I have so much to say about our trip to Italy, I really do. I have a ton of pictures to share and amusing anecdotes, but I’ve been consumed with something else right now.
Back in March I had the brilliant idea to book tickets to Germany for me and the kids to visit my college friends who I haven’t seen for the better part of a decade. Can you believe I took three years of German in school and never once went to Germany? I’ve been wanting to visit for years now.
I wanted to book them before Violet turned two so she could still ride on my lap, and Liam has a long weekend for the May 1 holiday, so it worked out perfectly. I caught a fare sale to Hamburg, and while the times and layovers weren’t exactly ideal (It’s as if no one from Athens would ever consider going to Germany…), I figured I could handle it. I’m becoming an accomplished solo parent traveler.
With the whirlwind of planning and executing our elaborate spring break plans, I didn’t start to figure out the details of our trip to Germany until we got back from Venice. I hadn’t really considered how I was going to get from Hamburg to my friends in the Saxony countryside, my friends who don’t have a car, but surely there’d be a train, yes?
I opened up Google Maps and plugged in my friends’ address, which turned out to be a 2.5 hour train ride from Hamburg. Whoops. Well, that was something I should have figured out before I booked us a ticket that got in so late at night. Sheesh!
And, it turns out, the last train of the night to their town departs before I would even have time to catch it because my stupid flight gets in so late. So, ok, after some back and forth with my friends, we found a nice hotel by the airport, and a morning train that would get us there before noon the next day. All set.
I started to figure out my return trip. The airline decided to cancel the flight I had intentionally booked for the early-afternoon, and instead put me on a flight that left three hours earlier, in the very inconvenient mid-morning. The train times back either got us there super early or a little too close for comfort, and the return ticket was about three times the price, too.
Between the hotel and expensive train tickets, I figured for same price I could simply rent a car for the long weekend. I don’t relish having to check the car seat and booster seat while traveling alone with two children, but renting two seats from the car rental place was stupidly expensive.
And as much as I love mass transit, our recent ride from Rome to Venice wasn’t so fun with a squirmy, hard-to-entertain toddler. At least when she’s confined to a car seat with a few books and toys, I don’t have to sit and entertain her. And the kids will likely sleep the whole way down.
The way back will be even less enjoyable. We’ll have to leave by 5AM to catch our early flight, then sit around for four hours to wait for the second leg. And, of course, changing flights costs almost as much as I paid for the stupid tickets.
But, I refuse to let the journey diminish my excitement. I get to drink German beer in Germany! I get to drive on the Autobahn! (Not at the same time, of course.) And my friends have kids the same age as Liam, so I’m sure we’ll have a great time catching up while the kids play. I love these guys, and I can’t wait to see their kiddos. I haven’t seen their oldest daughter since she was 11 months old. She’s almost 10! A restful weekend in a small German town will be wonderful.
Wish us luck. We’re gonna need it. Next up, Italy photos, I promise!