On July 18, I began my adventure to see Ryan, Emily and connect with Michelle in Germany. I had a direct flight to Amsterdam in which we took the northern route over parts of Canada, Greenland and Iceland. In spite of traveling in the late afternoon and all through the night it never got dark. I had expected the sun to fade a little, but it was brilliant the entire flight. Once landing in Amsterdam, I had to go through customs and then security. I had over an hour so I thought I would be fine - but our taxi on the runway took 30 minutes and my gate was at the complete opposite end to my departing gate to Munich. The lines for customs were 30-40 people deep with about 12 check points! When I finally was able to get to the customs agent I asked him if I was going to make my flight and he suggested I really hurry....I still had to go through security and then run (in my flip flops - bad choice for running). I arrived with about 5 others who were also panting to board! Craziness! I really have no desire to fly through Amsterdam again.
God is faithful! I made my flight to Munich, my luggage arrived (although torn) and I found my way to the subway, met some other Americans heading to Oberambegau (near Garmisch) - the home of the Passion Play, changed trains at the Bahnhof, and was on my way to Garmisch. It was a beautiful, warm and scenic trip. Little by little, places that Al and I had travelled with Amy and Colleen were coaxed out of my memory and relived in my mind. I was getting so excited to be reunited with my family!
As I exited the train station, a little ruby BMW pulled up and three smiling young adults jumped out of the car and I was engulfed in a their warm hugs and smiles! Yeah, I had made it. Ryan maneuvered his little car through all the narrow quaint streets without batting an eye. I know I was never that comfortable during the two years we lived there.
We headed to the post housing where Ryan, Emily and most of the staff of the Edelweiss live. I relaxed in a warm shower, repacked a portion of my suitcase into my backpack, met a few of their workmates and friends and we then loaded ourselves into Ryan's car again for the six hour trip to Venice. It was really warm and not having air conditioning, we all melted a little on the trip - but arrived around midnight to board the train which seemed to float over the Veneta Laguna where we safely arrived in Venezia! What a gorgeous night! We boarded a "bus" (there are boat buses, boat taxis and gondolas -from least to most expensive) and found seats outside - perfect because Venice at night is magical.
As our hotel was located at the far end of the Grand Canal, near St. Mark's Cathedral, we traveled the entire length of the canal taking in all the bridges with their various architectural designs, the magnificent hotels and centuries old buildings all glowing in the moonlit starry night. This floating dreamlike city was very much alive with visitors and natives still at midnight - although with a quiet, serene quality.
|view from our apartment|
|The Grand Canal|
|Maneuvering the narrow waterway!|
|Some of my favorite people!|
|The Grand Canal - St. Mark's in the background|