Here's a condensed travelogue....More details to come soon.....

We're back......It was a totally awesome yet tiring trip....The weather was in the high 80's all week, with no rain..... Singapore Air is awesome! They give you socks and a toothbrush for the trip....Adam liked his so much that he collected a half dozen pairs before we came back home! Their food was great, they had video systems in every seat for the trip so you could watch tv, movies or play video games. They even had a GPS system on video to show you where you were during the trip - so when you look outside , you knew what you were looking at. Leaving from NYC was a bad idea, especially on a Friday afternoon...We left Scranton at 1:30, and got to the airport at 6:30, with the last two hours spent crawling along at 5 mph.....At least it wasn't bad coming back on Sunday.....But I think I'll stick to Philly from now on. And to top it all off, we are officially in a ten day waiting period to see if we could have been possibly infected with SARS. They handed us these pamphlets after landing Sunday to tell us that the plane originated in Singapore before coming to Frankfurt, so technically, even thought there have been no new cases in Singapore in a month, we should "monitor our health" for ten days to see if we get sick! You think they would have mentioned that before we took off :) We spent all 8 nights in Frankfurt at a really nice hotel - the room was like a small, three room apartment. We thought breakfast was included, but the hotel staff told us it was 8 Euros each per day.....Since I couldn't proove it, we ate at McD's for breakfast every day. Now that I am back at work, I just checked Travelocity's web site, and found that it was listed as "Complimentary"....I sent a complaint to the hotel and web site, but I don't think it will get me anything. Other than that, everything was great. Frankfurt is a nice city, and we spent three of our 8 days getting to know it. We went to the zoo, and spent a day on "Museum Row", a series of museums on the bank of the river Main. The film museum was probably my favorite. We saw the cathedral where all of the kings of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned (rebuilt, of course, because of WW2), and spent time walking around the shopping areas and the old town - usually looking for the next sausage or pretzel stand :) I tried ApfleWein (apple Wine),a hard cider that is made locally. It tastes like white wine, but is not really stronger than beer. The lady at the stand suggested I try it with a little bit of Lemonade added to it, to cut the bitterness. We used our other five days to see the rest of Germany with our rail pass. We cruised the Rhine for a day, and went into Luxembourg and Switzerland (Zurich and Basel). We saw Regensburg and Nuremburg, Trier, Cologne, Dusseldorf, & Boppard. We have great pictures from a 900 meter tall mountain accessabe by cable car. We saw all of the big rivers (the Rhine, Danube, Main, Elbe, & Mosel), and the almost vertical vinyards that cover the valleys. We spent time at a great chocolate museum, and have some yummies for the kids - assuming I don't eat them and they don't melt before we see you! Trier, a town founded by the Romans, was an administrative center under Constantine. When he converted to Christianity, his mother, St. Helena, sent people to Jerusalem to collect relics. The church claims it has the robe of Christ from the crucifixtion. The cathedral in Cologne, so big that we never could take a picture of the whole thing in one shot, claims to have the bones of the three wise men. Our cruise down the Rhine had a different castle on the shore every mile or two. The scenery was beautiful and everchanging, but it repeated a pattern over and over - a castle, near a small town or village, with vinyards up the sides of the valley as far as possible. Then there would be some woods to seperate the next series of castles/towns/vinyards. Of course, we did have our "duh" moments. After exploring Basel for a while, we decided to walk back to the German border, assuming it was the Rhine river. After a long walk, we crossed the river , only to find the border was still a long way away. So we caught a bus that was supposed to go to the "German rail station", but when the bus ended it's route, we were near the border, but no where near the rail station. That's when we found out that the "German" rail station was really about 4 miles into Switzerland. It was very strange, since Switzerland is not an EU country, but the rail station in there territory had a German police force, and customs and immigrations station!?! We finally did find it, and get on the train home, only to miss our stop at the Frankfurt airport, and end up going to Bonn before we could turn around again! And then there was the day we went looking for the natural history museum in Frankfurt. We couldn't quite figure out the subway stop, and no-one seemed to understand us when we said "dinosaurs" or natural history - the German word was way too long to pronounce. So we finally found a portable information center in a bus downtown, but the English speaking German guy there still didn't understand us. Finally, a Chinese guy looking for information came up, and used a portable translator to translate "dinosaur" from English to German for us. Finally, the German guy understood what we were looking for. "ah, you're looking for the (whatever)museum!" We're smiling, the Chinese guy is smiling, and the German guy is smiling. We finally all understand what we are talking about. "Sorry", he says," that is closed for the month" Doh! And there was the usual no ice for the sodas, or no cold sodas at all, and water almost always is carbonated. And then in Zurich, we saw a place that had hamburgers - the first non-American fast food place we saw that had them - so we tried them. They were served in a pita roll, and covered with curry like we would use ketchup! But they were good, and huge, so I didn't mind my mouth burning for an hour later :) We even found a Chinese place that had General Tso's chicken - and it came close to tasting like it does in the states. I guess it is all part of the adventure of traveling. At least we could always count on finding a good sausage sandwich, or pretzels that taste like they could have come from Philly. And we caught several episodes of South Park and the Simpsons in German, so I think I learned a few new curse words!

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