Day 13- Thursday, October 4, 2001

We slept late (at least for us) until 7:30. One last shower in the 'transporter room.' This is the name that we had given to the shower stall, as it was curved and had curved sliding doors. You stepped into it, then pulled both sides of the door shut. It reminded us of transporter room that could have been used in the 'Star Trek' TV series. Breakfast was served at 9:00am and consisted of orange juice, a plate of cold meats like salami and some sort of smoked meat (I think it was pork), and bread and butter. When we finished that, we checked out before loading our bags into the car. The bill here was about 525 DM, or $242 for two nights plus all of the delicious meals and drinks that we had. What a deal! We drove back to Loreley to catch the ferry to cross the river to St. Goar to go back to the wine shop that we had seen yesterday. The ferry ride was 6 DM one way. We found a place to park close to the shop. There was an automated ticket machine which took your money and dispensed a ticket with the expiration of your parking time which was to be displayed on the dashboard in the front window. I put in 1 DM for one hour.

The wine shop was only a block away. Entering the store we got the customary taste of peach brandy, and we waited for the clerk that we had met yesterday to enjoy our own private wine tasting session. This guy is originally from the UK but has been living here for the past 15 years. I'm partial to the German white wines, and in particular the Rieslings. We tasted several of them and purchased 12 bottles in addition to some peach and blackberry brandy. This will be shipped to us later. We got back in the car and drove up the road towards Castle Liebenstein, since the cruise didn't go that far up the river to that point. We got to see the castle from the other side of the river. We drove on a bit further and then turned around and headed back towards a town called Bingen. We hoped to find a place there for lunch but zipped right through town without finding anything interesting. Before we knew it we were on the motorway back to Frankfurt. We managed to turn around and head back where we took another ferry to Rudesheim.

We had lunch at an outdoor café. I had the fried pork cutlet (schnitzel) and Barb had the chicken cordon bleu with French fries, of course. We wandered around the streets and shops and bought a few more souvenirs. We parked in the same area that we did yesterday for the cruise which was across the railroad tracks. Getting out of the parking lot we had to wait for 3 trains to pass. The automatic crossing gates come down about 3 minutes before the train actually crosses the road. It took us nearly 15 minutes to get across the tracks. We finally made it across and were out of town on our way back to Frankfurt.

Just outside of Rudesheim I stopped to fill up the car. It took 31 liters of gasoline and cost 61 DM, nearly 30 dollars. That made gas about $4 per gallon. The signs to Frankfurt and the airport were easy to find and follow, as were the signs for rental car return. We returned the car in terminal 1 where we had rented it then went outside to find a taxi to the hotel. The cab we engaged had a faulty trunk latch so after about 15 minutes of fussing with it the driver took out 2 bungee cords and fastened the trunk lid. It was about a 15 minute ride to the hotel.

We checked in to room 614 at the InterContinental hotel and immediately went to the front desk to inquire about attractions and things to do around the area. We also inquired about the voucher we had for limousine pickup to the airport tomorrow and the concierge promised to look into it. Barb suggested the Hard Rock Café for dinner. The front desk said that it is close to the stock exchange so we took a taxi there. We ordered dinner- I had the steak sandwich, the first red meat that I have had in two weeks, and Barb had the 'Rock Burger' both with fries. These people do know how to make French fries! We bought T-shirts and pins and set off to see more of the area on foot. We did walk around but by this time all of the stores were closed so we took a taxi back to the hotel. We again inquired about the voucher we had for limousine pickup to the airport tomorrow and the concierge said that everything was arranged for pickup at 9:00am. It was very warm in the hotel lobby and even hotter in our room; like a roasting oven. We called twice to maintenance to have them take a look at it. Finally, after about an hour and a half, two maintenance men showed up and replace the air filter in the room. It was absolutely black and clogged up, and obviously had not been changed for a very long time. This action helped the air flow in the room a bit but didn't have any effect on the temperature. Fortunately the window opened and it remained open until we left. It wasn't like air conditioning but it was better than nothing at all.

I tried the TV/Internet access but had no luck getting it to work. We called home about 9:15 to check in and did some last-minute rearranging of our luggage for the trip home tomorrow, and went to bed around 9:30. I woke up several times during the night because of the strange smells coming in the open window.

On the Autobahn towards Frankfurt
St. Goar
Autobahn exit for Frankfurt Airport
World's Largest Cuckoo Clock
Hotel in Frankfurt
Inside the InterContinental Hotel
Hard Rock Cafe in Frankfurt
Rhine River Valley map
View of the Main River from our room
Day 14- Friday, October 5, 2001.

Today is our last day in Germany. We woke up about 6:30 and finished packing before going to breakfast. It was a very fine buffet, the kind that we have gotten used to being here. After breakfast we picked up our bags and went downstairs to wait for the limo that was to pick us up. The bellmen tried to stuff us into an available taxi but the driver didn't understand the voucher and I was having trouble making both understand that there was a limousine scheduled to pick us up at 9:00am. I finally told them that this wasn't the ride that we signed up for and that we would only go with a limo driver and not a taxi. About 3 minutes later, at 8:55, a sleek new black Mercedes sedan pulls up. The driver gets out and asks for our names and confirms that this is his pickup. He easily stows our bags in the trunk and we're off to the airport. The driver is very polite and VERY professional. We strike up a conversation and learn that he is an Army brat who was born in Hawaii and has lived all over the world including Germany. He married a German woman and settled here. When we got to the airport he explained that he had a special parking permit that allowed him to park anywhere in the airport for a short period of time. He parked near one of the entrances from an underground parking lot, unloaded our bags, got us a luggage cart, and made certain that we got to the correct terminal and check-in counter. His services were most appreciated.

The Old Opera House in Frankfurt

We got our bags checked and our seats assigned. We then proceeded through security screening. It wasn't much different than what were have always experienced. My CPAP machine didn't even raise an eyebrow here, but was manually inspected in Lynchburg when we left. Our flight leaves from gate E9 in terminal 2. In order to get to the gate we have to go through yet another security check, this one with a hand-held metal detector and body pat-down.

There were two planes leaving at about the same time, within 15 minutes of each other, and every passenger had to go through this security in order to get to the gate area. There were two X-ray machine stations but only one was operational and the line was very long, probably 400+ people waiting to get through. The other flight was Continental and there was someone waving a Continental sign saying "Continental passengers come through first since we leave before US Air.' So we let them go through. It was still a mess. Finally the other security scanning station opened up and took up some of the load. Once at the gate we told the agent what had happened and she agreed that it was not right that Continental 'pulled rank' on the people in line and said that she would report it.

Scheduled departure was at 11:45am. We boarded at 11:20am, pushed back from the gate on time, and lifted off at 12:21. The plane was an Airbus A330. Our seats were 26C and D. There was a TV screen in the back of each seat which offered a large selection of entertainment- TV, movies, radio, etc. I watched Dr. Doolittle II and Enemy at the Gate, and some other selections including radio.

We arrived in Pittsburgh on schedule and had a little more than an hour to catch the flight to Lynchburg. We went through customs and baggage re-check. We had to be re-screened for security and once again there was only 1 station open for to handle all of the people on our flight. We made it through and high-tailed it to the 'E gates' for the commuter flights. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare.

Once on the plane to Lynchburg we sit and wait nearly 40 minutes past the scheduled departure time. The captain tells us that there are two bags that are supposed to be loaded on the plane that have not been through security screening and cannot be verified with any passenger traveling aboard. All during this time there is no air conditioning and the plane is like an oven. The young lady next to us looks out the window and declares 'Those are my bags.' She is told that she can either hold up the plane (further) or have the bags delivered to Lynchburg on a later flight. She opts for the latter and soon we're on our way home.

We finally departed Pittsburgh and arrived in Lynchburg about 35 minutes late. Our bags arrived with us and we concluded our adventure.

We hope you have enjoyed our virtual trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
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