Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weeks 18 + 19: Fast cars and runaway girls

This is an exciting update... it's been a fun couple weeks!
Nurburgring: So there were two parts to the Big 4-0 present, the 2nd part being Formula 1 tickets to the Grand Prix finals at Nurburgring. I didn't really "get" it, but apparently most guys would love to see this! We've been to a monster truck rally in Tacoma- this was on a whole different level :)
Mom was here in Munich (Dad went home a week earlier), so we kissed the kids and took a 4 hour car ride north to stay overnight near Koblenz, about 40 km from Nurburgring. Had a great dinner (with NO interruptions), partook in the sauna scene, and slept like a baby. We were on our way by 10:30 a.m.... remember I said it was 40 km away.
CRAZY scene started about 10 km away, traffic virtually stopped so we had LOTS of time to check out all the international license plates and fancy cars enroute. All of this is good fun, until it's 12:00 p.m. and we are completely out of gas, and the nearest exit is backed up 2 km to exit to the races. Crikey. We have a quick debate about what to do, and end up coasting as much as possible about 5 km past our exit to a gas station just off the highway. WHEW.

Garmin leads us to a nice detour from there, and we cruise along a back way right almost right to the site! Cool. Now it's 12:30 p.m. (2 hours so far) Now we sit in traffic crawling past all the parking lots, with Polizei telling us to move a long cause they are full. WHA? 1:00 p.m. (race starts at 2 p.m.) and we've been routed past all main parking lots, away from the race into a valley. HUH???

Eric's starting to break a sweat at this point- and he doesn't even know how much I paid for these tickets.... All along this road to nowhere, there are cars squeezed in to the ditches, paralleling the street, even up into the trees a little. We see a hole across the street and make a run for it with the car AND don't quite fit parallel, have the back end in traffic and the front end in dirt and grass. Cops come, tell us we'll be towed if we don't move, yadda yadda. Eric's dripping sweat, gets out, starts rocking the car while I'm in reverse. We do this for a while, tires spinning a bit and getting more stuck then Ah HA! Parking break is on. :) Pop it out, back up, off we go, to nowhere again, but at least not to a tow lot. This does end happily--- Eric drops me on the side of the road, goes driving off down into the valley, and shows up about 20 minutes later, half-jogging, sopping wet. We run-walk for another 15 minutes back up the hill and TADA at 2 minutes to 2:00pm start, we find our seats!


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The race itself was very cool- I picked seats in the loudest section, so we were at the hairpin turn on the south end of the track. You do get a little rush when you hear those cars whine past REALLY loud. I hate to admit that we never quite figured out who was in the lead....but regardless, we know an Aussie Red Bull won in the end, and we're happy for him.

Here's a little video of the start:

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Girls run away to Paris

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My favorite part of the last two weeks happened when I realized we've been here almost 6 months, and I haven't gotten to Paris. DAMMIT. So with a bit of coordinating, Vivian and I got on a 6:20 a.m. speed train Tuesday and were in Paris by 12:30 for our 36 hour trip to Paris! Tres bien! In a nutshell, we:
Ate and strolled through the Tuilleries, watched the little sailboats in the ponds and found the statue we got her picture with at 19 months

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Took a fantastic bike tour on a tandem through the neighborhoods of Paris (http://www.bikeabouttours.com)/ and saw some very off-the-beaten-track things. My favorite sites I think were these little images made of tile stuck on the sides of buildings by an anonymous artist called Space Invader. This guy must have connections--- no one has seen him, and he got several of them into the Louvre. Vivian had a lot of fun looking for little invaders on all the buildings.

Ate the best and worst things I've ever had in my life. BEST? Trois fromage torte from a cafe in the Latin district. WORST? Wow- this was the most Fear Factor thing I've ever tasted-- major faux pas with my accidental order. I got so excited about "Andouillette" on a menu cause I thought it was like "Andouille"- NOT. Among other indescribeable bits and pieces, I did see spices in the sausage. So I figured, it should at least taste good, right? Our waiter was really nice and very handsome, so I tried my best, but seriously- I have never, ever eaten anything like it. And I didn't. Except for 2 bites.

Walked up the first two levels of the Eiffel Tower, walked quickly back down because of thunderstorms (NOT the place I want to be in lightning). Ate an ice cream at the bottom in the rain, watched the storm pass, saw a rainbow, then bought another ticket to quickly get us to the top in between storms.



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Went on a very girly little shopping trip- Vivian got swooped up and dressed by a very enthusiastic store owner, who ended up selling us a women's shirt as a dress for Vivian. Then she sent us to her sister's shop, to finish the job with us I guess. :) While I was trying on clothes, Vivian got douced in perfume by the lady- I think her hair still smells like strong lillies. Eh, if it's gonna happen, Paris is a great place to be!
Ambushed Mom, Aunt Marilyn and Mary in their hotel at 10:30- TOTAL surprise to everyone, even Vivian! I had the receptionist tell them there was a problem with their bill. Mom came down all business, with a binder and pencil to straighten out the situation. Walked right past Vivian. Aunt Marilyn saw me, then saw Vivian, then sort of screamed. Great surprise, and great to see one of my very favorite aunties. :)

Ended this round with a very fun night to the Hirschgarten with Bob and Nancy Runge. Very fun time and great to talk to people from our hood who know and love Munich too. Aside from Bob sending us fantastic tips while we've been here, their fearlesss travel with kids and sense of adventure has really inspired us.

OK more soon, probably our last Big Blog update to come.... :)

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