Ah, Paris when you are packing up. So bittersweet.
After three days of really pounding the pavement, the idea of four hours in an ICE train was rather appealing. I had hoped to get up early one day before we left and wander around by myself before everyone else got up, but I was too tired and really needed the rest. We were all tired by that point. Tuesday morning was a massive packing effort – I had not done any pre-gathering of stuff the night before because we were out on our bike tour until after midnight. So as you can imagine, the morning was spent spinning around in circles trying to fit everything back into suitcases which seemed to have magically shrunk during our stay in France.
We gather it all up and begin the commute back to the train station. At the station we had a little time to kill which the kids did by sliding down the cement barriers – buffers, I guess you could say – that keep the trains at bay. The train people made them stop after awhile.
The good news is that we found a USA Today and the International Paper, so Mom and Justin could get their newspaper fix.
Eventually we loaded up on our train and started the journey back to Frankfurt and ultimately Bremthal. I have to say I can’t remember much about the train ride. The only thing I noted in my journal is that once we got on the S-bahn train to Bremthal, the train driver announced on the PA something in German that made everyone groan and start gathering their bags. The train was crowded and we were scattered in three different groups throughout the cars. I was with children, and an English-speaking lady took pity on me (she heard me repeating, “I don’t know what he said!” to all the little ones with questions) and said the train was stopping at the next station and returning to Frankfurt. We would have to catch the next train. I said thank you and then we all got off and found out the train we needed to get on was already at the station on the other track, which meant we needed to hustle down the steps, fly through a tunnel under the tracks and back up to catch the train. That was the most all-out running with luggage and children I have ever participated in, because we really thought we were going to miss the train. But we made it (no worries!) and then made it the rest of the way to the White’s house.
It was so nice to get back to their house! Ann ordered pizza and we all collapsed happily. It felt like home!
The happiness was diminished substantially by Mom’s realization that she had left all of her makeup and medication at the hotel in Paris. Poor Mom, she was super-stressed. Ann called the hotel and they said the cleaning lady wouldn’t come until the morning and they did not mail forgotten items. So helpful! It ended up to be a good thing that Mom and Dad have military health care, b/c she was able to go on base the next day and have her important prescriptions refilled and buy all new makeup (which was expensive and frustrating as some of the makeup she left in Paris was brand new). But at least it was all replaceable. We went to bed that night glad to be in Germany, and looking forward to a down day on Wednesday.