The Road To Germany: Travel Journal (and VIDEO!)

May 24, 2020

We spent our final day in St. Louis (with Grandma in tow!) with a trip to the Zoo, lunch from Salt & Smoke (HOW had we never been before?!), and rounded out the evening with pizza and next level packing Tetris to remove as many sticking points from our travel day(s) as humanly possible. Oh, and about five (six?) frantic texts to our driver confirming (and reconfirming) transportation to the airport.

Below is part diary, part stream of exhausted consciousness from our journey:

Sunday, 8 March 2020

With a few last minute details to button up, I headed out on foot to the bank, library and most importantly for breakfast from Kaldi's - ordering the largest sized latte they sold. With an extra shot for good measure.

Back at our hotel, the boys were slowing starting their day while Mark packed, and upon my return we had our final breakfast huddled in the dining/living area of our hotel room. 

Once everyone was dressed, the bellman (saints, all of them) began the tedious task of ferrying all of our luggage to the lobby, which was made challenging by not only the sheer volume of luggage, but the fact our room was accessible via two small sets of stairs after exiting the elevator, making the use of a cart only possible part of the way.  

During check in at the airport, a few of our bags were overweight so the kind gentleman at the service counter assisted us in doing a bit of last minute restructuring. At one point, I was so flustered unpacking/packing (in typical type A, I'd packed and labeled each bag for a specific purpose along our journey) that when he asked me to "get on the scale",  I proceeded to sit atop the luggage currently on the scale. After a few strange glances exchanged, he and I erupted into fits of laughter over my blunder. 

With our load lightened slightly (we carried on 3 carry-on suitcases, 4 backpacks and our diaper bag), we headed off into the terminal to burn off as much energy as possible before the first leg of our journey.  And consume all the snacks, obviously. 

STL to ORD was uneventful. Hallelujah.

We had a four hour and change layover in Chicago, so after a late lunch headed off in search of the children's play area about a 15 minute walk from our gate (shout out to Mark for insisting we find it), which turned out to be a savior for both the kids and parents alike.

Boarding our the flight we found that each parent sat in a row(!) with a child and settled in. The events that followed will be hilarious one day, I hope.  Asher took a cat nap during dinner service, while Owen luxuriated in the seat-back TV all to himself. We put the boys in footie pajamas with the expectation of bedtime grandeur (laughs manically). We were so very wrong. Asher could not settle enough to fall asleep and demanded (via hours of resistant/exhausted whines) so Mark and I took turns walking the aisles while literally everyone else on our red eye slept. By about 2a Owen began expressing his overtired dislike, asking "why Germany was so far away", "why haven't we landed yet", and my personal favorite (after he'd taken a cruelly short cat nap), "I thought we'd be there by now."  Me too kid, ME TOO. By some miracle I managed to consume a glass of wine requested when beverage service began at 5p, sharp.  Were the doors even closed? I didn't care. 

Monday, 9 March 2020
Miles Traveled: 4,567 (from our STL home to our new city)

As fate would have it, we landed what felt like an hour after both boys fell asleep because, OF COURSE.

Then there was, "Race To The Gate - A Toddlers Urgent Restroom Need Amid An Extended Taxi To The Gate.

Deplaning down two flights of stairs (we never got a gate), with 2 semi-conscious toddlers in pajamas + 3 carry on suitcases + 4 backpacks + 1 diaper bag + stroller. Entering the shuttle that took us to the gate. Repeat luggage process off bus.

No line at customs! (we later realized this was due to our 30 minute detour to the restrooms to freshen everyone up - read: put clothes and shoes on semi conscious tiny humans)

The kind (yet gruff) airport employee who assisted in stacking our luggage cart (I'd given up and was shoving my credit card in the machine for a second one).

Settling into our hotel, then heading off on foot to explore. 

Burger King for dinner. One child is leaning HARD into only consuming chicken nuggets and french fries and his bleary eyed parents chose not to engage in that battle.


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