Tuesday 26 June 2007

Sisters in Europe - Episode 3

After our return from Paris, I had the week off work and Stephanie and I took off to travel around by car. We went all over Germany, northern France, Belgium and Holland. I had to trust Steph to read the map. We were lost most of the time.

In Germany we visited Heidelberg. As we walked around the grounds we pretended we were in The Sound of Music and sang The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music from the top of our lungs. People stared. We giggled.

We sampled wine from a German winery and got a wee bit tipsy which made singing all the more boisterous. Nobody joined in. We were so disappointed.

We drove through northern France and I panicked when we couldn't find a place to stay. We ended up in the god forsaken village and stayed in a mite infested room. We didn't get much sleep because I couldn't figure out the lock on the door (I don't think it worked) and I didn't want to explain to my parents how Stephanie was kidnapped in France whilst I slept.

The next day on our way to Belgium, we had to pull over in a truck stop so I could catch some sleep.

We arrived in Belgium and got lost in Brussels. We both laughed hysterically as we got caught up in a huge roundabout and went round and round (like in Chevy Chase's film European Vacation). We got off after about 5 goes and found a car park. We went into the old town and decided to have some lunch.

We ordered the seafood platter. This was a multiple tiered extravaganza of seafood. We marvelled at the size of it. And then we drank the wine. And a bit more wine. Not entirely sure how much of the seafood we ate.

Steph got up to go to the toilet which was down a winding staircase. I heard a great clatter and soon thereafter my sister returned to her seat. Apparently as she made her way down the twisted staircase she lost her footing and caught the cutlery tray which she pulled down the stairs with her. At the bottom she found herself covered in forks, knives and soup spoons. She ran off to the toilet and returned to her seat so embarrassed she just wanted to leave.

We decided to go book shopping (as one does when drunk in Belgium). Whilst living in Germany, I found the hardest part was the fact that it was very difficult to buy books in English. Belgium had loads of English books. I bought a whole bunch of books that I have never bothered to read and can't even imagine what state of mind I must have been in to purchase them. The odd thing was I lost my sister in the book store.

Apparently, she sat down on a sofa and started looking at a book about the Rolling Stones. Then she decided she was going to be sick. I'm not sure how she managed it but she found her way to the toilets at the top of the bookstore on the 2nd level (3 floors up). I paid for my books and was looking all over for her. I was starting to panic and had even left the bookstore and scoured up and down the street. I returned and thought I would try the toilets (isn't that where you always find missing women?).

I found her on floor hugging the porcelain god crying because she had been sick in her shoe. I tried not to laugh at her. But even now as I write this I am creasing myself. All she cared about was her stupid shoe. The way she told it, these were her favourite shoes. All I cared about was getting her up off the disgusting floor of the toilet! (Ever an older sister - so sensible!)

I got her upright enough to be able to leave the book store and walked 50 feet down the road to the first hotel we came to and checked us in. It was a very expensive hotel but I didn't care. We both knew we couldn't drive out of Belgium so we would have to stay where we landed.

Steph spent a good part of the afternoon in the showering crying over her ruined shoe and how much she was missing her then boyfriend, now husband, Anthony. She wrote him a couple of very sappy love letters, which I think he still has and does use occasionally to blackmail her.

We left Belgium the next day (looking worse for the wear) and returned home to Dusseldorf. Steph returned to the USA the next day. We still laugh about these stories. I hope our children will one day as well!

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