Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Grandchildren Time Between Trips

The best things in life don’t necessarily involve travel, other than the drive between our home and theirs.

Sunday Gingerbread houses assembly...







Blane describes this as Gingerbread County...



Monday night elementary school Christmas concert...










Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dining On Board Condor FRA-SEA (DE 2032)

We enjoyed our meals, as well as the Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne and a decent variety of red and white wines.

Appetizer and salad...



Kathy’s Roast Goose...



Brian’s Prawns...



Cheese Course...





Dessert...



Okay, the pre-landing light meal was a bit odd, especially the sliced wieners in a tomatoey sauce with a packet of curry to add as desired, no doubt their version of the popular German Currywurst, but the intent was good...



Overall it was excellent. 'Guten Appetit!'



Monday, December 10, 2018

Condor Bulkhead








Travel Day FRA-SEA

Gate 1 served us an elegant farewell dinner aboard the Monarch Queen last night, starting with the captain’s closing remarks and a “champagne” toast in the lounge, followed by a menu that included a prawn appetizer, filet mignon (or halibut) and Baked Alaska for dessert in the dining room.

We went bed early, wondering if our sleep would be disturbed by all the early risers, some transferring to the airport as early as 4:15 AM. Fortunately, our fellow passengers were considerate in the main (on the Main?) and we slept well.

After a leisurely breakfast, we left the ship a little after 8:00 AM, walking two blocks to a Strassenbahn stop,  route 11 to the Hauptbahnhof where we could transfer to an S-Bahn to the airport.

First hitch: the fancy fare machine at the stop wasn’t working so we took a chance on the advice of a local and rode the streetcar without a ticket. No ticket inspectors aboard today - whew!

We did buy a ticket at the train station, although we don’t know whether we added a second ticket for Brian or an extra zone for Kathy.

Second hitch: We walked down to the platform and a train was sitting there with doors closed. We figured a security check but eventually it left, leaving a crowd on the platform.

An employee appeared and said another train would arrive at some point in perhaps 40 minutes, or perhaps later, but one arrived almost immediately. That Schnell Bahn (fast train) was running three hours late due to construction.

The actual ride to the airport is fairly quick, but we learned again today that not even German technology or train schedules are infallible.



Check-in with Condor was a breeze and our now-checked rollaboards are flagged with red priority tags, although we don’t think they’ll impress the SeaTac baggage handlers.

Condor assigned us to a quite pleasant Lufthansa Business Lounge just across from our boarding gate B45 in Terminal 1.







We’ll be here for about three hours and have lots of time to watch planes.





It’s also our last chance to savor some German specialties, including the Kugelhupf that Kathy’s Viennese Hausfrau served as a Sunday morning treat.





Brian picked up a piece of apple cake too, just to balance the plate.

And wouldn’t you know the sun is - finally - shining brightly through the dirty lounge window, just as we’re about to leave for Seattle? Oh well - it’s been a fine trip, with better weather than we’d been expecting.











Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Quick Tour of the Monarch Queen

Our cabin is on the bottom deck. It’s easy to hear the water lapping against the hull, and the floor seems a bit damp, but otherwise it’s been fine.

Then it’s along the corridor and up the spiral stairs to the next deck.





From there it’s down about six steps to the restaurant, already set for tonight’s grand finale dinner.


One climbs about six steps to find the reception desk, and beyond that the forward lounge, stacked over the restaurant.







At the stern is a very small lounge and an even smaller exercise room. We got a fair amount exercise by walking ashore two to four miles daily and only visited it once to have a look. The sun deck wasn’t too inviting either this trip.

All in all, it’s  been a perfectly comfortable boat with a friendly and attentive crew, as well as friendly fellow travelers.


Gate 1 Monarch Queen Christmas Market Cruise: Frankfurt Finale

We docked in Frankfurt’s Osthaven (East Harbor) this morning.



The Monarch Queen was subbed for a superior boat that couldn’t get to Regensberg due to low water, but it’s been quite comfortable and we’ve enjoyed the cruise.







After breakfast we rode a bus past the grand Osthaven headquarters of the European Central Bank toward the central part of the city. It looks in its majestic isolation even taller than its 48-story 607-feet height.






There are other high rises in Frankfurt, unlike in most German cities.



There we met our young guide and took a leisurely walking tour of the old town.



She stopped us in one small square containing buildings that were completed as part of a huge government project as recently as 2016, st a total cost of 2 billion Euros - good grief!





There were other sights to see, more Glühwein mugs and Lebkuchen to buy for grandchildren, and a pizza for a change of lunch.















Pizza with a view...





And the Lebkuchen stand to complete our modest purchases...



We’re back aboard and packing up. We’ve already scouted out a tram stop no more than a five-minute walked from the boat. We can take that to the Hauptbahnhof and transfer to an S-Bahn that will whisk us to the airport, all for about 5 Euros each.

With our Condor FRA-SEA flight not leaving until 2:05 PM (and scheduled to land st 3:55 PM), we’re hoping for a leisurely day.

We never take that for granted though.