Guten Tag From Deutschland!
Lisa and I arrived safely on Wednesday about 11:30 am German time. As I said to Lisa, "That was the best flight possible for a ten-hour haul in Economy Class." Luftansa's food was quite good, the booze was free and the attendants friendly and competent. That's about all you can ask, I reckon. After about five hours, it was impossible to get comfortable, but that was expected.
Customs was a bit anticlimactic -- the unsmiling and efficient gentleman glanced at my passport photo and then slammed a rather plain-looking stamp on it. But at least I got the satisfaction of an old-fashioned hand stamp -- I was afraid he'd just put my passport in a machine and it would "ka-chunk" like a timecard. Lisa and I then just sauntered through the "nothing to declare" gate.
After getting our baggage, Lisa and I wandered aimlessly for a while -- well, not aimlessly, but rather frazzledly -- looking for the Luftansa bus to Heidelberg. With the help of Lisa's Deutsche-sprechen skills and the nice lady at the Luftansa lost baggage counter, we were eventually sucessful.
This is for my brother, Steve: On the Autobahn, I saw a Ferrari Testarossa and innumerable Porsche 911 Cararras. They blew past the pokey old Luftansa bus -- the Ferrari sounding disturbingly like a lawnmower -- but we were happy to be comfy and firmly on our way to Heidelberg.
Once in town, we staggered around again in an effort to find the streetcar that went past our hotel. A lovely young woman gave Lisa some helpful instructions after I helped her haul her baby-laden pram up a flight of steps outside some government building (so much for Germans being unhelpful and untrusting). After a few more small misadventures (figuring out which tickets to buy for the streetcar and panicking for a moment on it because we thought we might be going the wrong way) we reached our hotel about when we estimated we would -- roughly 3pm local and after we'd been up 24 hours straight. Happily, our room looked just like the one on the Hotel Auerstein's web site. I don't think Lisa and I have ever been so happy to be anywhere in our lives.