Reunited in Germany

Rex and Liisa reunited in Garmisch, Germany.

I looked at my watch and calculated I had at least an hour to kill before Liisa’s plane would land.  Standing around looking at the digital flight boards was making me antsy.  Originally we planned to meet at the airport terminal and if that didn’t happen, we would see each other at the rental car counter.  Our rental car reservation wasn’t until 2 pm, but maybe they would let me check out the car early.  I walked outside the Munich Airport and the air was cool and crisp.  The outside temperature was about 37 degrees and the only winter jacket I had to keep warm was the one the Army issued me.  Liisa was supposed to bring my winter ski jacket along with my other civilian attire.

I perused through the various car rental agencies and could not locate the one I made a reservation with.  I inquired at the Europcar rental car and the clerk informed me that he never heard of this company.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a printer to print out my rental agreement and was basing it off of memory.  I asked Liisa to print it out and bring it along.  By now, I was feeling a bit stupid for not taking the time to print out the company agreement.  So I returned to the airport terminal and watched the digital boards.  Her flight information displayed descending, landing, arrived, and then at baggage.  It wouldn’t be long before my loving wife would be in my arms.

Liisa standing next to a Nutcracker.

I kept my eye on both exit doors and it seemed forever before we caught a glance of each other.  Fortunately she is quite tall and was easy to spot.  There was no need to hurry or push other passengers aside.  It had been seven months, so another minute was not going to make a difference.  It felt so good to hold my wife next to me!  The scent of her perfume and shampoo quickly brought back memories.  We were together again!  She looked rather tired from flying across the Atlantic Ocean and I was still in a zombie-type condition too.    But it was time to resolve the rental car dilemma.

I could only recall the name of the agency I made the reservation through, but Liisa had the paperwork and sure enough the company name was staring right at us in bright orange letters.  We signed the final agreement and were rather surprised they gave us a Mercedes brand for my intermediate car choice.  Liisa reminded me that we were in Germany and this brand along with BMW is quite popular.

Our next challenge was figuring out the GPS system, changing the language, and inputting our destination.  This took a little bit of time and patience, but before long we were driving through Munich like locals and the highway merged with the infamous Autobahn highway.  I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in Afghanistan anymore and to follow the road sign instructions, speed limits and fast approaching cars were not a danger to me.

It was about an hour and a half drive from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  It was a clear day and the jagged peaks of the Alpspitze stood out in distance even before arriving in the small quaint town of Garmisch.  For me, it was refreshing to see trees, grass, and color wherever I looked.  In comparison it’s like watching a black and white television and then switching over to color.  My brainwashed images of Afghan mud-brick walls and houses were replaced with a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues.  The red roofs of the German structures accentuated the old village and structures.  As we drove past them I noticed some of the buildings had steeple-like structures and I wondered if this was some of the hidden Rococo architecture style I read about.  In the coming week, we plan to explore some of these villages.

As we got closer to Garmisch, Liisa spotted the man-made ski jump off in the distance.  This town has been made famous by the illustrious composer Richard Strauss along with the famed site of the 1936 Olympic ski jumping competition.  Despite being filmed in Austria, any one of these rolling hill villages could have served as a backdrop for Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”.   It was beautiful to see, but more important, it was heartwarming because my wife was here to share it with me.

View of the surrounding mountains in Garmisch.

We finally made it to our destination and turned into the main lodge complex.  The German security guards were friendly but overzealous and made me feel like I was intruding.  I provided them 2 forms of picture IDs and then they used mirrors to search the undercarriage of my car.  I felt this was a bit much security to enter a glorified Armed Forces

Christmas tree inside Edelweiss Lodge.

Resort Center.    Even at my camp in Afghanistan we do not have this much scrutiny, but then again our vehicles are never left out of sight.

We opened up the large wood and glass framed door leading to the hotel lobby.  The room was decorated in a Christmas theme and the 16 foot towering ornamented Christmas tree next to the fireplace was eye-catching.  Next to the tree was an enlarged red-colored padded chair.  This looked like an optimum place for Santa Claus to sit with the children.  We tried to check in early but due to the cleaning schedule, we would have to wait several hours before our cabin was ready.

Our cabin at Edelweiss Resort.

After being issued the keys, we departed the resort and drove towards the Edelweiss Vacation Village.  We had to go through the German “Gestapo” again and this time they wanted to search my car thoroughly.  So we complied and opened up all of the compartments, doors, trunk, hood, etc., so they could conduct their inspection.  The resort had not added us to the guest list data base, so we each had to provide 2 more forms of picture identification.  I wasn’t in any mood to argue, so I complied.  The sooner we got through the checkpoint, the sooner we would get to our cabin.

We pulled into the small driveway in front of our wood cabin and offloaded our luggage.  The cabin is somewhat small, but large enough for a master bedroom, dining area, kitchenette and most importantly it had indoor plumbing.  I decided to spend a few extra dollars for this upgrade rather than have to trek to an outside bathhouse.  Upstairs was the loft and contained 4 mattresses on the floor.  Finally we are here!!

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11 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marti Trussell, AllMilitaryNews. AllMilitaryNews said: (AFG: Last Tour) Reunited in Germany: I looked at my watch and calculated I had at least a.. http://bit.ly/8LDooL #SOT […]

  2. I don’t even know you, but I’m sooo glad you’ve had a chance to spend time together.

    I was in Tampa visiting relatives and flew back home to NY today. While I was in the airport awaiting my flight, a plane landed with lots of military folks came in through the gate. We all (me and the folks at the airport) gave them a standing ovation!

    Merry Christmas.

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY REX!!!!!! Glad to see Liisa is there to share it with you. Last night we got a really big ice and snow storm. It looks like there is snow there. Hope all is well and cherish every second that you are together, because the time will go fast. The cabin looks really cute. Hopefully it’s really cute inside.

    Love to both of you!

  4. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/09/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  5. […] post: Reunited in Germany « Afghanistan My Last Tour Share and […]

  6. […] is the original: Reunited in Germany « Afghanistan My Last Tour Share and […]

  7. Dear Rex & Liisa,

    So glad to see you two can have some time together. Sure looks like a beautiful place so enjoy every moment as I am sure you will. Your Uncle Clark is still trying to get a deer this season but so far no luck. Grandson Anthony the 14 year old got his first 8 point buck so we were all happy. Our winter has been mild so far but they say it is to get bad tonight. God Bless you and stay safe. Love Aunt Carole

  8. Forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rex.

  9. I lived in Germany about 30 years ago as an Air Force dependant. It is so strange for me to read about military checkpoints outside of crossing the border between East and West Germany. We never had to worry about that sort of thing when I was there. So sad how terrorism has changed the world.

    But congratulations on being with your lovely wife again. A great reminder of why you are over there protecting the peace in the first place, right? Have a wonderful time, and Merry Christmas to you and your wife.

  10. Rex,
    Glad to you see that you are finally are on leave and enjoying yourself. Well I am doing well at Torkahm. Have fun and stay warm. Looks cold there.

  11. Found your blog on Yahoo and was so glad i did. That was a excellent read. I have a small question.Is it OK if i send you an email???…

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