Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Sue and Mo at Harris Beach
Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Sunday, April 9, 2023

04-09-2023 Our Flight Home and Some Final Thoughts From Daughter Deborah


The city of Frankfurt from Deb's window seat 

We were on the bus to Zurich by 4AM to catch our flight from Zurich to Frankfurt.  I talked with Deb about this yesterday, and neither one of us remembers much of anything about this part of our day.  No wonder after the previous day of sightseeing that started at 6:30 AM and didn't end until we were back in our hotel room just after 10.

Deb and I both knew that our plans to do carry-on only for this trip wouldn't be enough for the trip home and we purchased an inexpensive duffle so that we could pack a bit more of our keepsakes and extra heavy clothing and shoes to check in at the airport.  Not such a worry if a bag is lost in transit if it gets lost on the way home.

What we both remembered was that the Zurich airport was small and easily navigated and the flight to Frankfurt was only an hour long.  Neither of us took photos, no doubt because it was still dark and the skies were still cloudy.

The part of the trip that we both remembered well was the delicious lunch/breakfast that we had at a great restaurant in Frankfurt airport.  Deb loves breakfast and I love pasta, and both of us were delighted with our choices.  We were even more delighted with the cute little robot that delivered our food.  It had such a cute little voice and was so helpful.

When we arrived in Frankfurt, I was met with an assistant who wheeled me along so quickly that Deb had a hard time keeping up as she pushed my walker behind us.  He took us through back hallways and secret elevators to the very front of the immigration and passport control lines.  This was to be our last stop before entering the US so we were required to declare our purchases.

By this time we were actually awake, and the hour or so we spent relaxing with our meal in the restaurant was so welcome.  We knew that the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco would be long and no doubt uncomfortable.  We flew economy without any extras or premium seats.  

Deb reminiscing a bit as we ate our meal in Frankfurt

Frankfurt disappears as we fly into the clouds over Germany

Although I dated this post on April 9 of this year when we actually flew home, it is obvious that I am writing it long after our actual journey.  As I was posting the stories of our days, Deb read each post and sent texts to me with some of the memories that she had of our trip that didn't necessarily come up when I was writing from my own perspective.  I thought it would be fun to share some of her thoughts as a way to wrap up the story.

I am going to apologize in advance for the strange formatting that I cannot seem to change no matter how I try.  Google blogger can be a real pain that way.  I copied the text messages from Deb, and don't want to rewrite them.  The white backgrounds are very strange indeed

Pretty sure this is Greenland

Deb's thoughts about Speyer:  Such amazing details of the history of Speyer.  Loved it very much and appreciated the history that you were able to include.  I want to read it over and over to see if I can actually absorb and remember the details.  I totally agree that there was something solid and safe about that cathedral

This might be Iceland

Deb had a few more thoughts about our time in Strasbourg:

I can see how tired we both were by Strasbourg.  One of my favorite memories was needing to warm up a bit after crepes, or maybe just before crepes, while we waited for the bus and went back into the cathedral to be greeted by a full-on service with singing and music that brought me to tears. Such richness of tone and invocation. No words for what I felt. Also, my experience when I needed to find a pharmacy to purchase ibuprofen. It was like a dispensary where they asked me which strength I would prefer. Of course, I chose 200 since I already knew how to handle that 😁 And I loved seeing again, the picture of the children, playing in the bubbles at the foot of that massive architecture like it was just another place to hang out.

It was interesting to read this note from Deb because I didn't remember a thing about the little frail woman and the ambulance, and when I looked at the photo and saw the ambulance in front of the cathedral, I still didn't remember.  It is amazing to me what we each perceive even when sharing the same moments.  I also had to search through the photos to find the little kids playing in the bubbles in front of the cathedral.

I did take a video of the service that we witnessed when we went back into the cathedral. The priest was chanting and singing the prayers, and I think he was doing so in German, but I am not sure.  Like Deborah, I was so moved by the sound and the echos of his voice throughout the great cathedral.  I am sorry I didn't write about that the first time around when I wrote about Strasbourg.

Somewhere near Newfoundland?

More thoughts from Deborah about Strasbourg:

Strasbourg was your favorite and yet it was so much in one day that when it came down to it there was so much to try and absorb and take in. Maybe because it was such an internal for you the words can't express what you truly felt. I liked it when you just said, I'm speechless, and here are the pics. When I texted about complaining in one post I worried I hurt your feelings. That was not my intent and I realized you have an image you want to portray and it's totally understandable. Maybe though, if you feel overwhelmed by a part of it, let yourself relax and write it from your heart. I know you mostly do that naturally and have a great knack for details that people love. I'm happy to know our story and appreciate the reminders reading it brings up for me 😀

More on Strasbourg. Mom was so impressed with the shops during our walk toward the Cathedral. The fine clothes in the windows with tailored precision, quality, and elegance. And the charm of French boutiques along the old streets lined with buildings and apartments. Ancient roadways where people have lived and worked and created for so many hundreds of years. It's also where we were first introduced to the architectural differences of the French and German influence. And where they also reminded us that inside these little streets, you couldn't use the Cathedral as a marker because it couldn't be seen above the narrow streets. Of course, my excitement came when we found the Original Fortwenger Gingerbread shop established in that same spot in 1786. We didn't make it back to that original store but found another one on the other side of the canal.

Deborah had a very different take on German food than I did! 

I love German food! It was so much fun to see all those yummy things but my body just can't do the bread anymore. The mustard bar was so fun. Who knew there were that many choices? Mom keeps talking about the food not being that exciting. But the chef was a master of soups. I would have been perfectly happy with just that but I still wanted to try the other courses. By the time we got to the German meal, I was too full from the week to really enjoy it all. Small bites make it more difficult to remember the whole meal.

Deborah really loved the Black Forest and added some details about the cows which completely forgot to write about! Here is a photo of a house in the Black Forest where the people live on top of the cows in the winter.

Can't say why I feel such a pull to the Black Forest, but it's very strong indeed. I'm so happy you found the story of the Stagg. It was hard to listen and try to make sure I got the pic at just the right time on a fast-moving bus, not knowing exactly when or where it would appear. All those beautiful fields and no cows, hmm. Turns out the cows were inside barns under the houses. They go in at the end of October and are not let out until May 1st. Turns out it's not so much from the cold, but because of the steep terrain and cows getting stuck or stranded, so they all stay warm and happy together. Well, in separate quarters of course. The pick of the little church along the roadside is another one of my faves, and there were several along the way. I have to go look up the story behind those again.

Yes, not enough time to make any decisions so didn't get to see the glass 


. But leave without a single souvenir? You had ulterior motives and were saving up for your favorite anticipated destination of Switzerland. Me - Impossible! Surely you know me better than that. It's not that I didn't want a cuckoo clock, it was more about picking the right one. Couldn't do it. And then, where would I put it after spending so much money on it? And I wouldn't be able to leave it on because of the noise it makes. But leave with nothing, not a chance. I've always wanted to make miniature shadow boxes. 

They had a whole wall of them. Joy, joy. Took me forever to figure out which one I was going to take home with me and had to make sure I saw everything else before I chose. Still wish I would have gotten two or four!  

I also managed to pick up more small gifts for the family, including a miniature ornament representing the Christmas pyramid and angel ornaments surrounded by trees and little crystals. I want to go back and do the bike ride in the Black Forest travel along the canyon roads at a slower pace and stop in all the villages along the way. And talk to the people.

Deb's thoughts on our first day in Lucerne:

What I loved about the paintings (on the bridge) is that they told a story. In fact, our guide told us that the murals on many of the buildings were there to tell people what was inside. Especially helpful in those old times when reading wasn't taught to everyone. The idea for the murals was developed in 1550 with the first cycle of paintings on the Court Bridge by the City Council or, as they were known at the time, the ecclesiastical and secular authorities. The gables protected them from the elements and told biblical stories to the churchgoers. Council members' families were invited to sponsor paintings, and the family's coat of arms would be placed in the bottom corner of the painting. The choice of paintings was strictly from a particular list provided, and they had to be able to afford two paintings, one for each side so it could be viewed coming or going. Our guide gave us much of this info but I found a great place for more of the details and history here

More thoughts from Deborah:

And Mom had mentioned at the beginning of this trip, that meal times were specific schedules and even though they left coffee and cookies out all day, I preferred something less sweet and found some cheese at the gift shop on our first day at the windmills of Kinderdijk for snacking later. Turns out, I was always so full I couldn't eat it and was worried I would have to leave it behind. Well, all things turned out and our evening meal in Switzerland at our hotel was international. Holland cheese, paired with French cheese from the shop in Strasbourg, chips from the store in Speyer, the crackers, and Pinot were from the little market in the train station across from our hotel as well as the macrons as we headed back to our room. The utensils, well that's a Deborah save from our flight over to Europe. Dorky but it "served" us well 😉 

Flying over San Francisco.  If you look closely you can see the Golden Gate Bridge on the upper left, and the Bay Bridge is to the right.  

Landing in the San Francisco airport is always a bit exciting as the plane flies low over the water before touching down on the runway.

Thoughts from Deborah about the Pearls of Switzerland:

Our guide for the Pearls of Switzerland was a touch militant.  I think she could have been more personable with a smaller group since it was such a tight schedule.  I think it could have also been one of those situations where your day just doesn't start right because someone is imposing themselves much too intensely into your space.  Remember how the ferry trip started and she couldn't even start the narrative because of one of those types of people.  Now that I recall, they were part of a group that our little group of six tried to make sure we didn't get seated next to at dinner service.  Amelia and Abigail helped to ensure our peaceful and perfect placements. 

We sat with another couple at the fondue dinner from Idaho who had some fascinating stories of a place they owned there and the previous tenants.
I really love that photo of the rain on the bus window in Einsiendeln Mom. I also wasn't impressed by the Abbey and thought it was a gross misuse of resources.  The studbook very much impressed me and that was my favorite part.  

My favorite taste discovery of the entire trip was the apple-flavored whey milk they served us before dinner.  I can still remember the flavor and wish I could find something like that here. It sounded like the grossest thing ever and I wasn't not going to try it.  Soooo glad I took that first tentative sip.  I could have skipped the wine for that any day.

We had just one leg left to go before we would arrive home.  First, however, we had to navigate the San Francisco airport.  After visiting both Frankfurt and Amsterdam airports, Deb and I were both truly appalled at the state of the airport in San Francisco.  Sadly, it felt old and worn, and the bathrooms were dirty.  It wasn't well taken care of, and many shops and restaurants were closed.  Our time there was short and we boarded our short flight from San Francisco to Medford with the sun low in the sky over San Francisco Bay.

The twinkling lights of Medford, Oregon, surrounded by our snowy mountains, welcomed us as we arrived just before dark.  It had been an amazing trip, and we were both exhausted but happy.  

I am so glad that Deborah shared her thoughts with me in text messages so that I could share them here with you.  As you can see, we are close, but we are also very different from each other.  My eldest daughter is an amazing woman, who is absolutely her own woman, and not just a mirror image of mom.  I love that.  How incredible that she took me, took us, on this beautiful journey together. 


  1. I too enjoyed reading Deborah's comments--what an amazing trip and I'm glad you shared so much with us. I've never traveled to any European country, doubt that I ever will so that makes me enjoy your blogs even more. Thanks Sue!

    1. Thanks, Janna. That is how I feel when I read your blog. I am sure I will never live on a gorgeous ranch in Montana, at the foot of the Crazies. It is a way to share another world in a way that is much more meaningful than simply seeing a documentary or reading a book. It is a friend.

  2. From my friend in New Hampshire, Liz Bradley:
    Some wonderful pictures! and it was nice to get a feel for the relationship you have with your daughter. thanks again!

    1. I wanted to do that, so it sounds like it works. I wanted to share Deborah's way of being on the trip and a bit of who Deborah is as well. Glad you liked that part.

  3. It was interesting to read about Deb's impressions as well as yours. Isn't it interesting how two people can see the same things ... experience the same things ... at the same time. And yet, come away with different thoughts. Thanks for sharing the trip with us. Brought back some great memories.

    1. I might expect that from friends or families doing the same thing at the same time, but I wonder about you and Mui. Do you find that you sometimes see things very differently even though you have shared more than 40 years of travel together?

    2. Oh, absolutely. While we might generally share a similar reaction to a place or a thing, different elements of each will call to each of us.

  4. What a lovely mother-daughter trip! Of course, you two might have differing thoughts and remembrances of a particular place, that's natural. Even my clone, Nannie, and I might not have the same opinion on something. Still I enjoyed seeing your pics and hearing both your voices describe feelings, likes and dislikes. I think it's just grand that you both could go on the cruise (plus) and come home the same friends you were beforehand! What a gift! Love it.

    1. Actually, I am lucky to have the daughters that I do. We have each been on extended one on one trips together and come back closer than ever. It is one of the reasons I treasure these trips so very much. I imagine this one might be the last. But you never know.

  5. A comment from Daughter Deanna: omg - a robot delivered your food!
    I love that Deb added her thoughts to the final blog too!


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