P1020957-3.JPGMary and the Frasches near Breitach Gorge

We have just returned from the city center where I attended my first day of school at Tandem Language School and like a kindergartner in short pants on his first day of school I was both anxious and excited this morning as Mary and I walked through the rain to the subway station.

The first day went well. The class is only three students so I get lots of attention and the teacher goes at just the right pace for me. My fellow students are a young French woman and a young Italian man. I think I’m going to learn a lot at this school. Mary is still undecided about taking a language class but I’m working on her. Mainly, I’m concerned that she’ll get bored without the challenge of a class each day.

We bought subway passes for the month of October which allow us to travel anywhere, anytime, as often as we like on the subway and trams within a large radius of the city. Now we only have to figure the system out!

We really like our apartment. It’s spacious, nicely furnished and in a nice neighborhood. We have only to walk several blocks to catch a bus which carries us a mile to the subway and then the subway carries us to within a few blocks of the language school.

Since I last posted at the Amsterdam airport we went through quite an ordeal. We sat in the airport for six hours and people watched, waiting for our train. We went down to the track twenty minutes early so as not to miss the train. We were studying the information board there when a friendly Dutchman noticed our obvious “touristness” and offered to help. Since he was originally from South Africa, he spoke English well. We told him we were waiting for a train to Utrecht where we would switch trains to Koln. He said he was also bound for Utrecht and that we should catch his train.

All the way to Utrecht he entertained us with stories about his family and travels for Yamaha, his employer. When we arrived in Utrecht we were somewhat alarmed to notice that our train to Koln was scheduled to leave at 6:07 and it was then 6:14! How could that be?

The ticket agent informed us that we had taken the slow train to Utrecht. We should have waited in Amsterdam another ten minutes and the fast train would have arrived and whisked us to our destination on time.

Facing the prospect of spending the night in the Utrecht train station which was a cold, wet, and generally uninviting place, and having already sat on our butts for six hours in Amsterdam we proceeded to sit on our butts for another hour waiting for a chance to get a last-minute seat on a booked train to Munich. A kindly train official pleaded our case to the Munich train’s conductor and he allowed us on – whew!

Grateful as we were for a ride to Munich, we soon learned that a 10-hour train ride is only slightly less uncomfortable than a 10-hour plane ride. We arrived in Munich exhausted.

The photos are the ones I promised in my last posting but was unable to attached due to the crummy WiFi system at Schiphol Airport.

P1020954.JPGMary and I at Breitach Gorge – “Germany’s Grand Canyon”

P1020952.JPGWolfgang Frasch – The Champion