The last 36 hours I spent immersing myself in the lives of Wolfgang and Ria, their daughter Bianca and Marcel, and their son Nico. The relation traces back to Wolfsng being a cousin on the maternal side of our daughters. On the 28th we got reacquainted and today we delved into some serious routines: taking Nico to his third grade class (see pic); getting Wolfgang’s leased Volkswagen ready to trade in on a new model as part of a special employee’s lease program (his 35th car)–see pics of old and new car; and visiting the local Horch Auto Museum (once the original Audi factory), Horch being one of the four Audi rings (the other three representing Audi, DKW, and the Wanderer).
After checking Nico’s homework, we set out for the nearby Vogtland Arena, a winter and summer ski jump training venue. We took a ride up to the top for an added perspective. BTW, we saw remnants of snow that fell yesterday.
I begin walking in 5 days when rain is scheduled!! I’m ready!
My time here in northern Germany with our friends, James, Brigitte, and Heiner is fast drawing to a close. Despite the drizzle yesterday, we visited their local car show and I had to take a picture of an old Trabant (it harkens back to the DDR days–its cardboard body and other aspects are the brunt of many German jokes)– check out the attached pic. For dinner, James prepared a Vienna Onion Roast–yummy!
Spent a splendid day with friends, Brigitte, James, and Heiner, first driving north to Nordstrand, Nordfriesenland, Germany to look at the North Sea–windy, drizzly, but a. great matjes roll for lunch (one of my favorite fish: young immature marinated herring). It only got better with a visit to the Emil Nolde Museum. He was one of the first expressionists as a member of “Die Brücke.” The picture of us in front of some of his works gives an idea of his style. For dinner–you guessed it–more matjes!
Spent two gorgeous days with the Kunzes, seeing the highlights of Rendsburg and enjoying their scrumptious meals and hospitality. The picture shows the old town hall, the suspended ferry over the East-west Canal, and scenes from tonight’s dinner. What’s missing is Hainer, their son who traveled some seven hours from Marburg to Rendsburg by train to surprise me—yes, train. The strike is over!!!! We’ll catch a photo of him tomorrow. A real treat tonight was a DVD of a man with Parkinson’s who made the Camino de Santiago–amazing feat!
Had a super first leg of the flight–a whole row on the plane to sleep on the way. At Heathrow I managed my way through the bus maze: where to catch it; where to buy an oyster (my multi-day ticket); where to get off; where’s my hostel??? The picture says it all–you bet I’m intense. My backpack with four bottles in it was pretty heavy to have to schlepp it any further than necessary…..My adventure has started–I love it!
I’m flying out tomorrow (Apr 21), heading to Germany, first visiting friends then family, and beginning a short 450 km section of the Via Regia on May 4th. The attached photo shows my good friend and walking buddy Geoff (on the right). We just finished leading a group of 16 pilgrims on a 11-mile hike with 1000-ft climb. Both of us are ready for some hiking: he on the Portuguese Camino and I on the Via Regia.