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Old May 20, 07, 8:46 pm
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opus17
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: PDX
Programs: On a collision course with Kettledom
Posts: 25,550
Day 6

Penelope guided us from Hanover to Lubeck. This involved most autobahn travel, which mainly consisted of being passed at a 100 km/hour differential by Audis and BMWs. We barreled along in the right lane with the little Mercedes, and never went over 120 km/hr.

We got to the in-laws at around 3PM. My mother-in-law prepared a nice dinner, including one of my favorites, cucumber salad. I saw the cuke in the kitchen, it was labeled “Bio-Gurke”, which I guess meant organic cucumber. I, however, found it to be a great German word (ever more fun than “hack-fleich), and because its my nature, I picked up the word and repeated as often as possible (pronouncing it BAYH-O-GUR-KEN, which is only tangentially related to its actual German pronunciation). Unknown to me, every time I said the word, my MIL would go shopping, prepare and serve a cucumber salad. This would happen for any food I would happen to mention, and pretty much all the German I know are words found on a menu. So that was fun.

Day 7.
We had tickets to a Max Raabe concert in Shwerin that night, so we took a road trip into this former East German state capital. We toured the obligatory castle and church (this is part of the German constitution, I believe), and then stopped for coffee (or, in my case, hot chocolate, since I’m not a coffee drinker).

The concert was in a dreary hall, no doubt used at one time for Communist party meetings, gymnastics and tractor seminars. The hall’s lights did not have any dimmers, so when the concert started, the lights went instantly from full on to full off.

Max Raabe specializes in music of the 1920’s, or music in that style. Most of it was in German. I’m not sure why there would be much nostalgia for that time period in German history, all things considered, but this guy has been touring for 20 years, although I was not aware of his existence until the night I saw him. The in-laws and my wife liked it, although I kept thinking all this stuff could have been on one of Hitler’s mixtapes.

Day 8.
Cucumber salad.

Day 9.
More East Germany – this time, Wismar. This is another fairly poorly maintained city – probably very nice in its time. We stopped in a restaurant and I had plaice, which is a local fish made of bones flavored lightly with meat. Being Germany, the salad, potatoes, fish and desert all featured little pieces of bacon.

Day 13
My wife wanted a pair of shoes from a company called “Sioux” (don’t even ask why this is a German name, or how they pronounce it). Of course, that was too straightforward, so I was told I needed shoes, we would buy them, and by the way as long as we were there, my wife might as well pick up a pair.

As long as we were in downtown Lubeck, we stopped at the Niederegger-Café, which is home of local delicacy Marzipan. Niederegger sells marzipan shaped in all sorts of shapes -- hot dogs, loaves of bread, Poland… I had hot chocolate and some obscenely rich pastry.


Day 15
We scheduled a two-day return flight, so we didn’t have to make any sort of connection in Paris. We drove to Hamburg, and we had to dodge two marathons, the Lubeck and the Hamburg ones. We didn’t quite dodge the latter, but we were very early and still got to the airport in plenty of time to catch our mainline Air France flight – in business class, of course. We checked 3 of our bags through to San Francisco, and one for Paris.


Day 16
We left the Sheraton Airport hotel two hours before the flight, which was good, because we were leaving from the 2E satellite, which is located close to Frankfurt. Checking our one remaining bag was a much bigger production than I thought. Afterward, we did the 2E dance: You line up to go through immigration, than go through security (where everyone is frisked, whether you set off an alarm or not), then go though the maze where you need to board the bus for the satellite. They then put a sack on you head and ride you to the top-secret location of the most obscure duty-free shops in Europe. Luckily, there is a lounge there, where we stayed until boarding time. At the gate, you has a choice of 5 randomly created lines waiting to board the plane. There was no jetbridge, so small groups were let to a stairway leading to the 747.

We had front-row seats this time. It was a good flight. The seat-belt sign never went on until we landed, but I think the pilot forgot that there was a seat-belt light, since we did hit a few rough patches. Once again, the food was great, and I had a chocolate dessert that was probably the best dessert I ever had in a plane.
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