Thursday, April 16, 2009

Monday--last day in Germany

We spent most of Monday getting packed for the return trip. In the late morning we drove to Homburg, (not Hamburg) Germany to visit the Schlossberghoehle Caves. These caves are the largest in Europe. They are man-made caves, dug in the 11th - 17th centuries, then forgotten. The soft, crumbly sandstone was used as an abrasive for cleaning, for making glass and in mortar. The caves were rediscovered in 1930 by some school children. There are about 12 levels of caves there. During World War 2, Homburg was heavily bombed because of the industry there. The caves were used as an air-raid shelter. The winter of 1944 (I think) was very cold and there was nothing left to burn as fuel. Some families moved into the caves for 6 weeks. The cave is a constant 50 degrees F, which was much warmer than the winter's outside temperature. Russian POWs were kept there during air raids, too, but in the top level of the caves.

At 3 in the afternoon, Jana's uncle, aunt, and 4 year old cousin came over. We ate cake (there were 5 cakes for 10 people!) and then played lawn games like badminton and frisbee. At 6:00 we said goodbye to Jana and her family, and drove to Frankfurt. We returned our rental car at the airport, ate dinner at the airport, then took the train into central Frankfurt to our hotel.

On Tuesday morning we took the train back to the airport and flew through Philadelphia on our way back to Indianapolis. Our plane was over an hour late leaving Frankfurt because a scratch on the door had to be documented. We had a long layover in Philadelphia so it wasn't a problem for us. Our plane to Indianapolis was supposed to leave at 6:50 then rescheduled for 7:35, 8-something, then a little after 9. I'm not sure what time we actually left, but I remember looking at my watch at 9:23 and I was sitting in the airplane at the gate. We arrived in Indianapolis at 11:00 p.m. By the time we got our luggage, took the shuttle to the car, and drove home it was nearly 1:00 a.m.--a 23 1/2 hour journey for us!

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