A vacation is more than just the destination, it’s also about the journey. And our journey so far has been interesting.

My journey started a few weeks before vacation when I threw out my back, but only just. I though it would fix itself, but a few days before departure, it was still bothering me so I saw my doctor. She recommeded 5 days of Naproxen and referred me to physiotherapy.

The physiotherapist gave me one exercise to do, the cobra stretch, every two hours. I could see that would be a challenge given the overnight flight, but he showed me how to do against a wall.

After dropping off the cat at the Pussycat Hotel, we finished our packing, threw out any remaining food, and called the cab. And that is where our journey began.

The cab hadn’t shown up after 10 minutes, after 15 minutes, after 20 minutes. We called again and were assured it would be there in 5 minutes, but it was another 10. And when he did finally arrive he was indicating that we should cross the street to get into the cab, while NosyNeighbour was pointing him into the driveway.  Let’s just say he didn’t get the biggest tip ever.

The aiport was packed. The line up to check in was long, and we had no choice because of our bulky luggage (skis).  We barely had time to get through security and buy a book when all of a sudden our flight was boarding.

The flight crew was one of the best I’ve had. The flight director had a great sense of humour and it was clear that the crew were enjoying their jobs.  Their goodwill made up for the screaming child across the aisle from us. I’d brought nightshades dating back to our Qantas trip to New Zealand. Nosyneighbour was happy to don one pair to try to get to sleep. We both were forced to sleep with Air Canada radio piped into our headphones to try to drown out the screams and wails across the aisle.

I have to say the food was really disappointing, but not unexpectedly so. It’s just that it’s hard to go from first class to cattle class. The choice was chicken or pasta (not even beef!) for supper. The chocolate mousse dessert was pretty tasty and the bun was nice and warm.

But breakfast was one of the worst. A carrot muffin loaded with fat, and that was it.
When NosyNeighbour went to the toilet after supper to brush his teeth, I took the opportunity to try my seated version of the cobra stretch. I put my knees on my seat and faced the aisle behind us. Two women were sitting there and I introduced myself by saying I wasn’t planning to start a conversation but simply needed to stretch.
It turns out they too had recently thrown out their backs. ONe of them had a girdle and a heat pack on her back.  They were setting off for a cruise down the Danube with stops at the main Christmas markets. I told them that we might me again in Nuremburg. As we were chatting, the flight director came by asking people if they wanted anything else. When he got to my aisle, he called me “young lady”. Well I could have kissed him for making my day. I didn’t, but he did lean over in case I wanted to. And that brought some banter between him and NosyNeighbour upon his return to his seat.

Our flight left late and wasn’t able to make up any time. I knew our connection was going to be close, but decided that a pitstop was in order. How long would it take? With only one woman ahead of me in line, and five cubicles, I waited 10 minutes. Grrrr.

When we got to the security checkpoint I noticed the “fast lane” and got us into it.  We weaved our way through the terminal, finally finding our gate down below. Our bus had long departed with the passengers for our flight. So we had to return to the main concourse to get new boarding passes.

NosyNeighbour noticed him first. A skinny Kris Kringle was making his way around the concourse handing out small packages of Lebkuchen to unsuspecting passengers. Each package brought a smile to otherwise weary travelers.

Our new connecting flight was also late. Cattle class was packed, and our new seats weren’t together. Worse yet was that I was sitting right behind empty seats in first class. Like why would you have first class for a flight that lasts 30 minutes?

When we got to Nurnberg, we soon realized that our skis hadn’t. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise since our travel plans into the city included public transit and walking.  A nice English-speaking German woman assisted us with the purchase of our transit tickets.
The u-bahn is very clean and efficient. I believe it’s fully automated because I could not see a driver for our train. The eight stops between the Flughafen and HBF went by quite quickly
After checking into the hotel, we trapsed over to the Christkindlmarkt. For lunch, we stopped at a maroni vendor. Roasted chestnuts always warm up cold hands. Then we stopped for Nurnberg sausage (3) on a bun for NosyNeighbour. I was able to find a buchhaus and pick up my German coursebook for a much better price.  And on our way back to the hotel we stopped for pretzels.
After an hour and a half nap, we walked over to the Schaufelwartschaft for supper. They were quite busy with Christmas parties, but were able to squeeze us into a table with another couple. It’s sooooo German to do that. NosyNeighbour had the pork shoulder and I had the beef with gingerbread gravy. Both meals included a massive dumpling, and we each had pancake soup and shared some red sauerkraut. The meal came to 39 euro, including two beers and two no alkohol beers. Very good value for money.

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