05 Jan 04 European Vacation 07 Jan 04
In case you didn't realize it, you can click on the pictures for a bigger image.
Tuesday, 06 January 2004
We got up early, at least for us of late. We grabbed breakfast and while they didn't have any waffles,
there was some excellent hot chocolate. After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and took our things over to Brussels Central station to catch the train to Bussels
Midi, where our train to Hagen awaited. Actually, we didn't go directly to Hagen. We had a stop in Cologne where we switched trains for the final leg to Hagen. Jen was surprised at how much the Cologne train station has been upgraded. We grabbed some imbiss food (pizza-type bread). Jen and Andrea wanted some cake from the other store, but the line was so long, we had to pass. The train to Hagen was our most crowded. Reservations came in handy for this one.
Hagen is about an hour from Dusseldorf by train, so it's a perfect place for us to spend some time before our morning flight back to the states. The most important thing, though, is that Martina and I haven't seen each other in a few years, and I've never met her son, Hannes. We got to Hagen at 1600, and my friend Martina was waiting for us. After squeezing all our things into the car we
rode back to her place to stay for the night. Martina made us feel completely at home. She made us some real hot chocolate (the best I've had this whole trip) while she went to get Hannes from her parents' home. There wasn't room for Martina, the three of us and all our luggage so she had dropped him off earlier.

The Hannes Album

Her "little flat" was great! Decorations by IKEA and wood floors with a great view. I saw mountains in the distance, but when I commented on them, I was quickly corrected by Jen. They are only hills. By this time Jen was wishing more than ever that we had gotten to see REAL mountains.

As you can see from the Hannes Album, Jen and Hannes hit it off pretty well right off the bat. That's because she was really the only one talking to him. She learned that her command of the German language had deteriorated to the level that people use to talk to their 2 year olds. In Jen's own words, "I used to claim 5 year olds!!" They were inseperable for most of the night, our most relaxed of the entire trip. We even spent time drooling over things in Martina's IKEA catalog. Things are a lot less expensive over there.

We ordered a pizza, which Martina and I walked to pick up. It was a good chance for us to catch up on the last few years. Martina made a salad and some dressing, as well as some rolls. Jen was VERY excited to see that Martina had Krauterbutter for the rolls. For those of you who don't know, that's a type of herb butter you can't find back home. After dinner we sat around talking and playing with Hannes, then we put on the DVD of Amadeus.
Eventually it was time to put Hannes to bed, but he was still a little wound up and it took the team of Jen and Martina to get him ready. We were pretty tired by this time too, and had to be ready for an early train tomorrow, so we all crawled into our beds to sleep. As you can see, I got my own room. As small as it looks, it was actually quite cozy, and it saved Jen and Andrea from
hearing my snoring. Jen and Andrea got to share the pull out couch, one of the coolest I've ever seen. It literally pulls out like a drawer, not like most sofa beds I've seen. Pretty cool. Anyway, a nice relaxing night was just what the doctor ordered and Martina gave us just that. She always was the smart one.

05 Jan 04 European Vacation 07 Jan 04
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