Swapping Homes Anybody?


Monday, July 9, 2012

We're here!

How did I ever keep it up last year? We've arrived in Germany in the sticks of formerly Eastern Germany and I virtually have no time for blogging in spite of my best intentions. I was going to write details about the journey, actually have some drafts I wrote on the plane when I couldn't sleep and now this all seems to be water under the bridge since we're already here.
In brief: last minute arrangements with cleaners and home exchangers as well as home security company shortly before boarding...and spending precious yet  wasted time on the phone with their "outstanding customer service representatives" (sic!), lousy food, dirty restrooms on the plane; obnoxious people kept us from sleeping one wink arriving totally knackered (Irish English for beat) only to have one of our 4 bags missing and another one badly damaged. Another hour wasted on reporting this to the Hamburg airport authorities before we could set out on an almost 3 hour drive to our final destination half asleep.
That journey took us from Hamburg across what used to be the border between the German Federal and the Democratic Republic.I never understood why the former Eastern, communist State of Germany called itself Democratic Republic while the Stasi imprisoned citizens just for looking the wrong way and the West- the Federal Republic- was the only one that was really democratic.
The Eastern part is still underdeveloped in comparison to the West, but no, there are no ruins or signs of the war left....(just answering the question of one follower here!)
Part of the territory we drove through was no-man's land with border control towers until 1990 where citizens would be shot who tried to escape. The united new Germany built a completely new Autobahn (A24) across what to this day (22 years later) is beautiful unspoilt countryside, mostly used agriculturally or consisting of impressive woods and tree lined "chaussees".
We just dropped into our beds on arrival. Does jet lag get worse when you get older? It really hit us hard this time and we spent most of the next day sleeping - or on the phone again trying to find out why the USPS was still delivering mail to our home instead of forwarding it as requested and what to do about the other bag that KLM had also delayed and was broken when it eventually made it to our door.
The weather is behaving very Irish :sun followed by wind and rain while our exchange partners inform us it's hot. To them it feels like 50 degrees Celsius (120 F ?). That's why we like to get away from Florida in the summer months....
On our second day my son arrived, our first visitor, whom I hadn't seen in  a year, ( and his new girl-friend!) Excuse me, I have to cook for the gang...

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