Nifwl Seirff

Frankfurt to Bremen, along the Rhine river - December 2003

We hired a tiny car with the power of a lawnmower, for almost nothing at the airport. It was plastered in rental company advertising, which we found out later, is an open invitation to thieves. After a shopping stop and a family visit in Frankfurt, and an excellent period faire at a local medieval castle, we leisurely drove to the Bodensee. A quick trip to the top of the Zuggspitze introduced me to a level of cold I had never felt before.

Passing through the border countries, by the Bodensee, we started up the Rhine. Most of the sights were closed, because it was the low season around Christmas and New Years, but we did get to see Neuchwanstein without many tourists (almost unheard of).

I was befriended by an adorable cat at Hotel Knoblaugh in Friedrichshafen, were I also discovered a gorgeous collection of gargoyles. Luckily they were made of concrete, or I would have had to bring them home!

flickr | nifwlseirff | Germany 2003

Christmas was spent in Bremen with the family, and we made a short but unforgettable trip to Hamburg on Boxing day to see the premier of the Return of the King in English. Thieves decided it would be fun to steal my bag (with passports, flight tickets, medications and a bunch of other irreplaceable things).

This resulted in an emergency trip to the doctors and pharmacy to replace prescriptions, and a lightning trip to Berlin, to visit the Australian embassy (who were amazingly, wonderfully helpful), on the only day between Christmas and New Years which they were open, to get a replacement passport. Fighting with China Airlines was even more fun, to get replacement tickets!

But I made it home. I will also never again fly China Airlines - although I had marked allergic to dairy I received the following: butter, milk, yoghurt, cheese, milk chocolate, and food containing cream. In one meal, the only dish I could eat was the melons, and they were fermenting! When my nose started bleeding, none of the flight attendants paid any attention, and I had to get my partner to go to one of the stations to ask for tissues and ice. After I arrived home, I became extremely sick, probably from a bug picked up on the plane. It was an extremely nasty end to an otherwise nice holiday.