take us.
Once all the bags are loaded and we cram ourselves into the cab, I tell the driver that we're going to the Art'otel Cologne.

I'm usually a pretty quick study.
Well, sometimes I'm a pretty quick study...

If you hit me over the head often enough, I eventually realize that something's going on.


The driver's look of disbelief clued me in that perhaps the hotel wasn't overly far away.

Turns out it was about one mile away.


I don't know what to think here.
I get that he didn't have far to drive... but it's his job, right?
I also get that Europeans walk a lot more than your typical person on this side of the pond.
But then again, we did have a ton of bags to schlepp...

What do you think?
Would you walk a mile with suitcases?
Or would you take a cab?

More on this in a couple of chapters.


We arrive at our hotel where I've booked two rooms.
One for the the rugrats
The other for us.

Or you could say, I booked two rooms in an effort to preserve what little sanity we might have left after spending the last few days in one room together.

The kids' room




Evil suitcase in bottom right hand corner!!!


Our room





The green tinge comes from the green tinted windows that were there.
I have no idea, why.
Style? UV blocking? One way?

Wasn't it nice of Elle to come by and model our room for us?

Now get out.

This hotel was ultra modern and was easily Kay's favorite of the trip.


After we had settled in, it was time to find someplace to have supper.
Between our hotel and the train station, I had read that there was a shopping area and an area where there was a collection of restaurants.

We set out and found a nice place to sit outside and have dinner.

Our view from our table



We lucked out with the restaurant as it was the best meal we'd had so far.
I think it was even the best meal of the trip.
I don't remember exactly what everyone had, but I know some of the highlights were sausages and pork steaks.
It was all really, really good.

Now, I'm not a beer drinker.
Usually I'll order almost anything else before I'll have a beer.
But Cologne is known for it's own brand of beer, called Kölsch.

When in Rome....
But when in Germany, drink beer.

So I ordered one.



Not bad, actually.


After dinner, we strolled along Schildergasse.

Schildergasse is the busiest shopping street in all of Europe.
How busy?

How about 13,000 people... every hour.





We strolled the street for a while and popped into a few shops,
but eventually we decided that we were done for the day and it was time to head back to the hotel.

We'd turned around a lot.

So we got lost.


We wandered in what I thought was the right direction for a bit, but couldn't find anything that we recognized.

So on this leg of the race, to find our pit stop, we did what any good team would do.

We popped into a hotel and asked for directions.


And once again, I've totally blown any chance of ever getting my man card back.

Men do not ask for directions.
Ever.

Ah well.


It turns out that we were headed in the right direction, we were just one street over from where we wanted to be.


As we sashayed back to our hotel, we discussed our plans for the next day.
I was really looking forward to knocking another item off my bucket list.

For years I'd heard that one of the nicer ways to see Germany was via a Rhine river cruise.

I had done tons of research on how we could fit a cruise into our itinerary.
I discovered that it's best to cruise from south to north (with the current).
I found that the best part of the Rhine was from Bacharach to Koblenz.
I also learned that you couldn't get tickets in advance, but that there was always plenty of room on board.

Our original plan was to take a train down, take a day cruise up the Rhine then take another train over to Munich.
With a little more digging, we decided that it would be easier to stay another night in Cologne.
This way we could leave our bags in the hotel instead of either lugging them along everywhere on the ship
or storing them in a locker at a train station....
that we'd have to double back to.

The only hitch was the train travel.
If we waited until the day of to get our tickets we ran a small risk of finding that the train was full.

So I purchased the train tickets in advance.

We leave Cologne at 7:53am and arrive Bacharach at 9:30am.
We then have 45 minutes to catch the ship.
If for some reason we miss the ship, there's another one an hour later.
Depending on which ship we're on, we would arrive in Koblenz at 1:10pm or 2:10pm.
Lastly we catch the 3:15pm train which gets us back to Cologne by 4pm.

So we're all set! I can't wait!


Anyway, on the walk back to the hotel, we decided not to do it.


.....


I had made a promise to Ruby that this would not be a GO! GO! GO! trip.
She said she was tired and didn't really want to get up early since we'd just had a full travel day.
Kay didn't want to go either. She wanted to relax, too.
Plus I think she thought it would be boring... which, to be honest, it might've been for her.

Elle wanted to go. But Ruby's vote holds more weight.

It wound up costing us about 100 euros in non-refundable train tickets,
but it wasn't worth keeping our plans if it was going to make Ruby (and Kay) miserable.


Oh, well.
I've done the research.
Maybe next time.


As we got close to our hotel, we decided on a quick detour to a building that was quite literally a stone's throw from our hotel.

I mean, who wouldn't?

Wouldn't you?

It was the Lindt chocolate factory and museum.


Unfortunately, the museum had just closed.
But (surprise, surprise) the gift shop was still open for a bit longer.



We looked and salivated for a bit then bought some goodies for ourselves and for friends and family back home.

Some of the goodies up for sale.





mmmmmm... chocolate.

Back at the hotel, we gathered up our laundry so we could get it done the next day.
I have no idea where a laundromat is, and I don't want to know.
The hotel can do it!
Why not?
We're on vacation!

Next chapter I'll tell you why not.
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Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice. - Allan Arbus as Dr. Sidney Freedman - RIP

Teenage Mutant Backseat Dancers - A Canadian Buffoon Adventure
Canadian Buffoon's Vacation - PTR/mini TR
Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
Just a silly little TR - run away!



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Last edited by pkondz; 02-26-2014 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:49 PM   #396
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Yay! Somehow I caught this on the day of your update! I feel so special now.

Only one of your girls had a heavy bag? I'm thinking you're a very lucky guy....

Nice to have the first class seat with the meal. I'm surprised they didn't have the phone guy turn it down. When we took the commuter train down from Vancouver to Seattle, we got the business class, and they had a no phone rule - you had to step out in the wind tunnel to make a call.

Beautiful view when you stepped off the train! Your dinner venue looked like it was all ready for Oktoberfest! Looks like a great find! Nice hotel rooms! I just thought the green color was for style.

Now I am disappointed that you won't be taking us on the Rhine cruise, but I guess we got to see the chocolate in the gift shop, so that's almost as good.

Nice chapter - thanks for sharing it!
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:24 PM   #397
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
To Hell in a carry-on

Moving day!




We pack up our suitcases and head off for our final ride on the Paris metro.

And thus began our descent into hell.

uh oh!

Before leaving Canada, I'd given the girls some suggestions for packing.
Unfortunately, Kay took me a little too literally.

I had told them that they should dress for hot temperatures... but to make sure they had clothes for when it rained...
plus we were planning to go to the Alps so it might be cold.


Actually, it kinda amazes me that she could fit her entire flipping wardrobe into one suitcase.

One heavy suitcase...

No, wait... That doesn't look right.

One HEAVY suitcase.

reminds me of one trip where I didn't want to wait for pop century to deliver our suticase. I wanted to go get them ourselves. ths was PRE-rolled luggage days, and nebo put his back out carrying one of my suitcases.

now why did I have to go remind him of that?


I'm gonna use Nebo's "carrion".
I think it's clever.

aw, he will be ever to honored!


Although to be honest, whenever I think of a "carry-on", the following runs through my admittedly warped mind:

"All right fella, what's in the bag?"
"Nothing, sir!"
"Nothing, eh? Come on! Out with it! What've ya got in there?"
"Just some personal items and liquids in very small containers which are all inside a clear plastic bag and some stuff that I don't trust the baggage handlers with... Sir!"
"Wellll.... all right. I'll let you go this time, but next time you might not be so lucky.... Carry on."

"carry on, my wayward son

So Elle handled her suitcase.
Ruby handled her suitcase.
Kay handled Ruby's carrion.
And I struggled along with my suitcase, my carrion and Kay's 400 lb behemoth.

As we walked towards the metro station, I regularly had to stop and switch the suitcases.
After walking for a bit with Kay's suitcase in my right hand, my left side would start to ache.
Switch.
Walk a bit.

when we get to the airport, we each have one rolling suitcase and one carrion. and then there is the boarding bag. which,.for some reason, I always end of lugging. I do the hip switch thin quite often. and about once every 15 minutes I complain to Nebo "you're NO riglee!" at which point he corrects me "rig, the boyfriend was rig".. nice deflection....

Now the right side is starting to ache.
Walk some more.
Ache.
Pause.
Switch.

Repeat ad infinitum.

When we got to the metro station, after struggling through the gates, we were confronted with our first set of stairs.

It's all just a blur now, but I think this is how we did it:

Elle and I would go down the stairs. Ruby and Kay would wait at the top.
I'd leave Elle to guard the two bags.
I'd trudge back up to the top and grab another bag.
Sometimes Ruby and Kay, together, would wrestle the last bag down.
Sometimes I'd bring it down.

this reminded me of that brain teaser with the fox, the goose, the basket of corn and a boat that can only bring one across at a time. but you can't leave the fox and goose alone, nore the goose and the corn. so which 2 couldn't YOU leave alone?

I'm thinking they made sure not to leave YOU alone with the 400 lb. behemouth.. you might "accidentally spill some of the contents...


Did you know there's a lot of stairs in the Paris metro?

A lot.


We never did see an elevator or escalator that day.
We'd seen them in other stations... but usually they were for exiting.
We weren't exiting.

Ever.

"will they ever return? no they never returned.. and their fate is still unlearned. they will ride forever neath the streets of Boston. their the group that never returned...."





Also on the train that day was the person with the world's loudest phone.
I swear, this thing went off and we all looked at each other as if to confirm, "Yes? You hear it too? I'm not dreaming?"
I can only assume it was that loud because it had to be heard over the noise of the train... and wake him up... if he was in another room... in a building that was on a different continent.

Seriously, On August 6th, around 6am Eastern.
Did you hear a loud ringing?
That was him.

There was also a gentleman on the train who brought two toilet bowl cleaners with him.
You know... puntables.

Small dogs.

One was well behaved and lay down quietly the whole trip.
The other...

I'm not sure, but I think if you took Satan and shoved him in a small furry four legged body... he'd be that dog.
Every time someone would walk by, all you could hear was barking, snarling and growling.
The gentleman, perhaps bowing to the inevitable, made no move to quiet Satan.

It makes sense, of course.
I mean, first we descend into hell, then we meet Satan.

It's obvious, in hindsight.

loud phones, yapping dogs, yes, you were in hell.

After a few hours, we arrive in Cologne, Germany.
Upon exiting the train station, the first thing you see is this


now that is beautiful!

I don't know what to think here.
I get that he didn't have far to drive... but it's his job, right?
I also get that Europeans walk a lot more than your typical person on this side of the pond.
But then again, we did have a ton of bags to schlepp...

What do you think?
Would you walk a mile with suitcases?
Or would you take a cab?
no queston. I'
d take a cab even if I didnt have baggage.






Evil suitcase in bottom right hand corner!!!


Our room





The green tinge comes from the green tinted windows that were there.
I have no idea, why.
Style? UV blocking? One way?
looks more chartruese to me.

Wasn't it nice of Elle to come by and model our room for us?

Now get out.




We set out and found a nice place to sit outside and have dinner.

Our view from our table



We lucked out with the restaurant as it was the best meal we'd had so far.
I think it was even the best meal of the trip.
I don't remember exactly what everyone had, but I know some of the highlights were sausages and pork steaks.
It was all really, really good.

Now, I'm not a beer drinker.
Usually I'll order almost anything else before I'll have a beer.
But Cologne is known for it's own brand of beer, called Kölsch.

When in Rome....
But when in Germany, drink beer.

So I ordered one.



Not bad, actually.

now that looks like a great place to eat. and I love my beer! I'll bet you had better food than some polenta and grapes

We strolled the street for a while and popped into a few shops,
but eventually we decided that we were done for the day and it was time to head back to the hotel.
I am one of the few women on this earth who isn't into shopping.. meh




I was really looking forward to knocking another item off my bucket list.

For years I'd heard that one of the nicer ways to see Germany was via a Rhine river cruise.

I had done tons of research on how we could fit a cruise into our itinerary.
I discovered that it's best to cruise from south to north (with the current).
I found that the best part of the rhine was from Bacharach to Koblenz.
I also learned that you couldn't get tickets in advance, but that there was always plenty of room on board.

Our original plan was to take a train down, take a day cruise up the Rhine then take another train over to Munich.
With a little more digging, we decided that it would be easier to stay another night in Cologne.
This way we could leave our bags in the hotel instead of either lugging them along everywhere on the ship
or storing them in a locker at a train station....
that we'd have to double back to.

The only hitch was the train travel.
If we waited until the day of to get our tickets we ran a small risk of finding that the train was full.

So I purchased the train tickets in advance.

We leave Cologne at 7:53am and arrive Bacharach at 9:30am.
We then have 45 minutes to catch the ship.
If for some reason we miss the ship, there's another one an hour later.
Depending on which ship we're on, we would arrive in Koblenz at 1:10pm or 2:10pm.
Lastly we catch the 3:15pm train which gets us back to Cologne by 4pm.

So we're all set! I can't wait!


Anyway, on the walk back to the hotel, we decided not to do it.


.....

um.. I am almost as disappointed as you probably were, a cruise down the Rhine? sound lovely.


mmmmmm... chocolate.
nuff said!

Back at the hotel, we gathered up our laundry so we could get it done the next day.
I have no idea where a laundromat is, and I don't want to know.
The hotel can do it!
Why not?
We're on vacation!

Next chapter I'll tell you why not.
I can only imagine...
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #398
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Ponzi, I hear you on those train station steps, LOL. Been there, done that...

I swear you followed in my foot steps in Cologne, I think we ate at the same restaurant (outside), visited the chocolate factory (except it was actually open), and of course visited the Dome.

Too bad about the river cruise and wasting the money, but peace is ultimately worth the price.

Great update, thanks!
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:46 AM   #399
pkondz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Yay! Somehow I caught this on the day of your update! I feel so special now.
Which is really, really ironic.
I'd been meaning to start this last chapter for a few days, but I was away from the boards for a bit and had a bunch of other people's TRs to catch up on first.

It was starting to look like work, so I put it off for another day or so.

Finally I knuckled down and spent a day commenting and catching up.


Then you went and posted an update on your TR.


So I had to make a choice.
Write my chapter and respond to yours later?
Or respond to yours and keep postponing this one.


Well, you know what happened....
But I will be getting to yours later today or tonight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Only one of your girls had a heavy bag? I'm thinking you're a very lucky guy....
Only one girl had a heavy bag load in a crappy bag.
I have no idea if Elle's was heavy or not, she managed okay. That's all I know!


Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Nice to have the first class seat with the meal. I'm surprised they didn't have the phone guy turn it down.
Maybe he did. We only heard it that one time.


But once was more than enough!


Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Beautiful view when you stepped off the train! Your dinner venue looked like it was all ready for Oktoberfest! Looks like a great find! Nice hotel rooms! I just thought the green color was for style.
It's the second time I've seen that view, stepping off the train.
The first time, I remember looking up, up, up as my jaw opened wider, wider, wider.

It does look like Oktoberfest, doesn't it? Yet that's pretty common except in winter.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Now I am disappointed that you won't be taking us on the Rhine cruise, but I guess we got to see the chocolate in the gift shop, so that's almost as good.

Nice chapter - thanks for sharing it!
You're disapointed! Then again, I think it'd be a nice way to relax, just the two of us, KWIM?

More chocolate, next chapter!



Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
aw, he will be ever to honored!
Don't let it go to his head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
"carry on, my wayward son
Do you think there'll be peace when I'm done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
when we get to the airport, we each have one rolling suitcase and one carrion. and then there is the boarding bag. which,.for some reason, I always end of lugging. I do the hip switch thin quite often. and about once every 15 minutes I complain to Nebo "you're NO riglee!" at which point he corrects me "rig, the boyfriend was rig".. nice deflection....
It's amazing how much of an impact that TR had, isn't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
"will they ever return? no they never returned.. and their fate is still unlearned. they will ride forever neath the streets of Boston. their the group that never returned...."
That one I had to look up. I'll have to wait until I'm home to see if I recognize the tune or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
no queston. I'
d take a cab even if I didnt have baggage.
So you wouldn't walk a mile in my shoes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
looks more chartruese to me.
Sorry, I'm a guy, so that colour doesn't exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
now that looks like a great place to eat. and I love my beer! I'll bet you had better food than some polenta and grapes


Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
I am one of the few women on this earth who isn't into shopping.. meh
Elle isn't either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstage_Gal View Post
Ponzi, I hear you on those train station steps, LOL. Been there, done that...
I know right? They never seemed to end!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstage_Gal View Post
I swear you followed in my foot steps in Cologne, I think we ate at the same restaurant (outside), visited the chocolate factory (except it was actually open), and of course visited the Dome.
Ah, but we're not done with Cologne yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstage_Gal View Post
Too bad about the river cruise and wasting the money, but peace is ultimately worth the price.
That's what I thought too.

I kept telling Ruby, "Don't worry about the train tickets. Compared to the rest of the trip, it's just a drop in the ocean."

And now that I think about it, we didn't spend something like 80 Euros on the cruise tickets, so it's pretty close to a wash anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstage_Gal View Post
Great update, thanks!
Thanks Marita!
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:29 AM   #400
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Back from hunting. Looks like I'm only a chapter behind.

Did you know that they don't let you cross the Canadian border with a loaded rifle? How silly is that? And you need something called a passport to get into that country? Who knew?

How am I ever going to hunt the elusive Pkondz tasmanian devil that way? Guess I'll have to look more into this for next year's hunt. Just might have to use Lady H to lure him out. Arrange a secret meeting that is not so secret.

Oh well. Off to catch up now.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:17 PM   #401
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man View Post
Back from hunting. Looks like I'm only a chapter behind.
Yup.
I bowed to reader requests/pressure and have slowed down the output.

Perhaps, too slow?
Or is that just me?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man View Post
Did you know that they don't let you cross the Canadian border with a loaded rifle? How silly is that? And you need something called a passport to get into that country? Who knew?
That's so weird!!!

I found the same thing when going into your country!
Except the rifle part, of course.

They wouldn't let me pass without it being loaded.
Apparently it's some rule in case you go to Texas... or drive LA freeways.

Who knew?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man View Post
How am I ever going to hunt the elusive Pkondz tasmanian devil that way?
Wrong Looney Tunes character.... see avatar for details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man View Post
Guess I'll have to look more into this for next year's hunt. Just might have to use Lady H to lure him out. Arrange a secret meeting that is not so secret.
That would probably work, everyone knows she's super cute.
That's how she got you, isn't it?
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Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:13 PM   #402
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
To Hell in a carry-on
That title sounds a little foreboding…I’m sure I like where this is headed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We pack up our suitcases and head off for our final ride on the Paris metro.

And thus began our descent into hell.
Um…I thought you were going to Germany?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
[Before leaving Canada, I'd given the girls some suggestions for packing.
Unfortunately, Kay took me a little too literally.
Uh oh…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I had told them that they should dress for hot temperatures... but to make sure they had clothes for when it rained...
plus we were planning to go to the Alps so it might be cold.
Got it. I need shorts and tanks or T’s for the hot temps, of course I need a pair for everyday there. Then I need jeans and T’s for the possible rain, again, another pair for every day just in case. Then I need sweaters and jeans for the possible cold, and now I need to make sure that I have socks for my tennis shoes, again a pair for every day. So a weeks worth of clothes turns into at least 3 weeks worth, because the weather may change instantaneously and I may need all three pairs of clothing in one single day!


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Actually, it kinda amazes me that she could fit her entire flipping wardrobe into one suitcase.
I’m rather proud of her. Maybe it’s a girl thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
One heavy suitcase...

No, wait... That doesn't look right.

One HEAVY suitcase.
I think you’re trying to subtly say something about the suitcase here…but I just can’t read between the lines…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Elle had packed her suitcase, which we'd borrowed from my Mom, and she had no problems with it.
Of course not. It was from grandma, and grandma is a girl. Therefore, she understands the purpose of a suitcase is to cram as much stuff in there as humanly possible without causing problems to anything inside the suitcase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Ruby has a lightweight suitcase with matching carrion which gave her a bit of trouble.
We couldn't figure out a way to attach the carrion to the larger bag, so it kept slipping off.
Nowadays they are advancing technology on everything, including the simplistic concept of luggage…It truly amazes me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
My lightweight suitcase and carrion were fine.
Of this I have no doubt. It’s a guy thing. The idea of, I only need 5 pairs of clothes. We can do laundry part way through, and I can wear the jeans or shorts twice before I have to wash them, unless I get something on them. This leaves plenty of room for other things, and makes the travel aspect much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Kay had an older suitcase which would've been okay...
unless of course you have 400 lbs of clothing in it.
Well there you go. It’s obvious, her next gift (Christmas is right around the corner) will have to be a new set of luggage. Although with the price of luggage now a days, it may be easier and cheaper to just deal with the herniated disc you will get later hauling it around for her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
So Elle handled her suitcase.
Ruby handled her suitcase.
Kay handled Ruby's carrion.
And I struggled along with my suitcase, my carrion and Kay's 400 lb behemoth.




Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
As we walked towards the metro station, I regularly had to stop and switch the suitcases.
After walking for a bit with Kay's suitcase in my right hand, my left side would start to ache.
Switch.
Walk a bit.
Now the right side is starting to ache.
Walk some more.
Ache.
Pause.
Switch.

Repeat ad infinitum.
All the while having to run to catch up with the girls who walked on ahead of you as you struggled, or them having to watch you go through all this and wait impatiently as you switched and switched again…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
When we got to the metro station, after struggling through the gates, we were confronted with our first set of stairs.
I was waiting for something like this. Now we know what the poor guy from your last hotel went through when he took all your bags up to your room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
It's all just a blur now,
I’m guessing you blocked it out to save you from the nightmares later on?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Did you know there's a lot of stairs in the Paris metro?

A lot.
Again, I get the sense you are trying to tell me something here…maybe about stairs…I don’t know…not picking up on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
After a metro train had stopped and opened its doors, we boarded.
(Happy now T_Man?)
I’m sure he’s very happy…however, it don’t think that will stop him from saying something sarcastic…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We were a bit concerned that we'd get split up with the crowd,
but everyone knew where we were going next so we weren't panicking.
So did you get split up?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Of course first we had to climb a few flights of stairs.
Of course…It wouldn’t be an authentic vacation without the headaches to accompany it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I asked a couple of security guards/cops/military personnel/costumed party goers.....
Are you sure they weren’t just random people off the street who like to dress as different working class people each day?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
they kindly vaguely motioned up a flight of stairs.
At least they did it kindly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Behold.... a vision of hell.
(Warning the following contains a graphic scene which some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.)
Funny…I always pictured hell a little differently. At least a narrower staircase, leading down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Yes. I took a picture of stairs.
I had to either laugh about it or run around in circles while waving my arms and screaming.
You mean like this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I inquired at the Thalys desk and was told that they don't let you know which track/train is yours until 15 minutes before departure.
They obviously enjoy the running of the bulls as everyone panics and tries to make the train with only 15 minutes to do so. They need some form of entertainment too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
The Thalys high speed train from Paris to Cologne travels at speeds up to 300 kmh (186 mph) and covers the roughly 500 kms (310 miles) in three hours and fifteen minutes (some stops along the way).
After 15 years in operation, there's only been two accidents.
Sounds like fun. And they have a great track record with only 2 accidents in 15 years. Our train has been operational for about 6-7 years, can’t seem to stop colliding with cows. And has had at least 5 major accidents with cars/people. This train only goes a short distance between Santa Fe/Bernalillo/Albuquerque/Los Lunas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
At exactly 11:45 they finally anounced the track for the Thalys train to Cologne.
Everybody had 15 minutes to scramble like mad to find the right track, then the right car and finally the right seats.
All the while the people working at the train station are eating popcorn and watching the mad rush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
It was a bit of a zoo... a panicky zoo... but we managed to get on before it was too late.

Oh, sure, that little ol' lady we bowled over will never be the same,
but it was survival of the fittest out there!
Every man for himself!
I’m wondering if the employees at the station take bets to see how many old people or children get run over as survival of the fittest takes place?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Our first class tickets actually saved us money since not only did we get more comfortable seats, but we got a free meal served to us.
Nice. Although I always wondered, when you pay an extremely high price for certain seats and they tell you the meal is free, is it really free, or are you paying for it with the price of the seats?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Sliced tomato salad with a side of vinagrette, cold bean salad, prosciutto, some cheese that I can't remember, a polenta like substance, cherries and a bun.
Sounds and looks like a nice treat.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I don't remember for sure what the brats ordered... but I know they didn't like it.
Too different, I guess.
Well obviously, if it wasn’t a good ol’ fashioned burger, hot dog, or escargot…it just wasn’t good enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Elle stole my cherries.
She's evil that way.
Elle? Evil? Nah…I don’t think that’s possible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Also on the train that day was the person with the world's loudest phone.
I swear, this thing went off and we all looked at each other as if to confirm, "Yes? You hear it too? I'm not dreaming?"
I can only assume it was that loud because it had to be heard over the noise of the train... and wake him up... if he was in another room... in a building that was on a different continent.
I thought it was custom to keep your phone in one seat, and then sit in a completely different car , and come running like a crazy lunatic to answer it when it rang and woke up the entire world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Seriously, On August 6th, around 6am Eastern.
Did you hear a loud ringing?
That was him.
And here I was, beginning to think I was going crazy and hearing this…

Don’t even go there…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
There was also a gentleman on the train who brought two toilet bowl cleaners with him.
The moment I read that I had a picture in my head of a man walking onto the train with toilet brushes in each hand…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
You know... puntables.

Small dogs.
Thanks for clearing that up. I was starting to wonder what a guy with toilet brushes was doing on a train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
One was well behaved and lay down quietly the whole trip.
The other...
It’s just like children. If you have more than 1, there is always going to be one that is perfectly well behaved, while the other one is running amok, shouting at the top of their lungs, or constantly asking questions, and annoying all the neighbors around them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I'm not sure, but I think if you took Satan and shoved him in a small furry four legged body... he'd be that dog.
So you really weren’t kidding when you said you went to Hell…I did always wonder what Satan looked like…now I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
It makes sense, of course.
I mean, first we descend into hell, then we meet Satan.
Who else would you meet in hell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Later on, a staff member came by and offered sandwichs.
I had to try one when she said it was cheese and fig.
Figs are one thing that I have yet to try, but I always hear about them being paired with cheese in panini’s. I am a hardcore food tv/cooking channel obsessive…


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Darn it if I hadn't forgotten about Satan.
Hard to forget you would think, after all you did to get to meet him.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
As I walked past the aforementioned gentleman, I noticed a small dog sleeping at his feet.

Aww. Nice puppy. I miss my dog.
They are always cute when they are someone else’s.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Suddenly, Satan comes charging out from under the seat, barking and snarling and trying....
Well it's a small dog, so I'm gonna say... trying to gnaw on my ankle.
As long as you didn’t scream like a girl, and run. Which is what I would have done. I mean, it is after all Satan running after you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Still, scared the prac out of me (I 'membered this time, Heather)
Good job! You get a gold star.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
After a few hours, we arrive in Cologne, Germany.
Upon exiting the train station, the first thing you see is this

Wow…I’m…Speechless…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I'll have more to say about the incredible Cologne Cathedral in the next chapter.
Right now we're tired and want to get rid of our bags, so we set off to find a taxi to take us to our hotel.
Good thinking…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
There's four of us with all our luggage.
No teeny tiny euro clown car is going to work.
If it’s a clown car, wouldn’t it fit all of you and the bags? I mean, if 12 clowns can fit inside, then I’m sure 4 people with baggage wouldn’t be a problem…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
One of the drivers is commandeering a van, and after sizing up our haul, agrees to take us.
Well after commandeering the van, I would at least hope he has some civility left.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I'm usually a pretty quick study.
Well, sometimes I'm a pretty quick study...

If you hit me over the head often enough, I eventually realize that something's going on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I don't know what to think here.
I get that he didn't have far to drive... but it's his job, right?
I also get that Europeans walk a lot more than your typical person on this side of the pond.
But then again, we did have a ton of bags to schlepp...
Yes it is his job. While I don’t know how the cabs work over there, most of the ones around here usually cost an arm and a leg for the first mile, let alone the rest of the way. Plus some charge for amount of people in the cab too. Of course, it’s all about money now a days.

Off topic, I still find it hilarious that schlep is actually a word in the dictionary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
What do you think?
Would you walk a mile with suitcases?
Or would you take a cab?
A mile only sounds like it’s not that far. In reality, when schlepping baggage and family around, it ends up being about 5 miles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We arrive at our hotel where I've booked two rooms.
One for the the rugrats
The other for us.
Uh huh…when the rats are away the ‘rents will play…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Or you could say, I booked two rooms in an effort to preserve what little sanity we might have left after spending the last few days in one room together.
Sure, you could say that…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Wasn't it nice of Elle to come by and model our room for us?
I was about to say…look, your room came with it’s own children. Now that’s full service at it’s best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Now get out.
Well fine!


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We lucked out with the restaurant as it was the best meal we'd had so far.
I think it was even the best meal of the trip.
I don't remember exactly what everyone had, but I know some of the highlights were sausages and pork steaks.
It was all really, really good.
It was the best, but not the most memorable evidentially…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We strolled the street for a while and popped into a few shops,
but eventually we decided that we were done for the day and it was time to head back to the hotel.

We'd turned around a lot.

So we got lost.
Some people do go both ways


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post

And once again, I've totally blown any chance of ever getting my man card back.

Men do not ask for directions.
Ever.
Because you have your children in tow, and we don’t want them to die of thirst or starvation while you run around trying to be macho…I’ll let it slide. You were doing it for the children after all…right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
As we sashayed back to our hotel, we discussed our plans for the next day.
I was really looking forward to knocking another item off my bucket list.
You sure do have quite a bucket list…



Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Our original plan…
I’m usually an optimist, but the sound of that just doesn’t sound good…


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
So we're all set! I can't wait!


Anyway, on the walk back to the hotel, we decided not to do it.
Well, on the plus side, you can’t die anytime soon, because that will still be on your bucket list, and we all know that you have to finish that before you can die right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I had made a promise to Ruby that this would not be a GO! GO! GO! trip.
She said she was tired and didn't really want to get up early since we'd just had a full travel day.
Kay didn't want to go either. She wanted to relax, too.
Plus I think she thought it would be boring... which, to be honest, it might've been for her.

Elle wanted to go. But Ruby's vote holds more weight.
You just got your man card back…

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
It wound up costing us about 100 euros in non-refundable train tickets,
but it wasn't worth keeping our plans if it was going to make Ruby (and Kay) miserable.
Good point. At the end of the day, you made Ruby and Kay happy by allowing them to have their way, and that’s worth more than the 100 euros anyday…right?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
As we got close to our hotel, we decided on a quick detour to a building that was quite literally a stone's throw from our hotel.

I mean, who wouldn't?

Wouldn't you?
Um…That’s a dumb question…

Chhhoooocccoooollllaaattteee!!!!!!!!!!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
We looked and salivated for a bit then bought some goodies for ourselves and for friends and family back home.
I repeat… Chhhoooocccoooollllaaattteee!!!!!!!!!!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Back at the hotel, we gathered up our laundry so we could get it done the next day.
I have no idea where a laundromat is, and I don't want to know.
The hotel can do it!
Why not?
We're on vacation!

Next chapter I'll tell you why not.
[/B][/COLOR]
Uh oh…This does not sound good…Can’t wait to find out what happens next.
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Thumping Our Way Through Disneyland

We Hopped All The Way To Disneyland Just For Some Dis Meets
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:01 AM   #403
pkondz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
That title sounds a little foreboding…I’m sure I like where this is headed.
Ah yes. The oh-so-bloodthirsty TR reader that Nebo warned me about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Um…I thought you were going to Germany?
Yes. But you can't get there from here without going through there apparently.

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Got it. I need shorts and tanks or T’s for the hot temps, of course I need a pair for everyday there. Then I need jeans and T’s for the possible rain, again, another pair for every day just in case. Then I need sweaters and jeans for the possible cold, and now I need to make sure that I have socks for my tennis shoes, again a pair for every day. So a weeks worth of clothes turns into at least 3 weeks worth, because the weather may change instantaneously and I may need all three pairs of clothing in one single day!
Multiply that by at least three and you should be pretty close.

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I’m rather proud of her. Maybe it’s a girl thing.


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I think you’re trying to subtly say something about the suitcase here…but I just can’t read between the lines…
Nope.
Not a thing.

Maybe you're too sensitive?


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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Of this I have no doubt. It’s a guy thing. The idea of, I only need 5 pairs of clothes. We can do laundry part way through, and I can wear the jeans or shorts twice before I have to wash them, unless I get something on them. This leaves plenty of room for other things, and makes the travel aspect much easier.
No.
A guy thing is two pairs of clothes.
You wear one pair for two days, then the other for two days.
Repeat.
Wash if absolutely necessary.... and it's probably not necessary.


Quote:
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Although with the price of luggage now a days, it may be easier and cheaper to just deal with the herniated disc you will get later hauling it around for her.
Yup.
Bloodthirsty.

I've got my eye on you lady!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Shoot.
If I'd known I was going to be videoed, I would've smiled.

videoed?

video-ed
videod
vidded

recorded


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
All the while having to run to catch up with the girls who walked on ahead of you as you struggled, or them having to watch you go through all this and wait impatiently as you switched and switched again…
You were there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I was waiting for something like this. Now we know what the poor guy from your last hotel went through when he took all your bags up to your room.
His pain was over in a few minutes... mine went on and on

and on


and on


and...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I’m guessing you blocked it out to save you from the nightmares later on?
Didn't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Again, I get the sense you are trying to tell me something here…maybe about stairs…I don’t know…not picking up on it.
Again. No.

Not a thing.

You really should talk to somebody about this over-sensitiveness you have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I’m sure he’s very happy…however, it don’t think that will stop him from saying something sarcastic…
Oh, I know.

I KNOW.


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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
So did you get split up?
Nope. And it'll be 25 years in 2015.

Oh! You mean on the train!

No to that, too.


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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Are you sure they weren’t just random people off the street who like to dress as different working class people each day?
I don't think so.
They claimed to be from some Village and were looking for the YMCA or something.


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At least they did it kindly.
Yes.
As in, "Kindly stop asking stupid questions and move away."


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Funny…I always pictured hell a little differently. At least a narrower staircase, leading down.
Nope.
The up ones were definitely worse.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
You mean like this?
Heh.
That's always been one of my favorite smileys.

And, yes. Like that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Sounds like fun. And they have a great track record with only 2 accidents in 15 years. Our train has been operational for about 6-7 years, can’t seem to stop colliding with cows. And has had at least 5 major accidents with cars/people. This train only goes a short distance between Santa Fe/Bernalillo/Albuquerque/Los Lunas.
Hm.
Interesting.
I wonder if they're just more used to trains over there?


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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
All the while the people working at the train station are eating popcorn and watching the mad rush.
Yes.
I hate them.


Quote:
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I’m wondering if the employees at the station take bets to see how many old people or children get run over as survival of the fittest takes place?
Well there was this big chalk board with Xd out people on it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Nice. Although I always wondered, when you pay an extremely high price for certain seats and they tell you the meal is free, is it really free, or are you paying for it with the price of the seats?
The difference in price between 1st and 2nd class is usually about 30 Euros per seat or in our case it would've meant an extra 120 Euros... about $160 USD.
But because I booked as far in advance as possible (3 months) the 1st class tickets only cost about 2 Euros extra per seat.

So for an extra 10 Euros in total, we got 4 free meals and better seats.

If you're booking a few days or weeks in advance, then 1st class isn't worthwhile.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Well obviously, if it wasn’t a good ol’ fashioned burger, hot dog, or escargot…it just wasn’t good enough.
Pretty much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Elle? Evil? Nah…I don’t think that’s possible.
Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Elle....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I thought it was custom to keep your phone in one seat, and then sit in a completely different car , and come running like a crazy lunatic to answer it when it rang and woke up the entire world.


Quote:
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And here I was, beginning to think I was going crazy and hearing this…

Don’t even go there…
Aww.... But you set it up so nicely!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
It’s just like children. If you have more than 1, there is always going to be one that is perfectly well behaved, while the other one is running amok, shouting at the top of their lungs, or constantly asking questions, and annoying all the neighbors around them.
I'll make sure and tell this to Kay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Who else would you meet in hell?
I can think of a few people...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
As long as you didn’t scream like a girl, and run. Which is what I would have done. I mean, it is after all Satan running after you.
I most definitely did not run.

Don't ask about the "scream like a girl" part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Good job! You get a gold star.
Score!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Wow…I’m…Speechless…
Just wait...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
If it’s a clown car, wouldn’t it fit all of you and the bags? I mean, if 12 clowns can fit inside, then I’m sure 4 people with baggage wouldn’t be a problem…
Oh, 12 of us could've fit.

But not our bags.
Those suckers are big.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Off topic, I still find it hilarious that schlep is actually a word in the dictionary.
As is 'cattywampus' and 'namby-pamby'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
A mile only sounds like it’s not that far. In reality, when schlepping baggage and family around, it ends up being about 5 miles.
More on this over the next two... that's two chapters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
It was the best, but not the most memorable evidentially…
I was too busy (as was everyone else) stuffing my face to take better notes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Ah, shoot. Gotta wait until I'm home to see this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Because you have your children in tow, and we don’t want them to die of thirst or starvation while you run around trying to be macho…I’ll let it slide. You were doing it for the children after all…right?
Yeah. That's it.
Yeah.
Absolutely.
Fir sure.
Yup.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
You sure do have quite a bucket list…
Doesn't everyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I’m usually an optimist, but the sound of that just doesn’t sound good…
Picked up on that, did you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Well, on the plus side, you can’t die anytime soon, because that will still be on your bucket list, and we all know that you have to finish that before you can die right?
My plan is to do everything on my list except one item.
Then I'll be immortal!!!


Oh, wait.... then wouldn't completing my bucket list be to leave just one item?

Prac!


Quote:
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You just got your man card back…


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Good point. At the end of the day, you made Ruby and Kay happy by allowing them to have their way, and that’s worth more than the 100 euros anyday…right?!
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:56 AM   #404
Queenofallthings
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Ahhhh Germany....my home for 4 years! Cologne Cathedral....I have a beautiful music box that is the Cologne Cathedral...>I love it! The food in Germany is beyond delicious....I loved the food there!

The hotel looks so modern, something you don't always get in Europe! Looks great!

Kay's suitcase resembles the one we took on our first trip to WDW in 1998....it hit the trash when we arrived home what.a.pain.it.was!

Great update can't wait for more!
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #405
lisaviolet
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Quote:
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To Hell in a carry-on

[COLOR="Blue"][B]Moving day!

Today we depart France for Germany.


I feel like yelling BOO and CAN'T WAIT all at the same time.

We have a noon train to catch from the North train station (Gare du Nord).


We pack up our suitcases and head off for our final ride on the Paris metro.

And thus began our descent into hell.

Zero sympathy.


Before leaving Canada, I'd given the girls some suggestions for packing.
Unfortunately, Kay took me a little too literally.

I had told them that they should dress for hot temperatures... but to make sure they had clothes for when it rained...
plus we were planning to go to the Alps so it might be cold.


Actually, it kinda amazes me that she could fit her entire flipping wardrobe into one suitcase.

So funny. Priceless. I'm a carry-on girl so I can't relate but regardless I thoroughly enjoyed laughing at this!

One heavy suitcase...

No, wait... That doesn't look right.

One HEAVY suitcase.



Elle had packed her suitcase, which we'd borrowed from my Mom, and she had no problems with it.

Ruby has a lightweight suitcase with matching carrion which gave her a bit of trouble.
We couldn't figure out a way to attach the carrion to the larger bag, so it kept slipping off.


I'm gonna use Nebo's "carrion".
I think it's clever.
Although to be honest, whenever I think of a "carry-on", the following runs through my admittedly warped mind:

"All right fella, what's in the bag?"
"Nothing, sir!"
"Nothing, eh? Come on! Out with it! What've ya got in there?"
"Just some personal items and liquids in very small containers which are all inside a clear plastic bag and some stuff that I don't trust the baggage handlers with... Sir!"
"Wellll.... all right. I'll let you go this time, but next time you might not be so lucky.... Carry on."


My lightweight suitcase and carrion were fine.

Kay had an older suitcase which would've been okay...
unless of course you have 400 lbs of clothing in it.

So Elle handled her suitcase.
Ruby handled her suitcase.
Kay handled Ruby's carrion.
And I struggled along with my suitcase, my carrion and Kay's 400 lb behemoth.

Love this - it was like a fun riddle connecting the dots.

As we walked towards the metro station, I regularly had to stop and switch the suitcases.
After walking for a bit with Kay's suitcase in my right hand, my left side would start to ache.
Switch.
Walk a bit.
Now the right side is starting to ache.
Walk some more.
Ache.
Pause.
Switch.

Repeat ad infinitum.

When we got to the metro station, after struggling through the gates, we were confronted with our first set of stairs.

It's all just a blur now, but I think this is how we did it:

Elle and I would go down the stairs. Ruby and Kay would wait at the top.
I'd leave Elle to guard the two bags.
I'd trudge back up to the top and grab another bag.
Sometimes Ruby and Kay, together, would wrestle the last bag down.
Sometimes I'd bring it down.

Did you know there's a lot of stairs in the Paris metro?

A lot.

And this is one of the reasons why no one in your pictures is overweight so far. No one is extremely overweight downtown here. You just don't see it. Ever. Walking, walking and walking. Stairs up to streetcars. I've sung the praises of natural exercise on here but everyone wants to go on about the content of this or that blah, blah, blah. Okay, shutting up now.
We never did see an elevator or escalator that day.
We'd seen them in other stations... but usually they were for exiting.
We weren't exiting.

Ever.


I think we had to go down four or five separate flights.


After a metro train had stopped and opened its doors, we boarded.
(Happy now T_Man?)

We were a bit concerned that we'd get split up with the crowd,
but everyone knew where we were going next so we weren't panicking.

At Gare du Nord, we all piled out and started looking for the platform where we'd catch our train.

Of course first we had to climb a few flights of stairs.



And then we couldn't find the platform!

We had to catch the Thalys train to Cologne.
At first there were signs all over the place with Thalys and an arrow pointing up flights of stairs.
Then the signs just.

Stopped.

I asked a couple of security guards/cops/military personnel/costumed party goers.....



... where the platform was, and they kindly vaguely motioned up a flight of stairs.

<sigh>

Behold.... a vision of hell.
(Warning the following contains a graphic scene which some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.)



<shudder>

Yes. I took a picture of stairs.And a lovely picture!
I had to either laugh about it or run around in circles while waving my arms and screaming.

After I stopped screaming, we mounted these last (thank Gawd) set of stairs.


We were in the right area, we could even see a Thalys train,
but there was no indication if it was our train.

I inquired at the Thalys desk and was told that they don't let you know which track/train is yours until 15 minutes before departure.

I have no idea why.

Anyway, here's the train.



Exciting! So excited. I lived in Japan for a bit - so rapid trains, check.

The Thalys high speed train from Paris to Cologne travels at speeds up to 300 kmh (186 mph) and covers the roughly 500 kms (310 miles) in three hours and fifteen minutes (some stops along the way).
After 15 years in operation, there's only been two accidents.

At exactly 11:45 they finally anounced the track for the Thalys train to Cologne.
Everybody had 15 minutes to scramble like mad to find the right track, then the right car and finally the right seats.

It was a bit of a zoo... a panicky zoo... but we managed to get on before it was too late.

Hustle and bustle - LOVE.

Oh, sure, that little ol' lady we bowled over will never be the same,
but it was survival of the fittest out there!
Every man for himself!

What?


Because I had booked well in advance (just like booking CRT meals at Disney!) we got a discount on our tickets. (not like booking CRT meals at Disney!)
Four first class tickets were only slightly more then second class.

Our first class tickets actually saved us money since not only did we get more comfortable seats, but we got a free meal served to us.

Well.... about that.
Here's my meal:



Sliced tomato salad with a side of vinagrette, cold bean salad, prosciutto, some cheese that I can't remember, a polenta like substance, cherries and a bun.

I liked it.

Oh love.

I don't remember for sure what the brats ordered... but I know they didn't like it.
Too different, I guess.

Can you ask them ---- if they remember I mean. Please. I'm curious now.

Elle stole my cherries.
She's evil that way.

That IS evil.
Also on the train that day was the person with the world's loudest phone.
I swear, this thing went off and we all looked at each other as if to confirm, "Yes? You hear it too? I'm not dreaming?"
I can only assume it was that loud because it had to be heard over the noise of the train... and wake him up... if he was in another room... in a building that was on a different continent.

Seriously, On August 6th, around 6am Eastern.
Did you hear a loud ringing?
That was him.

Annoying. Pointe Finale.

Okay, my breakfast is ready - at 12:05 , I'll be back for the second half.


]
I'll return. And I lost all YOUR colour. CRAP!!!
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