Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer in Vermont

I think it was as early as last September, near the end of my time in Madrid, when Hannah mentioned that some day we could reunite in Vermont where her parents just finished building a cottage.  Since then, I would find myself chanting the refrain "Summer in Vermont" over and over in my head: a reminder that I could see my good friends once again.  In April when I found out Hannah would be in Quebec for three months this summer, I bought a ticket to come visit.  Even though I was going to Hudson, the refrain "Summer in Vermont" kept me cheerful, representing my Madrid/London friends.

And we did end up visiting Vermont!  For just a weekend though, not a summer.

After surviving the "glimpse-of-death storm" on Friday afternoon, we picked up Hermann at the airport that night and drove to Vermont.  Following printed Google directions, we got lost multiple times during the night, often driving 10+ minutes in the wrong direction before noticing and turning around (or stopping at a gas station to ask).

Crossing the border was interesting.  We had two German passports, a Canadian passport, and my USA passport.  One of the German passport holders has lived in London for the past year, and Madrid for the previous eight or so years.  The other has lived in Spain for the past two years and is traveling to the USA after Canada.

So we arrive at the border close to midnight, after driving along small country roads.  There is only room for one lane of cars at a time, and we are the only car in sight.

Someone in the front seat had collected everyone's passports ten minutes earlier so that we would be ready.  Hannah rolls down the driver's window and hands the stack of passports to the border patrol guy.  He starts looking at the passports, then tells us very sternly, "There are four of you in this car, but I only have three passports."

Uh oh.  Herm starts looking around the passenger seat and finds the fourth passport on the floor.  No idea how it fell out of our pile...

Border patrol guy looks at all of the passports again and asks Hannah where we're going.  He looks at the passports some more.  It's quiet.  Then he says, "Please pull ahead right here (*signals to a parking spot*) and come inside."  Groan.

So we park and go in.  Border patrol guy #1 hands the passports over to inside border patrol guy #2.  He starts asking us questions, finding out where each of us currently lives.  How do we all know each other?  How does Max have money to be traveling?  Is Rebe from Munich?  How do Herm and Hannah know each other?  What does Max do?  What is the address that you're going to in Vermont?  What does Herm do?  Do the Germans have visas?  And many more questions that kept us on our toes.  We were all tired though, especially Hermann, so some funny answers mistakenly left some of our mouths (i.e. "She's my boyfriend").

The two German passport holders had to pay a $6 fee to cross the border on land.  And then we were back on the road, continuing to drive in the wrong direction for periods of time.  We made it to the cottage sometime after 1am, only to discover the electricity was out because of the storms.

Keep in mind, Hannah has never been to / seen this house because it was built while she was living in Spain.  Amazingly we found some candles and matches in the dark, then used the candlelight to find the bedrooms so we could all pass out.

Kitchen, as seen by candlelight

When I woke up the next morning, I was pleased to hear the gentle hum of the refrigerator as I walked through the kitchen on my way to the back porch.  Check out the view:

This area of Vermont (and perhaps the whole state?) is gorgeous, gorgeous, as I would discover on Saturday and Sunday.
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