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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Chapter 1 is at the end of the Cold Feet: Teaser thread.

1. inscrutable sculpture and child in Darmstadt
2. tidy little Hessen village
3. Castle above village
4. Hard to tell, but this is exquisite tile work inside a tower in Darmstadt.
5. First World Cup match: Togo vs. S. Korea, June 13

We were chauffeured around by our hosts for several days after our arrival in a huge, comfortable, VW van that handled autobahn speeds nicely (80-90 mph). Everywhere we stopped our kids played soccer, often with local children. Fun to watch.

June 14, the day after the SKorea/togo game we took the train to Munich, (and, by coincidence, sat right next to a family from arizona picking up their 5-series. They took a taxi to the DC and we took the ubahn. We carried two backpacks, a lightweight but sturdy stroller, and a bag containing the car seats for the three boys. Because we arrived at Munich at about 12:30, we had no trouble with carting the luggage around in crowds...the hike to the delivery center from the ubahn station was simple and short. Still we got there about 2:50 or so, when our new friends from the train had arrived at least an hour earlier....
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Chapter 3

June 14...Delivery Day!
1. love that sunroof!
2. obligatory, though out of focus, shot of delivery moment speedometer reading.
3. equally obligatory delivery center departure shot
4. View out of our Nordlingen hotel window (Hotel Weiss-Lamm), June 15
5. Square in Rothenburg, June 16.

The car handled all five of us, car seats, luggage and all very well space wise, and of course drove beautifully. If I packed carefully I could always keep our belongings covered by the retractable cargo cover. We were fortunate that our hotels and hostels and apartment hosts throughout the trip were willing to do our laundry, sometimes for as much as 10 euros/load,but usually for only 5 euros, including drying. We packed light: four changes of clothes for the adults, 6 for the kids.

Liked Nordlingen a lot. Rothenburg not so much--beautiful, and great Kebabs, but too touristy. Legoland (no photos yet) was great for the kids but next time we'd return to EuropaPark. Driving the Romantic Road was lovely, and the car, did I mention, was a treat. I felt very confident in its capabilities and our safety.

The night we picked up the car Germany won its world cup match and the little town of Krumbach, where we were staying before our Legoland visit, went berserk. Fireworks, horn honking and general mayhem until 3am. The kids managed to sleep through most of it, but we adults were BEAT the next day.

Nordlingen, our second stop, is a beautiful walled city, most of which we saw from the car. This is also where the car received its first scratch, and I'm sorry to admit, it was entirely my fault. My lovely navigator wife was having trouble locating the right hiway on the map and rather than being patient enough to let her figure it out, I very malely and helpfully reached over to point to the spot she was looking for. In order to do this I had to, of course, take my eyes off the road, but I was only going about 3 miles an hour, well, maybe 10, when I did it. Navigator woman looked up, said OH!, I followed suit, but couldn't get the car stopped quick enough, and every so lightly rear-ended a tiny little Smart car that had stopped in front of me. :tsk: Fortunately, the german lady driving the Smart car was the nicest person in the world, and there was no damage to her car. The X3, however, had a few little nicks in the front bumper, and a uniquely bent ED plate, which will, of course, mock me forever: have you ever tried to straighten out a bent license plate? I guess this would count as a vote for NAV, no?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Chapter 4

1 and 4: race track at Legoland. Thank goodness these guys won't get their licenses for 8 and ten years respectively
2. Portugal/Iran game, June 17
3. The castle at Cesky Krumlov...a very cool place.
5. German Grandma Gundi babysitting the little one, while we were at the Port. game.

The soccer games were amazing. I don't think the US will ever have the passion for soccer that other countries have. I've never experienced anywhere near the intensity at a sporting event that I found during the world cup games. I can imagine some college football teams generating that kind of support on a smaller scale, but I can't think of a national US team that ever will generate the complete exhilaration and depression I saw at the two games we went to in Frankfurt. Trains filled beyond capacity in 90 degree heat and people still had the energy to sing their team songs with abandon. I'm glad my kids got to experience it. Finally, I was probably most impressed with the fan behavior: loud but not obnoxious or rude, and the stadium was spotless. A great experience all around, and frankly, I was surprised at how infected I got with the football fever...We must have watched 3/4 of the games on TV even when we weren't sure who was playing. My soccer playing sons had a lot to do with this but my wife and I were almost as transfixed as they were.

Back to our travels: We planned days of rest every other day, with usually three hours of driving or so on our travel days. Unfortunately, to cover all the ground we did (2432 miles by drop off), we also had three 6-hour driving days, which were simply too long for the kids. The port. DvD player helped a lot, but next time, if we have a car full of kids, no drives over 4 hours. There are just too many things to stop and see and take your time about, at least for my taste. So, our first long day was from Frankfurt to Cesky Krumlov--turned out to be about 7 hrs., with no one waiting at the hotel we were booked in, a small family pension in the center called Pension Lobo. The pension next door though, let me use their phone to call him, and he showed up five minutes later, and gave us two great rooms, because the triple he had promised us was already taken. No extra cost and great views of the old town, though not of the castle, which was just up the street. Cesky Krumlov is a place I'd go back to in a heartbeat and stay longer than 24 hours...loads of atmosphere, some neat activities like river rafting, and genuinely friendly people. PLUS, there were bears in the castle moat, so the kids were dazzled!

EDIT: sorry about the sideways photo...couldn't seem to get it straight!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Ryan, no worries

about the bumper...I figure I was fortunate to have not created any damage on someone else's car. It was so minor the guy at the Harms drop off missed it on his first check of the car....
 

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Superb write up and pics! Love the one of the car pulling out of the Delivery Center. Three kids
.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Mdsbuc!

More to come, but swamped with work and little league baseball right now:thumbup:
 
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