Germany Trip!! Day 1ish

Stuttgart, Germany.  Home to Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and my cousins Joe and Jess!  They moved there over 2 years ago because of Joe's job with the Army.  It took me longer to get over there to visit than I thought it would, but I am so so excited that I did!  One of their hugest selling points in getting people to visit (as if they needed much) was their ability to drive a little and see a ton of nearby cities, castles, and countries- you see, Stuttgart is further south in Germany, and close to Switzerland and Austria and the Alps there, as well as plenty of other awesome European destinations.

Joe and I skyped before I left, and we planned my visit so that he could book hotels, etc.  We decided on two 2-day trips, with Stuttgart/local destinations in between.  So Stuttgart - Prague, Czech Republic - Stuttgart - Salzburg, Austria - Stuttgart.  Did that make sense?  I hope that made sense.

I was so ready for vacay in like May...  But I planned for a later trip instead of a typical summer vacay.  Mostly because the flight was cheaper, but then I realized the bonus of less crowded tourist places, and less hot weather.  A downside I discovered was that I had to pack for the possibilities of both hot and cold (and rainy) Fall weather, but that just meant I got the excuse to over-pack ;-)  The weather ended up being absolutely beautiful, barring one rainy day, but for being there for 9 days, and mid-70s and sunny the rest of the time?  Oh man, thank you Mother Nature for showing me the best weather!

Oh right, so my vacation.  I'm gonna do this Korea Trip blog post style, where I write about a day at a time.  It's easier that way, and hopefully I can keep from crashing my blog with 200 pictures in one post.  I think I took about 800 this trip?  Trust me when I say I'm impressed I kept the number that low.

Ok, so Day 1ish.  You ready for this story?  Actually, if you don't care to read about delayed flights, etc, you can skip this whole paragraph.  I promise.  I left from Dulles on Thursday afternoon.  I am so surprised I even got to Germany the next day.  I got to the airport already knowing my flight was delayed an hour, then only half an hour, then back to on time, then back to delayed half an hour.  So by the time I got to my gate, I wasn't surprised it was delayed about 45 minutes now.  My layover in Newark was about 2 hours, so I wasn't worried.  Then we were delayed an hour, then "indefinitely" and I knew I needed to act.  I stood in line at customer service while on the phone with United customer service.  I reached someone on the phone first, and explained my dilemma.  He assured me the delayed flight was the only flight going to Newark left (really??  DC to Newark and the last one is at 3:15?  really?) and that even if I got to Newark, the only flight headed to Stuttgart was the one I had been originally booked on, so I would just have to take that same overnight flight but a day later.  I laughed and told him that was bull*** (calmly, I promise) then he laughed and said hold on please.  He came back several times, asking me one question then putting me on hold again as soon as he got the answer.  It was very strange, and I never had time to ask him what he was doing.  He then came back on and told me he had cancelled my tickets, I needed to go to a ticket counter, have them reissue my ticket, take it to the Lufthansa counter for another flight that would take me to Frankfurt from DC, then Stuttgart from there.  I actually stopped listening when he said he cancelled my ticket, so I had him repeat it a couple times while he got more annoyed that I actually wanted step by step instructions for what he thought was rather simple.  I went from A terminal to C terminal to get the ticket reissued, then to B terminal to get to Lufthansa.  Had a minor freak out there when the lady told me I was placed on the flight, but not actually on it.  Whatever that means, but then a guy came up and pointed to something and she made a face that clearly said she was wrong but wasn't going to admit it.  She then gave me my ticket and I started breathing again (I had stopped from "cancelled ticket" on).  I was still afraid I was going to get on the plane and be that person that was sitting in someone else's seat and then get bumped from the flight.  After I woke up in Frankfurt, I finally believed the whole process.  Thank you United for taking care of me!  Even though it was your stupid plane that caused a lot of headache to begin with...  Forget it, I got to Stuttgart, and somehow only 2 hours behind schedule!!

Jess picked me up from the airport because Joe had been sent to DC for work that week, haha, go figure, but he would be joining us the next day.  She fed me, and entertained me for the day while I struggled to stay awake on 3-4 hours of sleep from my overnight flight.  I think both architecture studio and early morning swim practices have taught me that sometimes you're just going to be tired, but you're just going to have to deal with it.  So we walked around downtown Stuttgart, seeing the view from the top of the Modern Art Museum
Then we walked along the palace and the grounds
And then ventured into a market thinking we would buy dinner stuff, but then figured since they didn't have the bread Jess wanted, we should just buy everything from the store by their house instead of lugging groceries further than needed.
PS- Check out their version of candy along the check-out aisle.
Then we crashed on the couch for a little and watched a movie, and I fought my closing eyelids...  Check out their view of Stuttgart!  And this is only one view of theirs!
Then we had an early dinner of bruschetta-caprese (a wonderful combination, totally attempt this immediately)...
...and then went on a walk to the top of the hill to overlook Stuttgart.  The city is kind of nestled into a valley and the views from this hill were beautiful.  Jess had enticed me on this walk by promising we could wear pajamas, so I apologize for a couple things in these photos- my swim meet shirt, my airplane hair and skin, and my how-am-i-still-awake glazed eyes.  But whatever, this is proof I was there!  Also there was a vineyard along the walk down :-)
We watched another movie, which I again struggled to stay awake to, and then when it was finally an appropriate time for bed (9:30 I think?), I peeled myself off the couch and laid down and was instantly wide awake.  Uggghhhh.  I played on my phone till about 10:30 and finally gave up and forced myself to close my eyes.  I slept super well, and slept in for awhile, like 9am I think, woo!

I was excited I made it to Germany and didn't end up missing a day, I was excited I had quickly adjusted to Germany time, and I was so excited to see my cousins and their home! 

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