As if our busy inauguration day was not enough, John and I detoured to Germany on our way home from Washington. A number of factors were to “blame”.
A prefect storm brewed—procrastination and sold out flights with the specter of more hotel costs or sleeping in airports. Ok, let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not so inept that I could not have found a quicker way home or a cheap hotel outside of town. But I don’t think I could have found a better way home.
We spent Friday night in DC at the Park Hyatt – which turned out to be a very disappointing as I’ll write about in a review update later this week. We had tossed around a few return options rmr Saturday, but they were all quite expensive and we agreed to wait for saver space, hoping it would open like on the outbound.
It didn’t. On the contrary, even the standard space was sold out by Saturday morning…for both Saturday and Sunday. One option did pop up late Saturday afternoon…an overnight in Boston followed by long connections in Chicago and Oklahoma City. 25K miles in economy. No thanks.
John loves going to Germany for Spaghetti Eis so he suggested we travel home via Frankfurt.
As one does…
Onward to Germany
But as it turned out, a flight to Germany had saver space and John had Areoplan miles that were expiring. United Airlines is retiring its 747-400 fleet in October and yesterday’s FRA-SFO flight had two saver first class award seats with a connection to Burbank.
70K miles is a lot…for United…but it would represent a dual opportunity: a chance to try out Polaris (and not just Polaris, but “Polaris First” for the first time and fly United’s 747-400 in first class likely for the last time).
We flew coach to Frankfurt on Saturday evening – the first time John has ever flown in economy class on an international flight. That turned out to be anti-climatic, as we had exit row seats with more legroom than first class and spent most of the flight up working. We had a nice dinner in the Turkish Airlines Lounge prior to the flight, though I did have a few bites of cheese ravioli onboard and a croissant prior to landing:
Sunday in Mainz
Into Germany by noon on Sunday, we opted to head to Mainz to spend the day. Not only is the Hyatt Regency Mainz one of my favorite hotels in Germany, but Mainz is charming little town.
John wanted a fast car to speed on the Autobahn with, but Sixt wanted 349EUR for a one-day BMW 7-series rental. Even John could not stomach that. We took the S-Bahn from the airport to Mainz Römisches Theater – a 23-minute journey – and then walked about 250 meters from the station to the hotel.
Our first order of business was finding Spaghetti Eis. With a little help from the hotel, we found one of the few Eis Cafes (ice cream parlors) open on a Sunday in winter. Just as good as always—
On our way to the ice cream parlor, I had a dürüm döner for lunch, a quintessential part of any trip to Germany.
Back at the hotel, we took a long nap—it had been quite awhile since we had rested. Refreshed after napping, we worked out and then I took advantage of one of my favorite cultural activities in Germany: the spa. The Hyatt Regency Mainz has a great one.
Refreshed and rejuvenated, we headed out for a later dinner – right back to the same Eis Cafe, which also is an Italian restaurant. Our waiter from the afternoon welcomed us back and we had a nice Italian dinner followed by another round of Spaghetti Eis and cappuccinos.
It was approaching midnight now and upon getting back to the hotel, I worked for a few hours before “napping” from 3am-7am. The goal was NOT to acclimate to German times.
At around 7:30a we ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant, leisurely enjoying it from the warmth of indoors. Outside temperature: 16ºF. John only had a thin sweater.
But what about my wife and kid?
Some of you may now be asking – what kind of husband just flies to Germany and leaves his wife and kid at home alone?
Admittedly, there was some trepidation as I called Heidi to let her know that I would be gone one more day and traveling back via the country she’d love to be in…
But instead of expressing annoyance or outrage, her response was “Great!” and moments later she texted me a long list of items I needed to bring back for her that are harder to get in America.
So yesterday morning after breakfast John and I went shopping. First to DM (drugstore) for some cosmetics and salt for our Bosch dishwasher that is about 90% cheaper in Germany than America.
Next to Alnatura, a health food store, for some cooking items that Heidi has not been able to find in America.
I was not kidding about Mainz being a beautiful city–
Back at the hotel, another workout and spa session before returning to the airport for our afternoon flight to San Francisco. The flight was delayed two hours and we were happy about it in this case because it meant a more leisurely morning.
Here’s a teaser for the flight review coming in the next couple of days: it was great.
So now I am back home and will not leave my wife and child until the end of next month. But another great mini-trip is in the bag and our pantry is now re-stocked with German food.