Monday, September 28, 2009

Adventures in Europe: Part 1

This picture made me laugh, because it's so me. Ms. Cautious.

So okay, I knew I was in for an adventure when I signed up for this trip. And I knew driving with my cousin in Germany would mean some serious tearing up of the asphalt. After all, Race car driver + S-class Mercedes + Autobahn = Serious speed.

We've already established I'm a bit of a chicken, so had I been driving, we might have reached speeds of up to 150 km/hr. Maybe. But with dear old Mike behind the wheel, we hit over 200 km/hr on several occasions.

You'd think I'd have been white-knuckling it, but I wasn't the least bit nervous. He's a great driver (he really is, and not just because he's my adored cousin--even though he snores), and his reflexes and experience made me feel completely safe in the passenger seat moving at that speed. Never thought I'd say that, but he's probably the only person I would feel comfortable with driving that fast. Plus, the roads were incredibly smooth and the Germans are good drivers. And they always move to the right when you approach them in the fast lane. I know this firsthand, as we came up on more than a few bumpers during our tour!

We arrived in Frankfurt, and immediately took said autobahn for just under four hours (would've taken me at last five and a half) to Fussen for the night. Next day we stopped at Neushwanstein in the south of Germany, and wore big blisters on our feet climbing up the mile long hill to the top. We were both sweating like crazy because we seriously hoofed it, though we're both in good shape. But oh my God, the view. King Ludwig II might have been eccentric, but he sure had an eye for architecture. It's a magical castle set on a hilltop amidst spectacular scenery. Walt Disney reportedly modeled Cinderella's castle after it.

We enjoyed Germany, but I know Mike wished he could have shipped his new Beemer over for a ride. He says he wants to come back next year for Octoberbreast (the name he's given Oktoberfest because of the cleavage shown off to maximum effect by the traditional Dirndl outfits the girls wear), and maybe he'll take an M-3 convertible out so he knows what it feels like to open his baby up on the autobahn.

Had a good time in Munich, and we both dressed up (Mike in Lederhosen and me in my Dirndl) to get into the spirit of things. We only stayed a few hours because it was madness inside the festival (see photo below),
so crowded you could hardly move, but on the whole most people were well behaved.

Now we're in Riga, Latvia, and today learned about the terrible suffering the people experienced under both the Soviet and Nazi (then the Soviets, for the second time) occupations. Makes me even more thankful to be a Canadian. Today's tour was a pointed reminder that we should never take freedom for granted, and that we should always speak out when we see wrong being done. Tyranny starts small, and that's exactly when it needs to be stopped in its tracks.


Katie Reus said...

OMG!! Love the photos :) Glad you're having such a great time!

Doralynn said...

Oh, wow, this brings back such great memories! I was stationed in Frankfurt for 2 years, so I know it well, and I love it. I've been to Neuswanstein Castle and even wrote a poem about it. I had a great time at Oktoberfest in Munich... even though I ended up in a huge brawl. Loved those beer tents... though I'm not sure getting on the rides afterwards is such a great idea. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Sounds like a wonderful adventure. Doralynn

Kaylea Cross said...

Thanks, Katie! I'm never going to be a travel lover like you, though. I'm counting the days until I get home.

Doralynn, a brawl? You mean you were there to break it up, right? :)
I'm so looking forward to reading Sleeping With Skeletons!

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