Earlier this week we left Eastern Europe to visit friends in Saarbrucken, Germany. According to the thermometer it’s warmer here than Bulgaria but quite frankly, I think the thermometers are lying.
We flew into Paris Beauvais, two hours late thanks to delays thanks to all the snow and freezing temperatures in Sofia – they actually had to spray the outside of our plane with an antifreeze style reagent. Something we’d never seen before!
Arriving at Beauvais we started searching for the hire car rental desk we’d booked ahead with. Since we were already two hours late and still had five hours of driving ahead of us, we were half afraid that the hire desk would be hidden out in the middle of a giant carpark like one would find at Seattle Airport parking and it would take us another two hours to find.
Thankfully Beauvais is a small airport so we found it quickly and were in our snow/ice covered car within 20 minutes of landing waiting waiting waiting for the heating to start working.
France was warmer than Bulgaria but it was still freezing.
Twenty minutes into the drive we realised that there was a good reason el-cheapo navigation app we’d bought was so much cheaper than all the others. After three wrong turns on freeways and ALOT of ‘debate’ about the quality of my navigation skills, including much swearing at the iPhone app and many helpful tips on how I could approve said skills that perhaps were not taken as well as they should have been we gave up and booked into a hotel.
Germany would have to wait for tomorrow.
The next day, on the 450km drive to Germany we saw snow, some more snow (admittedly only a few centimeters on the ground rather than the meter upon meter we’ve seen in Bulgaria) and almost every body of water was frozen. Even most of the viaduc’s of France. Lakes, rivers, swamps. They weren’t just frozen. They were thick enough to skate on.
Once we reached Saarbrucken it felt even colder. Even going outside for five minutes wasn’t pleasant. But it was worth the trip to see friends that we hadn’t seen in over ten years and meet their children. We were meant to leave after a few days to visit other friends but had such a good time in Saarbrucken catching up we never made it any further into Germany.
We’re making the most of the cold … just for short periods of time!
Yesterday we ticked off another winter experience that you just can’t have in Australia … playing on a frozen lake. We thought it would just be a quick stop on the way to the zoo … but ended up there for several hours. Apart from the actual catching up with friends, this afternoon on the lake is our favourite memory from our week in western Europe.
The Photo Friday picture at the top is Hayley being spun around and around on the ice pretty much sums up the outing – several hours of giggling, spinning, sliding, exploring and a lot more laughter than tears from heads/knees/bottoms hitting the ice.
And just in case you don’t believe that it’s cold, the birds of Saarbrucken have gone to great lengths to prove that it is. Here’s one of several we saw at the lake ..