Exploring Germany and Poland

Exploring Germany and Poland with Lisa’s Parents – The Plan and Launch

After two weeks skipping across the USA to visit and spend time with friends and family, it was time to move our digital nomad lifestyle to Europe.

And we were SUPER excited to have Lisa’s parents Jake and Marlene in tow!

The Plan for Exploring Germany and Poland

Jake’s ancestry is German. Marlene’s is Polish.

So when Lisa proposed taking them to Europe for a couple of weeks as we transitioned from Asia to Europe as digital nomads, it was decided we’d take Lisa’s parents to explore Germany and Poland in the same trip.

We used United Airlines miles for Lufthansa business saver awards for all four of us. We would fly from Philadelphia to Berlin in comfort and style.

Our plan was to fly into Berlin and spend a couple days there.

Then we would rent a car and drive about an hour and a half southeast of Berlin. Our destination: the picturesque German town of Cottbus.

After seeing the sights there we would cross the Polish border. First stop in Poland: the Polish pottery town of Boleslawiec for lunch and shopping (Marlene LOVES Polish pottery).

Then drive on and spend a couple nights in Wroclaw, Poland. Both to enjoy the beautiful city and also to figure out how to pronounce it (apparently it’s ‘Vrohts-wahf’. It helps if you can trill a little too!).

From there, a quick stop for lunch in Opole then on to Oswiecim, Poland for a night. Jake and Marlene would see the Auschwitz-Birkenau site/museum first thing in the morning from Oswiecim. Lisa and I visited once before – and once was enough for both of us…

After that, finally, on to Krakow for several days of experiencing that city with a side trip/pilgrimage to see the Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

It was a pretty ambitious plan to explore Germany and Poland.

And Jake and Marlene are not as experienced travelers as Lisa and I are. So Lisa created the 2-week itinerary exploring Germany and Poland with lots of contingency time built in.

We had no idea how quickly that precaution would pay dividends!

Going to the beach or pool? Lisa designed and sourced these Large Mesh Beach Totes while we were digital nomading in Chiang Mai, Thailand! They come with blue or cranberry pink straps:

The Launch – Narrowly Avoiding Disaster From the Start!

So after a few days in Palmyra and Hershey, Pennsylvania watching a dance recital and some baseball, we packed up our one-way rental car that we had picked up during our visits in DC. We put Lisa’s parents in the back seat and took off on the grand adventure.

We pointed the car toward Philadelphia Airport and settled in for the two-hour drive.

About 20 minutes from the airport we heard and felt the distinctive thwap-thwap- thwap of a flat tire.

We considered panicking. Would we be exploring Germany and Poland at all!?

We decided not to panic.

After all, Lisa had built lots of contingency time into our travel!

After pulling over and emptying the trunk of our luggage we were relieved to find a spare tire. But Enterprise had only seen fit to provide a flimsy screw jack.

We set to work getting the tire replaced. But just as we were putting on the spare the car rocked off the flimsy jack and fell to the asphalt.

Not good.

Undeterred, Jake and I put the jack under the strut. We re-lifted the car with much effort and exertion.

Then we used the spare tire to hold the car up while we moved the jack back into proper position to carefully change the tire.


Many high-fives were exchanged around our MacGyvering of the situation.

We loaded the trunk back up and proceeded to the airport at a very moderate pace.

I love these photos because they are classic: Jake is jacking up the car (before it fell off), Lisa and Marlene are standing there with the luggage watching him cross-armed…and I am oh-so-helpfully taking photos of the scene! 😀

Despite the flat tire, we arrived at the airport with time (but no more tires) to spare.

So I dropped Lisa and her parents off at Lufthansa departures and returned the car to Enterprise. The Enterprise check-in lady was impressed that we changed the tire ourselves (so was I!!!). She knocked $20 off our rental for the trouble.

Bottom Line

We felt both gratitude and relief that we made it to the airport in plenty of time for our flight despite the flat tire.

Thank goodness Lisa built so much contingency time into our travels!

Given how much driving we would be doing over the next couple of weeks we also felt confident at that point that we could overcome any incidents exploring Germany and Poland.

In any case, it was time to fly!

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