15 July 1998
One of the castles we passed was built up on the narrowest part of a hill, more like a pass. When the highway was built, they tunneled under the pass, directly under the castle. It was a big one, too.
All houses in the village are inside the city limits, we kept seeing these yellow speed limit signs, that's right - the top is for a car and the bottom for a tank!
In northern Germany there are now lots of windmills of the type used to generate electricity. We saw many communities with three windmills near small villages. The villages would be full of houses built right up to the town limits, but no further. It looked strange to see such definite limits to the towns. Most houses looked large, in addition to being 2 or 3 stories high.
27 July 1998
On the way to Denmark, we had stopped at Flensburg to locate the church, so we would have no trouble finding it on Sunday morning. We found the general area on the city map beside the road, however we couldnít find those roads. After coming back from Denmark, I saw it sitting near the freeway. There was no freeway exit there, so we took the next one and wound our way back. That made it easier, or should I say possible, to find on Sunday morning. George was asked to speak in church that Sunday. Dad had warned him that he would probably be asked to speak. After we left church, we went to get on the freeway to head south, and next thing we know, we were stopped at the Danish border, headed north. We finally got turned around again and headed south through Hamburg. I thought we would be crossing a bridge over a major river, and I was looking forward to seeing some of the shipping there. Instead it was a tunnel under the river, so we didnít get to see anything. I didnít think the tunnel was nearly as deep as the ones in Virginia.
On our way back down to Dusseldorf, we stopped at a MacDonaldís in a tiny little village by the freeway. All of the MacDonaldís in Europe were big and busy, but this one had the biggest parking lot youíve ever seen at a MacDonaldís. We got one of the last empty parking spaces and it was 3 aisles away from the restaurant. Europeans love fries, which they never call French, but they prefer them with mayonnaise. That was about the only place that would put ice in your drink (just enough to float on top), so we went to MacDonaldís often. They often didnít speak English, but fortunately Big Mac, fries, and sprite sound the same in any language.
This wonít be a complete record without a word about toilets. We saw every kind imaginable and then some. I didnít see a single one with a lever flush like those in the US. There were a number with push buttons, on the floor, on the wall, on the side of the tank, on the top of the tank, in the top of the tank. There were places you had to scrub before you dare sit, places you didnít dare sit, places with pull chains, port-o-potties, even one that washed itself. Half of them you had to pay, usually the equivalent of a quarter. The places you paid were usually cleaner. It seemed to me that would not be enough money to do much more than pay the salary of the attendant. I wondered if it was just a way to create a few more jobs.
We found the best way to get money was by credit card. We could withdraw cash directly from our account into foreign currency with no fees. Using Visa credit cards wherever they were accepted was another good thing to do.
We arrived in Dusseldorf about noon before our plane left the next morning, so we drove over to the airport that afternoon. We wanted to find where to return the rental car and which terminal to go to while we had plenty of time. That made it easy the next morning. We had to find the government offices at the airport where you can get back some of the taxes you pay on major purchases. The European Union charges 16% Value Added Tax, and that is the part you can get back, but only on large purchases. We were surprised to get the same seats coming home that we had going. There were too many clouds most of the way to see much out the windows. There was another long line to get through customs. Basically the trip home was uneventful. Only Trey was at the airport to meet us.