We finally made it to Germany again. It’s been ten years since I’ve been, 19 for Kelly, and first time for the kids. Germany is like a life time capsule for me since I spent so much time there when I was young. And going there in ten year increments really puts a spotlight on the passage of time and the significant life changes that transpire over the years. Several family deaths, births, marriage and divorces. The most rewarding part of the trip was introducing the kids to family who they had never met and exposing them to a completely different culture, language, history and overall environment. Hopefully it all leaves a lasting impression on their lives and opens their minds even more to see things differently than they otherwise would have.
The train trip down to Paris for a few days was an interesting twist to the Germany trip too. None of us spoke French, so we had to navigate the challenges of communication to be able to eat, travel and see the sights. Even though Paris is only a couple of hours from Nurnberg, it is vastly different in architecture, language, history and culture. That’s the beauty of Europe; so many cultures and countries in a small geographical space.
The trip was expensive, but I managed to offset some of the cost by juggling the credit card reward points system over the last year. When I started planning the trip, I Googled “best travel rewards credit cards” and I came up with three: Barclay’s travel rewards, Chase Sapphire and Chase Reserve. Between the three cards I was able to amass 250,000 points, which paid for a couple of the round trip tickets. I was still on the hook for the rest of the plane tickets, train tickets, entertainment, food and lodging.
We all enjoyed the time together, and we spent all the time together. First in Germany in a one room, six bed hostel, then in Paris in a two room Airbnb. No downside to the tight space, just upside to being together a lot. All the kids returned from the trip saying that they can’t wait to get back over there in the near future.