It started here. Room 105 (I think, I've already forgotten... it was the last on the right before the double door rooms. The alarm went off at 6:00AM and the process of final packing began. This is the view from the room overlooking the pool and private dining room that had candles lit the night before for the 0 guests who ate at that table. On a side note, even though the sign said jumping is discouraged (how polite) I dove in head first to that pool and it was still rippling after I left. It was a good dive. 

After a light breakfast and perhaps 3 Nutella packs I didn't really need but felt the need to pack anyway my sister drove me to the train station and slowed down to a nice 20Kph as I jumped out into the street. Ok fine, she parked the car gave me a hug and then left me stranded at the train station. Man the truth is hard sometimes... she dropped me off, gave me a hug, shared some small talk and THEN she left me to fend for myself as she went off to ski with her co-worker. The train station was really no big deal, it is just odd to be in the middle of a city speaking no German and waiting for a train you think you can find on your own. Obviously I made it to the right train and even managed to get on my connecting train early so I could race to the airport and... wait. 

The Munich airport is the first or only 5-star European airport (just ask them), but as far as drinking fountains are concerned I found 0. I had one water bottle with me for the whole trip and I would fill it with water, throw in a little caffeinated Crystal Light and I'd be a happy camper. No such luck in Munich. Thankfully with the help of a Google search I determined it worth the risk to drink from the tap water in the bathroom. 

The flight was fairly uneventful. I was fortunate to have an entire row of three seats to myself, so naturally I just kept to myself in my single seat. I was able to finish The Art of Work and Make your Mark both conveniently available through my affiliate links Amazon. I also watched Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation which was pretty good, albeit full of impossibilities in the story line. 

Upon arriving in the great US and A I made it through customs without much fanfare only to emerge to this bastion of retail greatness. London had Dixon's (Which really did look horrible as commenters mentioned when the guy who did that came to Apple) and Burberry (the new Apple Retail chief came from Burberry). I really don' have much to say of value, I just find irony in the difference between retail offerings at home and abroad. 

As seems to be their strong suit, United's flight from Dulles to Grand Rapids was late. By two hours. I feel bad for the people who work on the ground at United as I'm sure this is mostly out of their control. I just can't fathom how one airline can be so poor at scheduling and coordinating flights. As I arrived in GR at 9:30 I saw the 7:30 flight to Midway waiting for their plane. The worst part of the flight delay was instead of being greeted by my smiling children, I was greeted by this... 

After mom and dad picked me up from the airport it was a quick ride back to Zeeland where I kissed my sleeping kids and laid out their gifts. In addition to things that cost money never underestimate the power of free as in trail maps and Nutella packs. 

A shirt and two bags of mints just as she requested. 

International Man of Fashion. Italia, Amsterdam BMX Club, and IAMSTERDAM hat bright enough to point a United Flight to their destination. Late as usual. 

An Amsterdam t-shirt and a diary to write in when I undoubtedly embarrass or bother her for the next 13 years. (At 7 I figure I have at least 13 years before she realizes what a genius I am)

While proper thanks are still in order it would be rude to ignore the efforts of my sister Sarah, my Aunt Marlene and her husband (that makes him my Uncle if you are confused) Ward and their two girls Jillian and Naomi. I missed Kaatje by at least two days... hope your meeting went well. Also my folks for their help, my in-laws for taking care of the family when they were sick, and my lovely wife and kids for putting up without me. Or maybe they liked me being gone? Either way I couldn't have done it without a lot of people chipping in and I certainly appreciate it. 

I can't wait to do it all again next year! (Insert laugh/groan/moan/flying toaster here)

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