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Week of March 26, 2017

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First of all, Geo and I were very lucky because Uncle GT let us spend the night in London. So we got to see everything that we wanted to visit. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge were all amazing. Holy Idaho! We even got to see a bunch of places that we had never heard of. London is just as breath-taking as Paris. It rained most of the time we were visiting, but it was worth getting wet!

We literally just checked into our hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. Yesterday we were in Germany. I know you are all probably a bit confused because last time we wrote we were in Paris and London. Well, Uncle GT called us late on Tuesday night in Paris (after we returned from London). He told us that Phoebe had purchased a train ticket from Paris to Geneva, Switzerland. We immediately went to the train station and caught the last train of the night heading to Germany. This was our quickest option to get to Switzerland. We had a connecting train first thing Wednesday morning (earlier today) to get us to Switzerland. So last night we spent the night in Berlin, Germany (the capital city). We arrived early enough to learn a lot about Germany.

I was absolutely starving when we arrived in Germany for the night. Luckily there was a small German market right across the street from our hotel. So we checked into the hotel and immediately headed to the market to get some yummy German food. On our way to the market something very frightening happened. We saw a motor bike driving very quickly down the small lane where we were walking. Geo saw an elderly woman getting ready to cross the street. The motor bike was heading straight towards the woman. Geo ran and grabbed her and pulled her out of the way. Her bag of groceries went all over the lane. The driver of the motor bike pulled over and apologized. He was on his way to pick up his daughter from ballet lessons and running late. He made sure we were all okay and jumped back on his bike and left. The women, Fraulein Garrett, thanked us profusely for helping her and making sure she wasn't hit by the motorbike. She told us that she was just about to go home and make dinner. She lived alone and wanted to thank us for saving her from the crash, so she invited us back to her house. The house was on the same street as our hotel and the market, so we figured it would be safe and easy. Fraulein Garrett told us some really neat information about Germany and herself. She was 93-years old. She used to be an English teacher. German is the primary language in Germany, but many German students learn English in school. I guess this is kind of like Geo and I learning Spanish, French, or Chinese in our American schools. So Fraulein Garrett spoke English very well. Did you know that the word "Fraulein" is just like the word "Miss" in English (you know -- the sur name of some women - like Miss Smith, my 9th grade Geometry teacher). Okay, Uncle GT just arrived at our hotel room. Geo will write more about our German adventure after our meeting with Uncle GT.

     - Meri

Here is an aerial view of the city of Berlin.

The Bellevve Schloss Palace

We visited a monument dedicated to the Berlin Wall. What is the Berlin Wall? Why is it famous?


Germany for Kids
Let Phillip (an 11-year old from Germany) take you on a tour of his country. This interactive website share German culture, music, food, basic country information, and more.


Take a virtual tour of a famous castle in Germany.

Wednesday Evening

Ok, back to our adventures in Germany. Yesterday, Fraulein Garrett taught us a lot about the country of Germany. Germany is located in the heart (center) of Europe and has the largest population of all of the countries in the European Union. Neither Meri nor I knew what the European Union was. Fraulein Garrett explained that the EU (European Union) is comprised of 28 countries. Some of the EU members include Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Finland, France, Germany, and numerous others. The European Union was established in 1993. To be a member of the EU, countries must have a stable democracy, respect for human rights, fair laws, a functioning market economy that is able to compete within the Union, and some other requirements. Not all of the countries in Europe want to be part of the European Union. It seems like more countries join the EU every year. The largest increase (so far) was in 2004 when the EU added 10 additional countries. It kind of reminds me how the United States grew from 13 colonies up to 50 states, but the EU is not one country the way the U.S. is. I wonder if the EU will continue to grow. I also wonder why some countries, like Switzerland and Norway don't join the European Union. What do you think?

There are over 8 million people who call Germany their home. Germany is surrounded by nine countries - Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland. Germany is about the same size as the state of Montana (about 357,000 square kilometers). The climate of Germany is both temperate and marine. Both winter and summer are cool, cloudy, and wet. There are occasional days with warm mountain wind (referred to as foehn). Foehn winds are dry and hot. Over 33% of the land in Germany is arable. Germany grows many agricultural products such as wheat, barley, fruit, cabbages, potatoes, sugar beets, and others.

Fraulein Garrett explained that Germany has a wealth of natural resources. Of course, they have their arable land - but they also have coal, iron ore, lignite, natural gas, nickel, copper, construction materials, salt, potash, uranium, and others. In fact, Germany is among the world's most technologically advanced (and largest) producers of steel, coal, cement, chemicals, iron, machinery, vehicles, electronics, machine tools, foods and beverages, textiles, and shipbuilding. Some of the items that are exported the most from Germany include textiles, machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and metals. I wonder what car companies are based out of Germany? I have heard that BMW and Porsche are both made in Germany. Do you know of any others? The largest percentage of the exported goods from Germany goes to France (about 10%), followed closely by the United States and the United Kingdom.

Did you know that over 90% of those living in Germany are from German ancestors? That means they grew up in Germany; they didn't move to Germany from another country. About 34% of German residents are of the Protestant religion, and 34% of German residents are of the Roman Catholic religion. The remaining 30ish%, are a mix of various religions or don't practice any religion.

We also asked Fraulein Garrett to teach us some German phrases. We learned how to say Hello, I am your friend, and Help. You may not have realized this, but Dewey is part German Shepherd. He is trained to know that someone is speaking the truth - If they are speaking in German. I sure hope Phoebe doesn't figure out that he understands German!

Text from Pandora - RU2OK? Where R U?

Text to Pandora - We R GR8. At Fraulein Garrett's house

Text from Pandora - Huh?

Text to Pandora - Hehehe, will call U L8r

We thanked Fraulein Garrett for teaching us some phrases in German (and for providing us with a delicious meal). Then we returned to our hotel for the night. The following day, we took a train to Geneva, Switzerland. Uncle GT met us here earlier today. Tomorrow there is a Global Warming conference taking place in Geneva. We are all going (Meri, Uncle GT, and me). Uncle GT believes that Phoebe and Dewey might be attending the conference, as well. But either way, we know they are in this city! We will update our blog ASAP. So what should we do next on our mission to find Dewey the truth-sniffing dog?

     - Geo

The Schloss Charlottenburg - the largest palace in Germany.

Lake Geneva - Photo used by permission. (c) 2004 D. W. Shively. All rights reserved.

Check out this cool picture we found! The clouds, cows, and Alps in the background are amazing. Photo used by permission. (c) 2004 E. B. Shively. All rights reserved.
See the map

Tell Geo and Meri what to do:

- Should we run a trace on Phoebe's credit card to figure out where she might be with Dewey?

- Should we call the local hotels and find out if they have anyone staying there using any of her aliases?

- Should we visit the conference center tonight and see if there might be any clues?



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