Friday, November 27, 2015

The Rhine

 We left Berlin and flew back to Frankfurt, so that we could board a bus to take us on a tour of the German countryside.  The plan was to gather our bags and put them on the bus.  Easy huh?  Well, as I was waiting on my bag on the carousel, I started to see clothes come out first, and I realized that they were mine.  The locks on my bag had broken, and everyone was seeing my underwear, socks, shirts, and pants come down the conveyor belt.  I was mortified.  I gathered up my clothes to the cheers of the other passengers and then got a belt to secure my bag.  I used that story to sell luggage successfully years later in several retail stores.  It always worked, because the customers were afraid it could happen to them too.
 We boarded the bus and headed out on our tour of Germany.  The bus had a radio tuned to the Armed Forces Network, and we finally heard some western music, after so long without it.  Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Get Down" put a smile on our faces.  Dawn's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" was great, too.  We changed the lyrics to "It's been three long weeks"  from "three long years".  It seemed fitting, and that became our theme song for the rest of the trip. 
 Our bus got to Koblenz, which was special to Sandra, because her father had been there during World War II.  After visiting a few other towns, it was time for lunch.  We stopped at a quaint German restaurant in a quaint German town.  The food was good.  I ordered bottled water with my meal, and the label had the word "Durst" on it.  I kept the bottle and still have it as a souvenir.  I went to a rest room, which was in a building in the center of a road.  One had to walk down some steps to get to the rest room, and there were windows at the top that one could easily look in from the road.  It was also pretty smelly. 
 We got back on the bus and headed to a pickup point for a tour boat to take us on a two-hour tour on the Rhine.  The boat went past castles and farmland on mountainsides.  We saw cows grazing on the steep sides, and Talula wondered why the cows weren't tumbling down the hills.  I told her that maybe two legs were longer than the others.  I thought it was funny.  She didn't.  Don't joke about cows to Talula.  Two hours passed, and we were still on the boat.  Three...Four...and more.  We thought it was a two-hour tour, but it ended up being closer to six.  Six Hours on a boat.  Some folks got naps.  Some ate.  A few of the girls chatted up the crew.  It turned out that the boat was sailing upstream, which caused it to move slower, so we got more for our money than we should have had.  Night was falling, and we moved on to our next hotel stop in Weisbaden.  It was kind of misty raining there.  The hotel was downtown near a big park.  I dropped off my bags and went to the park to sit on a bench.  I watched the people go by, not knowing that there was a casino across the park from where I was.  I found out about it the next day.  The girls went to a club near the hotel.  I didn't go with them, even though I was supposed to.  I got back to the hotel before they did.  Mr. Vivian got mad again, and that was the last time we were ever apart during the trip. 
 The next day, we boarded the bus to tour the Black Forest region of Germany.  A lot of quaint homes.  Everything in this part of the tour was quaint.  The highlight of the day was Reinfall.  It was where the Rhine River went over some rocks to form a wide waterfall.  I have to say that it is the prettiest place I have ever seen in all of the world.  It is on the border between Germany and Switzerland.  We took in the natural beauty and then boarded the bus again.
 We arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland for the night.  The hotel was swanky.  The restaurant was on the top floor.  It was right in the middle of town.  This was going to be a great stop for us, or so we thought.

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