TDF2015.07.14EuropeWurzburg1Mike, Maura, and Tanya in Würburg

Our first stop was Würburg, since it is on the way to Ansbach from Frankfurt.  I scenic city in southern Germany.  We experienced our first taste of the Bavarian style town, churches, stonework, and statues.


The bridge here has quite a few statues with intricate stone work and gilding.



Also, the city center is bustling with activity and very pedestrian friendly which is quite common and much different than most U.S. cities.


The churches are quite old and have amazing stone work.  Some of it is scary in appearance as it was meant to keep evil spirits at bay.  Here’s a good example of that.


Inside the churches are very beautiful.  The detail and artwork is amazing and Würburg is a small sample of what there is to see.


TDF2015.07.14EuropeWurzburg9This is the “residence” at Würzburg.  This is a massive building that the lords and princes lived in back when they ruled these area.  They had to have large residences to show off that they were rich and powerful.



We departed for Europe on a KLM 747, but that was not the plan.  We got up in the morning planning to fly Delta through JFK to Frankfurt out of O’hare.  We had a 3+ layover in JFK, so the thought was even if we get delayed out of O’hare we have a decent cushion to make connection.  Well, our flight out O’hare was delayed and delayed again, so they ended up putting us on a flight to Atlanta to Frankfurt.  That flight had a tight connection and I was definitely not feeling good about the new itinerary.  At this point we had got up early and were ready to roll, but these delays meant we were stuck sitting at home checking flight statuses. Not fun when you are stoked to head out on a new adventure and you are stuck waiting.

Well, the Atlanta flight ended up being  delayed.  Now, I had to call Delta to find a solution to get us to Germany, as the Delta options were gone and we really didn’t want to be delayed into another day.  After some time on the phone I was able to get us on a KLM flight out of O’hare through Amsterdam and into Frankfurt.  After all these changes much to my surprise we were still arriving in Frankfurt about the same time as originally planned.  One bonus out of it KLM has great in flight service and we ended up in comfort plus for the long flight to Europe.  The downside was that I don’t sleep well on planes.  With the frequent trips up and down the aisle by the flight attendants at best I dozed for a bit here and there.  By the time we got to Amsterdam I had not really slept.

We had a tight connection there and we were in our first foreign airport, so it was a mad dash all the way across the airport to catch our connection to Frankfurt.  I was pretty sure we were headed the right way, but the airport was actually fairly quiet and there wasn’t any clear help around to ask.    Also, I was worried about customs with the tight connection, but it turned out to be a breeze and we got to our gate with no issues.  One  interesting thing was the gate system with a bus delivering you from the gate to your specific plane.

By the time we arrived at Frankfurt with all the delays it had been a long day.   Now, we had to connect with Mike and Maura.  I had paid for international service with Verizon when I left, but the phone had issues getting “authorized” on the local mobile system.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use it to contact them.  Eventually, it did connect and I was able to tell them we had arrived.

Then on our way to the baggage claim we made a wrong turn and ended up outside the security area in the wrong baggage claim.  We had to get someone to let us back through a security door where our bags were.  A little more of a challenge given a slight language barrier and the way things are done don’t quite match up with what we are use to in the U.S.  Eventually, we were able to get our bags and meet up with Mike and Maura– yay!

They had only been home a day from the U.S. themselves, so they were making the adjustment to the time zone change, but they made the drive up from Ansbach to Frankfurt.  It is not a short drive, so it was very nice of them both to come and get us when they were just getting back to Europe themselves.



At the Brookfield Zoo with Lions and Tigers and Bear, oh my! Oh, Alex, Taylor, and Alyssa were with us as well.


TDF2015BrookfieldZoo2Alyssa, Taylor, and Alex being good sports for the camera




TDF2015BrookfieldZoo6Alex’s arm span does not quite measure up to the Andean Condor’s wing span.

TDF2015BrookfieldZoo7Tanya caught this leopard as it yawned giving us a great view of those teeth.

TDF2015BrookfieldZoo8Alex’s favorite animal. Of course she loves ’em all, but this is her fav.

TDF2015BrookfieldZoo9Taylor’s favorite animal.  She really wants a live miniature one. Can someone get on that?

TDF2015BrookfieldZoo10 This was totally cool.  Dolphin would blow air rings and play with them as the floated to the surface.

TDF2015BrookfieldZoo11This young ape was pretty engaging while we were there.


We took our visitors into the city.  A beautiful day to visit Millennium Park and get some shots with iconic Bean.

TDF2015Chicago MilleniumPark

TDF2015Chicago TheBean2

TDF2015Chicago TheBean3

TDF2015AlexTay The Bean

Alyssa (Taylor’s roommate), Taylor, and Alex

TDF2015AlexTay The Bean2

TDF2015AlexTayTanya TheBeanImageThe family image in The Bean

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