Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2015: Alpine Adventures and Other Travels in the Rhone, Rhin and Rhön
By wendy lynn from California USA, Summer 2012
Page 21 of 21: Back Home to San Francisco
View of Fulda Cathedral from Dahlia Garden
We wake up (very) early and are out the door by 6am. Our plane departs at 9:50am. We pay the Arte Alstadt bill. The large suite with kitchen cost us €210/night with €8/day in parking fees, bringing us to €938 total for our five nights in Fulda.
The drive to Frankfurt's airport takes us about 1.25 hours. We record the British Nav lady's voice on our iPhones for posterity. We aren't sure where the rental car drop off is, the Nav system isn't much help, and we get a bit worried when we can't see anything guiding us to car rental returns. We eventually get lucky, see a sign and swerve over just in time to take the exit. Our three week car rental (including taxes and insurance, excluding gas) costs us €1,050.
We make it through ticketing, baggage and security. There is a brief moment of panic when we are missing one passport (Julia's). It somehow slipped into a crack at the security checkpoint as it was X-rayed. Yikes. That was a minor moment of terror as we thought about what to do if we couldn't find the passport!
We make it to our gate 15 minutes before boarding starts. We use our remaining euros to buy pastries and drinks and then it's time to board. We have good seats and the Lufthansa plane is only one year old and quite nice, by Economy standards. It's Joe's turn to handle the little kids, so Wendy and Julia relax and watch their various movies ... the Hunger Games, The Avengers. But Dad doesn't have it so bad and gets to relax a fair bit too. The meals are decent. Margaret watches the Lorax at least two or three more times.
The plane lands without problems and we are soon off on BART back home. It's amazing, but all has gone smoothly. What a fabulous vacation.
Our closing thoughts are all happy. We enjoyed the varied experiences of each location. The highlights of the various places (in chronological order) were probably Munich's River, Lavertezzo's Roman bridge and unparalleled natural beauty, our last Valle D'Aosta dinner and the rugged Valle D'Aosta landscape, Mont Blanc's glacier and grandeur, Annecy's sophisticated Fete du Lac, Ribeauville's accessible ruined castles and half timbered architecture and finally, returning to Fulda, OP Alpha and Kreuzberg for an authentic German experience and a walk down memory lane. We had a lot of highlights and very few misses.
Joe and Wendy remember that their last family European trip in 2005 (pre-Margaret), had seemed like just the right amount of time. We remember feeling like it had been time to go home at the end, although perhaps this was because we'd done more driving on that trip or perhaps because Alex had only been two years old which is considerably harder than having a 4.5 year old.
In contrast, this trip seemed to be ending just a little too soon, even though it was longer. This time we'd spent three weeks instead of two, and although we feel we'd done our itinerary justice, there's more than a tinge of sadness to know that this great trip is ending. The only consolation is that someday (hopefully soon) there will be another one in our future...
P.S. Over the next few months, Joe continued to receive parking tickets from Switzerland and Germany. Expensive! :)
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