We are headed to Germany for another Christmas market adventure. Once again we are doing a Uniworld cruise. The Christmas markets originated in Germany and we are excited to see where it all began-ok, well, Boris is mostly excited about the beer and sausages.
Our transportation didn’t start out too well; our flight left Houston a hour late. Since our layover in Frankfurt was only a hour long, things didn’t bode well for making our connection. Having experience on these new large Lufthansa planes, I selected an aisle seat near the front on the lower floor (economy class). Next to you is the center section with small closets. No overhead room-no problem. I could lean over from my seat and get things out of my carry-on stowed in the closet. Select something in the first three rows (row 50-the first row on the lower level- has more legroom) for easy access to one of the four small closets on both sides of the plane.
For some reason, while the flight attendants spoke to guests in German and English until they learned their preference, they always approached me the first time speaking only German. Boris got a real kick out of it. Sometimes you can figure out the question from context, other times it was tougher. I did know how to ask for my favorite-champagne. The important things translate.
Unfortunately, the large screen in front of us was flashing updates long after the rest of the plane went dark. Periodically, the screen would go bright white which would shock you even if your eyes were closed. I decided I was going to see if they had any complimentary eye shields. I have one I really like from Magellen’s-it has curved eyes so you can actually open and close your eyes while it is on and it won’t mess up your eye make-up. It was also my only travel accessory that I could not find while packing.
The galley behind me looked empty so I opened the curtain to the open area in front of my seat and asked the handsome flight attendant relaxing in the jump seat if they had any extra eye shields. He smiled at me and suggested that I ask “the ladies in the kitchen in the center of the plane”. About then I noticed his uniform and realized that had just asked the captain or one of his copilots to fetch something for me. The good news is that I did find an eye shield in the kitchen galley with the help of one of the female flight attendants. The bad news is that I didn’t get invited to the cockpit.
I got almost no sleep and also realized about the time they served breakfast that we had not made up all the time we lost on departure. We finally landed and got to the gate 10 minutes before our next flight was boarding. Those of you that have been to the Frankfurt airport or have read the blog know that the airport is huge and moving from one terminal to another is a long walk. We came into Z and had to go to A. While next to each other, we had to go the length on both terminals, a walk that would take at least 30 minutes under the best conditions. We also had to go through passport control.
We got off the plane, confirmed the gate, and literally ran, which is really hard for Boris after this accident. He had one arm out of front of him like he was a football player to warn people coming toward him that he was coming through. Since it was a Sunday morning, we got lucky and passport control was not crowded. We actually made it through passport control and to our next gate in 15 minutes. After scanning our boarding card, we waited for the bus. Arriving at the plane, we found that all the overhead space was full, but I rearranged a few bags to get my small carryon in and the flight attendant helped Boris find space for his larger bag.
We waited a while before takeoff and hoped this meant our bags would make it too. I had pre-booked an aisle seat and there was a woman in the center seat. I found out she was also going on our ship and she invited Boris and I to join their group of 6 for dinner.
Boris and I were trilled when we found our luggage had made it. We joined the Uniworld group after clearing the baggage area and were taken by bus to the lovely River Queen docked outside the city and about 30 minutes from the airport. There is no river that runs through the central city of Nuremberg. The boat is different than the layout of the River Beatrice that we took last year. The levels meet in the middle, but you can’t go the length of the boat on the same level.
The decor is different too and the Christmas spirit abounds with often simple, yet unique holiday decorations. There was a nice buffet lunch int he Lounge after check-in. We arrived at the boat about noon, but the rooms are necessarily ready until 3 pm. The plan was to freshen up, have lunch, and then take the shuttle into town for the Christmas market. I had accounted for the rooms not being ready. There was no shuttle although a cab could be arranged. We were also told the market was extremely crowded as it was the weekend.
We ended up just hanging out in the lounge and even ran into a mom and daughter that we had met the year before on the Beatrice. Fortunately the rooms were ready at 1:30. I unpacked, but was so tired. After watching Boris sleeping, I decided the unpacking could wait and I was going to take a nap. I got up just in time to shower before the fire drill. I went to the lounge with wet hair-hey I’m on vacation. Boris had nabbed us a nice seat by the fireplace. After the captain’s safety briefing, the hotel manager spoke as did the activities director.
Afterwards was dinner; the German specialty Sauerbraten (translates as sour roast) was on the menu, so my selection was quickly made. After a lovely dinner and some nice wine (included in the cruise price), we went back to the cabin. Boris was quickly asleep, but I finished his unpacking and decided to update this blog post. Bed time now…our German adventures await.