06 Jan 04 European Vacation Aamir's Homepage
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Wednesday, 07 January 2004
We got up early with a little help from Hannes and as we were getting our things together, Martina whipped up a spectacular spread for breakfast. Including Nutella ... at room temperature! Talk about a happy Jen! She even had homemade bread that she started the night before that was oh so good. I don't think any of us could express how great she was to us while we were there. Jen
put it well: "What a complete sweetheart!" I even managed to get out some coherent words in German and Hannes abandoned Jen to become my best friend.

After breakfast we helped to clean up, then Martina drove us to the rail station for the ride back to Dusseldorf. We said our goodbyes and thank yous, then found our train to the airport. We made it back to the airport and checked all our stuff in, then wandered around for a bit stocking up on Milka bars and Kinder Eggs (and spending some more of our hard earned Euros in the process.

Eventually we worked our way up to the observation level and the cafě on that level. We grabbed a quick snack of goulash then headed back down to the security checkpoints and the plane. We must have been quite a site carrying our backpacks along with the bags of chocolate and wine we had bought.

We had another layover in Paris, much less hurried this time. I had time to wander a bit and locate a couple of last minute gifts before we had to board the plane to Atlanta. On the plane, Jen ended up separated from Andrea and myself but one of the passengers agreed to trade places with her. After some confusion while we tried to explain to Jen and the guy that they were the ones trading
spaces, we were all together again and on our way back home. Of course, since she changed seats, Jen ended up with a TV that didn't work until about two hours into the flight, and then still didn't work completely or correctly. Sorry about that, Jen.
We arrive in Atlanta not too much worse for the wear and have to go through customs. I have nothing to declare!!! All they seemed to care about is if we had come into contact with livestock, or had any meat or meat by-products with you. Jen/Andrea had chocolate and pretty much only chocolate on them while I was carying the wines (they get heavy when you're wandering through the airports). We had to reclaim and recheck our luggage in Atlanta (can
we say royal pain?), but Andrea had found all of it by the time Jen and I got through the customs line. Jen and I chose the wrong line, like usual. We had a long (2 and a half hour) layover in Atlanta, and we were all looking quite worn. We managed to hide all that for the picture, though. Our flight out didn't leave Atlanta until 2200 (10pm now that we're back in the US).
Jen's dad was waiting for us in Orlando, with her mom's phone so Jen could call her. Talk about an extremely long day. We didn't really get much sleep on any of the planes, so we had been up from 0800 German time to about 0100 eastern time (0700 German time)- about 23 hours.

Jen's mom was waiting at the house, and had everything ready, including extra blankets for everyone to help us "thaw out." She admonishes Jen to make sure everyone eats in the morning because she has doughnuts, and deli meat, and rolls, and cookies, fruit, and all kinds of goodies. It wasn't my bed back home, but Jen's mom made it pretty darn close. I think Jen was ecstatic to be able to sleep in her own bed.

Thursday, 08 January 2004
I was up early as usual, so I hung out and wrote down some of my notes for this website. I received quite a shock at around 7am ... Jen was awake! She wasn't exactly coherent, however. She was feverish and couldn't sleep, and couldn't remember if her mom had put out new towels in the bathroom for Andrea. So, she got up to take care of that then went back to lay in bed. Like mother, like daughter.

Jen got up again a little later feeling pretty bad, and curled up on the couch. Poor, poor Jen. Andrea and I were ready to drive back up to Gainesville by noonish. We weren't too hungry and Jen was looking pretty out of it so we got going to let her get some rest. Her parents were already gone to work (what's that?) so she would have a nice quiet house all to herself. Apparently Jen's mom wasn't too happy with us for not eating. Mostly we were more worried about Jen than food. From what I hear (and now I can confirm it), we wouldn't have gotten away with it if she had been home.

The trip back to Gainesville was pretty uneventful, and I stayed at my parent's place for a couple of days before driving back to my place. I was pretty well rested by then and missing Europe immensely. The cold doesn't seem so bad when you're not in it. Anyway, that's the end of the line for this trip. Stay tuned for more when I get time to go on another trip.

06 Jan 04 European Vacation Aamir's Homepage
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