Day 1 — Monday, May 27: Arrival in Frankfurt

Train station in Osnabrück

We got to Frankfurt from Omaha via Atlanta without a hitch, but with the usual not-enough-sleep during the short 8-hour night. We did watch a couple of interesting documentaries (the one about free solo-climbing of El Capitan in Yosemite, since we watched climbers WITH ROPES there in 2012 in awe, and one about the origins of the Meow Wolf art collective, since we went to their House of Eternal Return exhibit in 2017) and I watched the Ruth Bader Ginsberg  fiction film, which was meh but at least made the time pass.  Since we were so punctual, we had a lot of time to hang out at the Frankfurt train station at the airport (from 9 to almost 1 pm) and then the long but beautiful train ride from Frankfurt to Osnabrück, which took another 4.5 hours, with some beautiful views of the Rhine and all kinds of little castles and terraced vineyards and fortified walls. We chatted with an adorable elderly couple on their way to Bremen. The husband had forgotten all his English (he was at least in his 80s) but he really wanted to tell Mark all about his career in engine repair with the German distributor of Caterpillar, so I had to do a lot of translating. 

By the time we arrived in Osnabrück, we were very tired and I was really sore and glad not to be sitting anymore. We stood in the bus to my mom‘s and that was a great relief to my back. Long stretches of sitting make my sciatica kick in and no amount of shifting positions makes it better. But since I‘ve been reading about traveling in 18th and 19th century Italy by carriage and train, I keep thinking of how much of a 21st-century first-world problem that is. Especially since I don‘t have to wear the constricting women‘s clothes of the day, either. The only thing that turned out to be truly and unexpectedly 19th century is that we couldn‘t take showers last night after 24+ hours of travel—the 4-condo apartment building where my mother lives had a major plumbing issue that needed to be resolved first. I would think that food access has greatly improved, but of course the big highlight was to to have a traditional evening meal with fresh rolls, cheese and cold cuts plus a lovely salad at my mom‘s to wrap up the day. It was wonderful to see her, although it didn’t seem possible that a year had gone by since the last time we saw her. So we just went for a quick walk to the nearest ALDI, which sells super cheap no-contract data packages for our phones (traveling with an engineer means that 24/7 internet access is a must, and of course far cheaper here than in the US—4 weeks and 6 gig with phone/texting access costs 19.99 euro, without 14.99, and the relevant SIM card only 3 euros extra). Then we really started drooping and went to bed around 9 pm.