This Page

has been moved to new address

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): July 2009

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

My Photo
Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Help! I am moving overseas and have some questions!

Ah, the PCS season is upon us yet again this year! It caught me completely by surprise until I saw a half dozen moving trucks on my street all in the space of a week. My kids are also lamenting the loss of some of their friends. I've also cooked a meal or two, played taxi service and watched a few pets to help out where I could. Isn't it nice how, in a military community, you can rely on others to help out? I've also noticed my inbox is more full than usual, all with questions on peoples' upcoming moves. Please be sure to read my moving articles, as I do answer a lot of your questions there. The two questions I received today are listed below - involving traveling with multiple children and learning the host language after arrival.


My husband has been stationed in Hohenfels Germany, he's already there, and I will be flying over with my 2 sons (3 & 1 yr old) by myself. I've read as many tips from everywhere as I can but when it comes to requesting my tickets from TMO - I was wondering if you can tell me what to expect. Can I request a bulk head row? Can I ask for certain flying times? I thought if I could fly out of the international airport at night, it might go better for my kids. Is there anything I should know about flying by myself? Have you done it? I have a dozen questions and no one to ask. Like -
Can I take a double stroller?
How many carry ons do I get?
How many pieces of luggage?
I've never used one of those cart things, how would I go about asking for one?
I read somewhere you can sometimes get a bassinett for the plane ride? Have you heard of that?


I have flown with two little ones. I took a stroller with the babycarrier/carseat for the little one. For the older one, I had a boosterseat (airplane approved) which I had in a huge diaperbag with supplies for both. I checked the older one's carseat at the front and got it before we got in the car at our destination. I then also had a backpack for myself and a frontpack baby carrier to carry the little one when my arms got tired and for when I wanted to load up the stroller with my bags. The stroller you can take all the way to the plane. You can gate check it, which means you'll get it back immediately after you arrive at your destination as you walk off the plane.

As far as on the plane, the flight attendants are very helpful if you have to use the bathroom. They always wanted to come by and hold the baby and the little one stayed in his seat with no issues when I flew. I just had his favorite things in his diaper bag...and this was before portable DVDs...didn't need them. The droning sounds of the plane are soothing and as long as the kids don't have ear problems, they should be fine. When you hear a screaming baby on the plane, it is almost always their ears and the a google search for relief as it involves hot water and cups to relieve the pressure...sucking helps too, so pacifiers, bottles, breastfeeding, whatever it takes. Mine are 20 months apart, and I flew when the little one was 4 months old.

When you make your travel arrangements, ask about the bassinet. I am not familiar with them myself. Typically airlines keep the bulkhead seats to sell last, as this gives the airline and the flight attendants some flexibility in seating and helps when you have someone who needs more room or whatever. Go ahead and request the bulkhead, considering your situation, they might give it to you. Oh, one thing I almost forgot, at least from the East Coast, overseas flights leave in the early evening, so it fits in with what you are requesting.

You're not going to see those luggage carts until you get to baggage claim. Most have a money slot (so have quarters and 1 euro pieces with you as I have heard a quarter can be used instead of a 1 euro piece)...and then you return them to get your money back (German grocery stores do this with their carts too...the US should do it and maybe there wouldn't be carts all over the parking lots).

I would get one of the skycaps to bring your luggage to the check in. I hope I answered most of your questions.


My husband and I are from Puerto Rico and he just got his assigment to move in work in Baumholder Germany. Us being from PR and you must know this is a total change for us.

I'm worried about a few things already but I'll be checking some stuff out using your blog information. My husband sent me a program to start learning German, but I find it a little difficult to understand and I read in some part of your blog about German classes. Is this available on Baumholder base for the spouses?


You should find that your base has both conversational German classes (typically run by the inprocessing center or the USO or some other entity) and then "real" German classes at the college level which you'll find at the education center. These are more intensive (you learn all the rules, etc) and cost more. The conversational should not cost more than 100 euro per 5 week term.

I think it's great that you'll be learning German. Many don't even bother as English is widely spoken, but it always shows class when you at least try to learn the language of your host language and you'll find the Germans respect you more for it.

Thanks again for your questions and enjoy your weekend!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Two Cents on Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch

I promised to review the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch so here I am following through on at least one promise I made recently....or actually awhile ago...sorry. I have only stayed at the resort twice and was a day visitor once. Here are my impressions:

The resort is inside a secure compound with gateguards. This is a plus if you are of a more cautious nature, although I can tell you, I've never had any fear staying anywhere in Germany on the economy. I've stayed numerous times in small hotels and bed & breakfasts and felt safe there as well.

As you drive up, it is an impressive place...and large. I believe it has around 300 rooms. The first time we visited, it was during a four day holiday weekend during the holidays. Yes, it was beautiful walking into the foyer and breathing in the high mountain lodge atmosphere. That lasted all of two seconds before the first posse of kids cut me off in the large foyer. The place was hoppin'....with no parents in sight anywhere. Packs of kids, as young as four years old, ran around "loose" all around the resort, up and down the elevators and running and yelling through the halls. We only came by to have a meal at their Marketplace buffet area and to use the pool, which I think had a $10 fee for non-guests.

The pool was packed to the was the hot everywhere. The rules say, no children in the pool area without a parent, but I'm not sure if this was followed on this visit. We did eat at the buffet, where there were overturned bowls, spilled food and a general array of messiness. It's no wonder my entire family got really sick the next day. This was the only meal that all of us partook in, so it was obviously suspect. The quality of the food was also suspect in that it was overcooked, watery and not fresh.

My second trip to Edelweiss Resort was with the boys to attend a conference. They price the rooms according to your sponsor's rank. I am thinking we paid around $125 a night, strictly for a room. We went during the week and found the atmosphere totally different than during our last visit. It was relaxed and somewhat peaceful. We must've had a handicapped room, as the floor space in the room (with two queen size beds) and the roomy bathroom was enough to conduct an Olympic gymnastic floor routine. We were also towards the back of the lodge, down one of the shorter hallways that ended in a dead end, so almost no foot traffic outside our door.

We only ate breakfast in the Marketplace, which was fine and lots of typical breakfast buffet choices. It was much more orderly than the last visit, and no, we did not get sick. We did eat dinner the night before at Zuggy's Base Camp, which was typical burgers and accoutrements fare. My 11 year old remarked that the portions could've been larger. I was never asked how my burger should come, ie well done, rare, it came about as well done as it could be.

The pool also was much quieter, and now that I was here a bit longer, I could tell the resort was starting to show some wear around the edges. Alas, I think it has taken some abuse just from the sheer volumes of visitors and will need some refurbishing soon.

Our third visit, was as a family of four. We attended a reintegration weekend of two overnights and a marriage seminar given by our unit chaplain. This was at no cost to us. Our children were also able to come and participated in some of the kids' activities and had a great time with some of their friends. This time, we had two rooms, each with two queen-size beds. The kids of course loved this...on second husband and I did too. Even though we didn't get adjoining rooms, they were right across the hall, and we did brief them on emergency situations and such and told them not to hang over the balcony and create a scene.

Since the Marketplace was included for all our meals, we decided to give it another chance. We did have a larger crowd than when I came with the kids, but it was not nearly as bad as the holiday season....still bearable. The hot tub was closed for a day and a half due to repairs, but they must've fixed it as it was open our last night there. The lodge also enforced the "no kids in the hot tub after 8:30 pm" rule, which was nice. I was amazed at how many little kids were still whoopin' and hollerin' in the pool right before closing at 10pm.

Oh, the Marketplace...they tried really hard with a Bavarian night with sauerkraut and wursts along with pork roast and some other fare, but they really shined the next night with the prime rib. It was very good. So I'm guessing it depends on which headchef is on duty that day. The second night, it seemed they were more attentive with the food being put out and the presentation of all the dishes, both hot and cold. As I said, high marks for the second night and as a highlight, and as a bonus, no one in my family got sick.

Our room location though was very was down the third leg of a very long hallway...not quite at a dead end, but it was still been on a major approach path. I am amazed at parents who allow their children to run up and down the hall after 10pm at manners or supervision yet again. It's a good thing we hadn't planned on sleeping for awhile just yet.

All in all....yes, it's a nice place to stay, but it's not all what it's cracked up to be. As I said, I've stayed in nice bed and breakfasts all throughout Garmisch and Partenkirchen at half the price. I still love the German continental breakfasts with the boiled eggs and fresh rolls, meats, cheeses and jams. We stayed in one last year, where everything was homemade and the chickens were right outside our window in the grassy field next door.

I have a friend who swears by the Familotel Leiner in Garmisch. It is part of a national chain, but each hotel isprivately owned and all focus on families with small children. My friend (with four kids) was amazed at all the high chairs, strollers, sleds and things they had for her use. Her bill, much cheaper than ours, even included breakfast and dinner. Dinner was such a nice experience for her, as they had a playroom for the kids, right off the dining room, and they didn't have to worry about fussy kids...for once, she was actually able to enjoy dinner. The rooms had adjoining bathrooms, and the kids had a separate bedroom. They took VAT forms as well. I always take one along when I travel and am never shy when I make a major purchase or pay for a hotel room. You'd be surprised at how many do take the VAT and are familiar with it.

So, that sums it up. Yes, if you can get in, go for the Edelweiss. Do realize that at many times a year, getting a reservation is almost impossible. Follow their guidelines on their site and know that for the holidays, they do use a lottery system now. Stay away on those four day holiday weekends and during the December and January holidays, especially if you don't like screaming kids. Don't discount the many bed and breakfasts, and give them a chance. We still like them, especially when we are traveling with our dog...forbidden at Edelweiss Resort. Remember, you can still enjoy the resort and amenities, even if you are not a guest.

If you have any things to add, please do so below.