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FNQ Femme’s Travel Diary

Friday, 25 Jul 2008

Location: France

Map7am Friday - We packed a small bag each to take to Germany - catching metros and trains to Orly airport south of Paris.

9.30 - hopped on the plane with a new low cost airline to Paris - Air Berlin

10.30 - stop over in Munich - flying over the city was quite a nice outlook...very neat looking and green

Munich airport had a great shop with cheap jewellery - so brought quite alot - couldn't resist.

1.30 - arrived in Berlin - not fussed on the view of the city from above - or on the ground - but then again - not many cities do (except Cairns! of course)

We met my mate Merren at the airport and found the place to stand to wait for the bus shuttle service to take us to the big train station. Had no idea how to use the ticket machine. JL stood to one side minding the bags and Merren and I decided to join the long queue. Feeling the pressure of people behind us we faced this ticket machine not having any idea where we were going or how to work the machine...even though we had been given directions...nothing was making sense. A frustrated man in the queue started to yell instructions to us...probably just trying to help in that German gruff way that Peter used to do!! So we took his advice and 3 tickets appeared.

We hopped on the bus with JL feeling very unsure that us girls got it right.

I kept saying 'don't panic - its an adventure' ...with luck we arrived 30mins later at the large train ready for the next step - buying tickets and finding the train for the country town of Belzig.

We were given advice to continue ahead and there is a large ticket office on the left...getting there the queue was incredible...JL started to get all panicky again...and Merren and I decided to split up...she'd join the queue at a machine and I'd join the long queue at the ticket office. She succeeded in getting help from a young guy standing behind her - doing a deal if he helped her with working out how to buy tickets first - then he could push in front of done and success.

We were then off to the platform. On the train and there is no place for suitcases. So ridiculous...we struggle and get a seat and make do for 1hr till we arrive at Belzig. We had no idea when the station would appear and we kept saying ...'next'll be the one' each time the announcement came over what was coming up had no chance in making it out. Definately not a place that is catered to the tourist or english speaker.

Arriving at Belzig - it was a small country town - and as we gathered outside the tiny station with some other people - waiting in front of the only taxi in the village (driverless) - we struck up a conversation with them - and they turned out relatives of the bride from England!

Waiting patiently for the driver ...I decided to take a wander round the front of the station and walked inside the quiet ticket foyer - no one around...I saw a closed door and decided to try and see if there was actually a living person here! Low and behold it was a bar – and propping it up was the taxi driver – drinking a coffee – talking to the lonely barmaid.

After organising him to get back to work – he advised us that our hotel was only walking distance down the road. By a nice surprise the hotel was also a brewery! with lovely terrasses to boot. Merren and I spotted their café selling a selection of ice creams – so once we dropped the bags off we hightailed it down there making excuses to JL that he should have a little sleep!

Typical girls – Merren and I looked at each other clothes for the wedding and the reception for that night – and it was decided that my shoes match her dress so well – so with some swapping going on we both made up perfect outfits for the day. JL raised his eyes.

Our hotel had ordered a taxi for us to take us to the next little village for the reception…after 15mins out on the lonely street – it didn’t seem it was coming. So we went back into the hotel and ran into a delivery guy dropping off something – and in view of our plight next thing we were whisked into his tarago van off to the reception...and he drove at lightening speed as he was off to a poker game!

The hotel for the reception was really nice. It was going to be a BBQ/buffet at 20 euros a head – plus wine. It was nice to catch up with old friends and meet the other family members before the big day.

JL was really getting into the wine – and within no time he was happily on his way. Luckily we met up with someone with a car who we could hike a ride back that night – and plus he said he’d pick us up the next day to take us to the wedding! Great!

Arriving back at the hotel around midnight – JL decided it’d be a good idea for a nightcap – and so with another aussie in toe – Tabatha from Sydney – Merren and I followed them in and managed to get through another drink then leaving them to it – as there was no stopping them – Tabatha had a loud laugh and so JL had a captive audience with her – so he would not shut up! So Merren and I snuck off. Over an hour later JL and Tabitha sheepishly came back to the rooms.

They sure paid for it the next day. Down at breaky it was decided we go straight back to bed …where we slept till an hour before our pick up time.

Merren quite fancied the driver of the car – Bastien is his name – single friend of the groom (even if he had a mole on his nose) – as I told her that’s only minor surgery – nothing to worry about. So that proved entertainment for me throughout the wedding – seeing Merren play up to him – and giving advice! Another funny thing was the dress Merren was wearing was lent to her from a friend – and she felt it was pretty shapeless at the breast area – so after finding a safety pin – she spent the next few hours putting the pin in different positions to make a rouch in the middle of the dress – was very entertaining for us.

The weather turned ugly – raining – dark and cloudy. Arriving at the church we rushed inside as the rain was starting to fall. While waiting for the bride – in came 4 girls from London …all wearing bright hats – they looked a treat – really brightened up the church. Louise finally arrived and the service began – in german and English – her mum even spoke in german which was impressive – she learnt how to do especially for the wedding! I was thinking – god if I ever got married (don’t hold your breath) Mum would have to learn french! Imagine that!

During a momentous part of the service – the sky opened up with thunder so loud – you couldn’t hear yourself think! Everyone looked at each other…everyone thinking the same thing.
Then like a miracle the rain subsided enough for us all to make it back to our cars and head off back to the hotel where we celebrated the evening before.

In the gardens of the hotel – two guys playing guitars strummed while we drank champers – and the newly weds arrived and luckily the sun came out bright and Louise and Sebastien managed to get some photos in the massive gardens on the property.

The dinner was held within 3 rooms – so was not the usual wedding set up. The kids had their own table – and when we arrived – they had set up a lolly table for the kids – which was really cute – and of course all the adults were hanging around it …ME INCLUDED

The dinner was served as the night before – buffet style – plenty to select from – all very nice. JL was very good and decided not to drink…his accomplice Tabathia didn’t follow suit!

We had some laughs – made arrangements to catch up with some friends who now live in Luxemborg – so that will be something to look forward to. Music charged up and we had some dances. One of the songs came on especially for the Australians – ‘I come from the land down under’ …and that was a big hit.

Around 2am we all decided enough is enough and our chauffeur had decided he’d had far too much to drink and maybe JL could take the wheel. Off we went and just pulling into the drive of our hotel – the police were waiting for us….I immediately thought of the Gestapo…we drove into a car space and the police pulled up beside us…JL hasn’t got his licence on him…but does have his passport. At this point Bastien said he’d not own up that he was German as the Gestapo would interrogate him! God scary.
JL showed his french passport and we showed we all couldn’t speak anything but English – so after blowing in the bag – and coming up clear the copper was happy with that and let us go…phewwww

Was an exciting end to the weekend!

Got home finally the next day worn out…we had a delay in Munich for an hour – and that annoyed the french man to no end…I am sure I snored all night when my head hit the pillow in Paris that night.