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Published: July 19th 2011
I got up around 5:30 so I could get to the train station so I could meet Derrick since we were going to Kassel that morning and his flight got in around 6:10 am. I was checking out before breakfast which was sad, but the train stations have really good food as well. As I left the hostel there were still some people finishing up partying on the street as I saw a guy chug the last of a beer (I am in the red light district).
I rode the train to the airport where I was meeting Derrick, his plane was getting in at 6:10, but then he would have to get through customs so it would take him a bit to get out of the airport. I got there just before 6:30 and quickly realized that . . . uhoh . . . we had never decided on a meeting point (which would have been difficult since neither of us had ever been to this airport, but still). There were so many sections to the airport, the incoming trains, the airport terminals, and the outgoing train sections; it was going to be like finding a needle in a
haystack! I spent the next half hour trying to figure out what would the best place for me to stand with the most chance that Derrick would be in that area (hoping and praying that he still hadn’t gotten out of customs yet). I walk to my best guess of a place to meet him and as soon as I get there I hear my name! Derrick had just walked through the doors and saw me! It was all luck since he said there were plenty of doors to choose from to get to the train station, but he chose the ones where I was standing just by chance! It was meant to be!
Now it was onto the task of getting him a ticket to Kassel where we were meeting his family. I haven’t had to buy a ticket at all on my trip since I have a EurRail pass which allows me on all the trains. So this was a new experience for me as well. We went to the kiosk and I punched in all of the information and then Derrick tried to give it the bills it needed, but it wouldn’t take them! Uhoh. We
tried again and again and no luck.
We walked back to an information person and asked for a ticket, and she kindly told us to buy it at the kiosk. We then told her our troubles, and she offered the solution of giving Derrick coins in exchange for his bill, and that worked! Soon enough we were on the train to the Main station of Frankfurt where we will need to get him another ticket to Kassel.
Getting his ticket to Kassel wasn’t a problem at all, and once I saw how expensive it was (140 Euro) I was so glad I had my EurRail pass! We managed to find two seats together on the fairly full train to Kassel and then I realized why there were two seats free at that spot, there wasn’t a window! The best part of the train is watching the countryside go by, I apologized to Derrick and said we would switch as soon as someone got off (which only took a few minutes and then Derrick had a great view of the German countryside - Mission accomplished).
We got to the Kassel train station and met Derricks Uncle Helmar (who lives
in Vellmar, so whenever he says his name its “Helmar from Vellmar!” imagine that with a thick German accent!) Oh. My. Goodness. German hospitality has now descended upon us. It started right there in the train station, when Helmar bought us two coffees and a sandwich each (I thought the portions in the US were huge, these were giant coffees and sandwiches) and of course he wouldn’t let us pay. We were supposed to meet Derrick’s cousin Alina, but we waited for her and she didn’t show, so we left and went to Derrick’s great Aunts house where we met Alina. Oh my goodness, she is the prettiest girl I have ever seen! A spitting image of Heidi Klum! Plus she is smart, in German schools you have to take proficiency tests and in her English proficiency test she scored the highest mark you can get. So when talking to Derricks great Aunt and sometimes with Helmar (his English is ok) we used Alina as a translator.
After chatting with everyone for a while Alina said she was going to the grocery store and I wanted to go with her just to see what a smaller city has to offer
with the local grocery store and Derrick decided to come along as well. When we got to Alina’s car it was the smallest thing besides a smart car I have seen! It was a ford KA (it’s so small the “kar” couldn’t fit the “r” on it haha, ok bad joke but I crack myself up). We zipped to the store where one section looked exactly like a beer distributor, but it turned out it was all for the different types of water! There were so many brands and types they need a warehouse to sell it!
We got what we needed and then headed back, then Helmar, Alina, Derrick, and I all went to the Kassel’s biggest monument, the Herkkules. Herkkules is the English Hercules, he stands at the tallest point in Kassel and from up near him you can look down upon the city (it’s quite a sight) and while they didn’t have it flowing while we were there, they have it set up for the water to flow down the middle of the steps up to the Hercules and it produces a great image!
Helmar then took Derrick and I back to his house which is
where we will be staying for the next two nights. Derrick was feeling pretty jet-lagged so we left him to sleep and Helmar and I went to the grocery store to buy items for dinner that night.
We first stopped at Helmars daughter’s house, Rebecca, who lives one building over. She is very nice and has a wonderful dog, Nika, that Helmar treats like his grandchild (it’s so cute!). After visiting Rebecca we went to the grocery store, but on the way we stopped and had cake! (ahhh more food!) The grocery store had the best meat selection I have ever seen (eat your heart out Dad). It was like going to the farmers markets in Pennsylvania Dutch country! Only this wasn’t anything special, this was the everyday!
We took it all back and I tried to help Helmar and Rebecca with getting dinner ready, but they wouldn’t have it! We had a great dinner that night on Helmar's balcony of sausages, steaks, and chicken. Rebecca even introduced us to a mixed juice drink of sparkling water and thick peach juice, everything was delicious! We even had a dessert called spaghetti eis (ice cream meant to look like
After dinner Derrick was beat so he went to bed, but I stayed up talking to Helmar and watching German TV, it was a nice change of pace!
I then went to my room and the bed Helmar had set up for me was so comfy! It was again a nice change from the hostel life to be able to sleep in a comfy bed, with nice comfy covers and not have to make your bed up first! (Those duvet covers can be tricky!)
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