Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pie

Hans and I traveled to Europe last week and our first stop was Amsterdam. We met Hans' baby brother and his partner who'd already been there for about three days. My biggest regret is that we were only able to spend one full day there before departing for Germany. Amsterdam is almost beyond explanation for me and all I can say is I have to go back someday. It's just that fabulous.

Anyway, I will post my Amsterdam pictures later but I wanted to share this fun little story first.

After arriving in Amsterdam we took a small nap to combat jet lag, and then went to meet Baby Brother and Partner who were very anxious to show us their favorite city. We walked for hours, enjoyed stopping at various sidewalk cafes for beer, walked some more, had dinner at a very good Indonesian restaurant (where I ate a lot of very salty Holy Mackerel!) walked some more, caught the midnight tram to our hotel, sat in the bar for a bit, and finally went to bed.

Even though I tried to sleep on the plane and had that small nap upon arriving, you can understand why my eyes were grainy and I felt like I was walking through sludge (remember we lost 6 hours due to eastern travel) when we hauled ourselves to the tram the next morning after waking up at 7 AM.

One thing I've learned in my overseas travels is that you really need to pack light as you'll be expected to walk up and down many stairs, get on and off too many buses and trains, and run like hell through airports. Baby Brother and Partner travel about a thousand times more than us (this year alone they've been to Egypt and just before meeting us they were sailing in Turkey) so I was a little surprised at the amount of luggage they had when they met us at the train station.

Rolling baggage, back packs, a huge camera case complete with a portable, bendable tri-pod, plastic bags full of sandwiches (a brilliant move on their part and I will love them forever for that as we ended up on trains for 7 hours that day), and a bakery box.

A bakery box?

I was too tired to think clearly, and my stomach doesn't like to travel as much as I do, or I might have questioned someone carrying a bakery box onto a train for a 7 hour trip. We lumbered onto our first train, banged our shins, knees, and elbows as we stowed our luggage, and struggled around each other as we tried to fit into our seats. During this time the bakery box was very delicately handled and then finally found its place of honor on the drop down tray in front of Partner.

I was tired and grumpy so luckily for everyone else I fell asleep as soon as I sat down.

Everytime I woke up though I saw that pie sitting on the drop down tray. Sometimes the lid was up and sometimes it was down (to let the steam out and keep it from getting soggy I later learned) and I caught Hans looking at it in a perplexed way a few times. I still didn't say anything as I thought maybe taking pies across borders was a European thing and I didn't want to appear to be any more unworldly than I already am.

We'd been on the move for about three hours and were only minutes away from our connecting train station when an announcement was made that there was a problem. We were going to have to get off of our train and onto another one. NOW.

This was not good news as we only had 10 minutes between our connecting trains and this switch was most likely going to screw everything up.

It did.

"We ask that everyone exit the train and move swiftly to the awaiting train," was the next announcement.

Then, "We will need your full cooperation. Exit to the right and board the other train immediately. Everyone must exit the train."

I looked around and saw young people with strollers, old people with canes, and I knew that even if I threw these people off the train myself, there was no way we were going to make our connection.

We didn't.

With one last dire warning from the 'voice', we retrieved our luggage (and the pie) and shoved our way off the train fully prepared to leap onto the next one.

Only it wasn't there.

As everyone looked around in puzzlement, Hans looked at me.

"This never happens! Never! Only with you, I swear!"

I gave him my dangerous look.

A few minutes later the other train pulled in but it really didn't matter because we'd missed our connection anyway.

Once again our luggage, bags, and the pie were loaded and stowed.

A few minutes later we arrived at the station, disembarked, got new tickets, and found out we'd have to sit there for an hour, so we went outside to a cafe for a beer.

The next train wasn't the 'Deluxe Lickety Split Get You There In No Time Train', it was the 'I've Been around Forever And I Don't Give A Shit How Long It Takes Me To Get You There Train".

So after heaving our luggage, bags, pie, and tired bodies aboard yet once again, I noticed there were no drop down trays.

No drop down tray to hold the pie that I was now starting to equate with the Baby Jesus as it had been cradled and carried ever so reverently for the last few hours.

Since I was still tired and grumpy, I did everyone a favor once again and took a nap. I woke up as Hans arrived back from a trip to the potty when he once again glanced at the pie which of course now had to be hand held for the remaining 4 hours of the trip, and whispered to me, "What the f**k gives with that pie?"

Just then Partner (who is a wonderful person and did not hear that comment) opened the box and peered in. "It's cracked!" he cried in dismay.

And that was it. The pie wasn't the only thing that cracked.

I dissolved into my seat in a fit of giggles.

All I could see was that pie box that had been on and off trains, up and down broken escalators, in and out of cafes, and hand held lovingly for hours at a time, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Poor Hans broke down too and when Hans gets going on a belly laugh it just fuels me even further. Tears were running down our faces and I turned toward the window and hoped that I wouldn't offend anyone but I don't think I succeeded.

The pie ended up being given to Hans' eighty-seven year old Aunt Marianna (who had once upon a time mentioned to Baby Brother that this pie was her favorite) and she served it to us the next day.

All I can say is this; for a pie that started out hot in Amsterdam, and was served cold in Germany, it was very good!

Sehr Gut!!!

The guest of honor on it's drop down tray.

At a cafe at the train station in Cologne as we wait for our connection.

Making sure all is well.

At last! Serving its purpose on this earth.

Traveling with Hans is too much fun.


KusZ - Jewelry and more said...

Hi Laura,

We were in Trier from Thursday till Saturday, we left Sunday morning early. So we just missed each other. Would have been funny if we had ran in to each other, but it didn't happen... Have you been to Rotterdam yet...?

Kathi D said...

You will never, ever, no matter how long you live, forget that pie. And now, neither will I!

The first time Rick and I went to England was the first time I ever went "anywhere" nearly. We took an overnight flight from Los Angeles, arriving in London very early in the afternoon. Weeks before we went, Rick instructed me that although I would be very, very tired, I was not going to be allowed to go to sleep until "bedtime," otherwise our sleep schedule would be messed up the whole time. I informed him that I would do as he said, as long as he realized that I was going to be EXTREMELY grumpy. We both did as we promised.

laura said...

We're still laughing about that stupid pie, I'm not kidding. God, how I hate jet lag!! I remember one time when I had to make myself stand up because every time I sat down I would fall asleep. And this was before going out to meet some people for dinner. Agony!

Mary Witzl said...

I get the feeling that traveling with you is just as entertaining!

Great story. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what the story with that pie was. How sweet that they were taking that pie all the way from Amsterdam to Germany because Hans' aunt had mentioned it was her favorite.

laura said...

They really are wonderful people! And believe me, they're a lot more thoughtful than us!