"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad



Yes, we all made it—even our luggage! The plane ride was short and easy, but the fun began when the grandma and I had to navigate the Frankfurt airport without a word of German. It’s too bad I don’t have a picture to document this. Just imagine two confused-looking women, one pulling several suitcases while the other follows behind pushing a large stroller piled high with a car seat and carry-ons (a bit like the Leaning Tower of Pisa) and an infant strapped to her chest. The relief we felt at the sight of the (mostly) German-speaking father!

Then the race against time was on. We had to rush to catch a series of trains from Frankfurt to Marburg in order to get the last bus from the Marburg train station to our apartment. (Yeah, it was as confusing as it sounds!) When the train arrived in Marburg a few minutes late, we thought we were in for a long walk across town in the dark. Luckily, just as we were rounding the corner, we spotted the bus. The father made a run for it, and the rest of us trailed behind with the luggage.

Thank goodness for benevolent bus drivers! He stopped and opened the doors for us. We all ran to the front door of the bus, and the father got on and bought tickets. Grandma made it safely up into the bus with the suitcases she was carrying, but I was not so fortunate. The wheels of the stroller were too wide to fit inside. Several people on the bus started saying things in German to me and motioning towards the back of the bus. I correctly interpreted it as, “You stupid American, the entrance for strollers is at the back where the wider doors are!” So I went.

Now, I have bragged how I have become adept at going up and down stairs in the London underground, but that was when I had someone to help me, and there wasn’t a tower of baggage on top of the stroller to balance. This time it was me, alone, no language to communicate, a baby strapped on me and a stroller as tall as me. I stood in the doors for a minute, trying to tug at the stroller on the pavement, willing it to come up onto the bus but knowing full well it was hopeless. I looked around for the father to help, but he was stuck behind people on the other end of the crowded bus. Then, from nowhere, a man got off and lifted my load onto the bus. Before I had chance to thank him, a woman stood up and motioned for me to sit in her seat. Never had I been so thankful for a stranger’s help!

So we made it safe and sound to our new home in Germany. When the father flipped on the lights there were a few surprises, but I’ll leave that story for tomorrow…

Welcome to Marburg!

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