Our experience at the airport went as smoothly as can be expected, but carrying six suitcases and four car-seats/booster seats is just not an easy task. (European laws are more strict so even Cameron uses one.) We made it to our gate just in time to board, but we didn't have enough time to grab any breakfast or snacks or even water for the flight. And when you fly cheap airlines, there are no freebies on board.
By the time we landed in Frankfurt we were all ravenous and tired, and it was only 10:00 a.m. We gathered our stuff, anxious to get it all squared away in our rental car, when we were informed by the woman at the Avis desk, in broken English, that our car wasn't ready. The car was available, but she needed special permission to release it to us because we were returning it in another country. We had made the reservation weeks ago, and Richard and I were baffled about why this had been overlooked but our communication with the woman at the desk was really limited due to the language barrier. So we ate some brunch at an airport cafe, some really yummy pastries, and then we waited and waited. It was particularly frustrating because we didn't know how long we would have to wait. An hour? Two? Four? It ended up being two hours, and at about 12:00 we got the keys to the VW Caddy , an ugly but spacious van, that would shuttle us around Europe.
Our hotel reservation that night was in Dresden, but I wanted to stop in a German town that would give us a small taste of German villages and Heidelberg wasn't too far out of the way. It was a great choice- I LOVED it.
The drive to Dresden took the rest of the day, and when we arrived it was dark. The check-in time listed was only until 8:00pm and I knew we weren't going to get there in time. Many of the places we stayed in were private apartments rented out via Booking.com (I didn't use AirBnB this time, but we have in the past) and so I had a phone number to contact the owner but it was not working. When we arrived at the destination, according to our Sat-Nav, (which I must mention was a HUGE bonus in our massive Caddy) we could not figure out where exactly the apartment was. As I mentioned, I couldn't get through on the phone number, so Richard and I were both considering our options. All we could see at the address was a nail salon, but finally I walked around to the back of the building and found a name plate on a wall buzzer (what is the real name for those things?) and I buzzed up. Sure enough it was the woman I needed and she let us into the apartment. Sadly, it had no air-conditioning (the first of many) and so it was pretty toasty, luckily we were all pretty beat.
(Re-reading over that last paragraph, I feel like it is written in such a nonsensical way it represents the way I was feeling while I was living it. Too tired and annoyed to be concerned with improper or over-use of parenthesis.)