Trip to Germany 2005 Journal

Posted: September 3, 2008 in Travel
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Trip to Germany 2005

With Lydia & Hans Heinz Würslin

Day 1 1/5/05 We are waiting in Hancock Airport ready to go to Atlanta GA & then to Zurich, Switzerland. I have been learning snatches of German so I can have some idea of what’s going on. I can’t wait to drive on the Autobahn & see the mountains!

Day 2 1/6/05 The hours passed quickly flying East so it was the next day in no time as evidenced by the announcement right after we boarded that we would be arriving in Zurich shortly. Yeah, 9 hours of shortly. The flight wasn’t that good. The movie was shaky & didn’t have any sound. The ride was bumpy. They didn’t give me a breakfast so I had to get it myself & it didn’t have juice in it. The lady spilled coffee on me & to top it all off, There were 3 babies on board. We got our gëpack & then the car. 1st we got a small 2 door Opel but now we have a Renault Scenic. Diesel, manual. I drove us to the Hotel zum Löwen over the border & over the Rhine R. We picked our room & slept until 4:30 pm. Then we walked up through town to go see Heinz’s friend Mr. Spingler. We talked & they had wine. He had a big house complex with a walled in garden and courtyard. He owned a surgical needle co. Then we went to dinner back at the hotel & we met his friend Elvira. Lydia & Heinz had trout, whole, with the heads on and everything. I don’t know what I ordered but I got fried pork chops & French fries. Then bed.

Day 3 1/7/05 Well today was a long day! We had a nice B of bagels & fruit w/ coffee. It was creamy on top but still black and had a very distinct flavor from coffee I’ve had in America. I also had smoked bacon. Then we went out of town (Jestetten) and passed fields where we saw 2 big falcons. We crossed the Rhine R. back into Switzerland and went to the Rhinefall. We parked & walked through an old castle (1200’s) to come to a staircase & walked down. Awesome. I could just imagine the cajónes it would take to kayak it. Then we went to Schaffhausen & walked around. A cool medieval city with tight winding streets and big churches. Beautiful stonework & painted buildings. Cool cars everywhere. Mmmm BMW 5 series. Singen was next. We crossed the Danube R. We asked @ a police station & then parked in a garage that had quotes from famous poets and authors painted on the walls. There were also a few Smart cars. They are manufactured by Mercedes Benz but as a different brand just like Toyota make Scion. Smarts are so small! I can almost stretch my arms from front to back. After walking around and looking at strange nude statues, we had pretzels & coffee. Then we went through a big, let me rephrase that, huge sports store. We found Opa’s friend’s house but we had time before we were supposed to meet them so we went up to see Hohentwiel castle. We walked up and took in the view. You could see another castle perched high on another hilltop overlooking the town. There was a chill breeze but it was still a beautiful day with sun. We walked through a tunnel and I looked up to see a series of murder holes. You know, so you could pour boiling oil and arrows down on top of people trying to get in. It commanded a nice view of the city and it looked like it had had pretty good defenses at one point. I told Lydia how we got in to see castles in Britain by just waiting till after hours and hopping the fences. It seemed like the off season here so Lydia tried to climb over a gate but got yelled at through a loudspeaker. The camera was right in her grill. So we ran for cover as a loudspeaker shouted at us in German. Ahhh! We went to Opa’s Friend’s & had tea & Swiss cakes that were flat & sugary. They were doctors in Afghanistan and had lots of cool artifacts in their apartment. There are so many nice cars around. There was a Benz SLK Kicherer right outside when we came down. Then I drove to Titisee & stayed @ Hietzmannshof. They had a grey parrot in the doorway. Our “room” was a two story suite! We had a great dinner. I had meat wrapped in noodles with smoked bacon & cheese on top w/ potato salad. Then a shower & bed.  Then a nice talk about $ & ideals & what kind of house we want. Stars in the skylight.

Day 4 1/8/05 “18 Miles!” We got up tired & went to have B. Cereal, rolls & yogurt. I looked out the window at a spot at the forest edge where Trolls might come out. This was the Black Forest after all. We packed up & drove to get some €. Then back down the winding road to a small parking lot. We got out for our “hike.” I took my pack w/ water & cameras because you never know. We started up an icy logging road for miles. It was tough going because everything except the edge was covered in ice so we had to make our way up very carefully. We stopped for a rest and pictures and also when we found a hunting tower. I also saw a swampy area with a few upturned trees where Trolls like to make their holes. Fortunately the Army of the White Hand was nowhere to be seen. The sun was brilliant through the trees. We reached a beautiful farm in a high meadow surrounded by mountains. We were looking for the hut where Opa learned to ski. I thought we found it. Yes! No. We went up on a smaller path past an old Troll that had frozen in the daylight and been turned into a waterspout. After another hour of searching in the woods we were beginning to worry but we (Lydia) found it. I had gone down the path and was passed by a few people on horseback. It was locked, so after resting and eating (I just happened to have a Clif bar in my pack), we walked down past farms to Hinterzarten. The countryside is beautiful and so many of the farms are storybook picturesque. It reminded me of the winding country road in the Lake District coming down from Helvellyn. We took a train to Barental where we had to walk all the way back down into the valley & back to the car 3 miles away. It was a small road and we were passed by a couple in a horse drawn carriage with bells on. 10:30am – 4:00pm. Then we drove through these awesome cliff walls (where a long time ago, a prince was hunting deer and the stag he was chasing jumped right over the gap 20-30 ft. wide and 150 ft. up.) & down 4 hairpin turns and over a huge bridge. We drove to Oberried to our hotel just outside of Freiburg. Our room is up a marble staircase. We have another suite with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bath, and a balcony with a view of the dark hills swirling ominously with mist. We had a good dinner. Oxenfliesch w/ pomme & horseradish sauce. Mad good. Then reading & a HOT bath. I cooked my legs. Then reading & bed.

Day 5 1/9/05 “A much easier day” We had soft boiled eggs @ 9:00 & then had another rest. I read & Lydia napped. Then we left & drove through Freiburg to have lunch with more of Opa’s friends. It was @ The Crown, an old inn in the middle of a little town 15km out of Freiburg. One was his cousin. I had tomato soup & ham & salad. I didn’t want to eat a lot but she made me. Lard balls. Then we had espresso. Then Freiburg. With the dino bottles clanging in the back, we parked in a garage then walked around. The church was awesome. Huge stained glass windows and it was still decorated from Christmas. Little shops, cobble stones, & more winding streets. Then back. We rested & I read more of “Treason’s Harbor,” 9th in the Aubrey/ Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. Then we went down to drink coffee & beer & we talked about skiing. Then up & bed. Long talk w/ Lydia again. Very introspective.

Day 6 1/10/05 We had the same B again. 2 rolls, 1 both sides w/ currant, the other 1 side w/ salami, Swiss cheese, & bacon, the other w/ butter & Black Forest honey. 1 soft boiled egg & coffee & orange juice. We went in to Freiburg & went to the bank so Opa could do his accounts. I got out €100. Then Lydia & I went to the market that forms in the church square & looked around. More waiting @ the bank then lunch of bratwurst w/ onions on a roll. Then Lydia & I hiked up the hill behind the city to see the wonderful view. There was a spiral tower @ the top. You could see where the medieval city expanded outside the city walls. Then back down to Main St. I got some silver sunglasses @ H&M & we wandered around. Then back to the park (I climbed the Alps) to meet Opa who was visiting his cousin in a home. Then we came back & read before going to see Dr. Margarite & Dr. Dieter Seiffert. They had champagne & I had OJ. He put out 5 wine glasses then I said, “Ich bin anti-alcohol.” Then he said, “Oh he doesn’t drink? Well I’ll just pour him a little then.” Opa said, “No he doesn’t drink at all.” They just couldn’t understand the concept. There’s a German saying: A day without wine is a risk to your health. I gave them some Dinosaur BBQ sauce (she read the label out loud, “A sensuous slathering sauce.” And we were like, “It’s for cooking. For meat. Not massages.”) & we had bread w/ cheese & dried bacon & red peppers. Then Appfl Kukken & then fruit. They talked about the past & her paintings & Tria where they lived. An old Roman town. Then back to our room & bed. Retard pills.

Day 7 1/11/05 “Variety is the spice of Life” Our usual B down in the fox & boar room. Then we packed & headed for Colmar, France. We crossed the Rhine R. into France, passed through the town where the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty was from & came into the small city of Colmar. I parked in an out of the way lot via an abrupt turn & we tried to find the Unterlinden Museum. We did, & it was closed on Tuesdays. So we went to the Street of Heads where there was a restaurant w/ carved heads. I also found some Ferrari deodorant for Pete & we got French pastry. We went to this huge cathedral but it was closed in winter. Then we went to another one right down the street. St. Martins. The second we walked in I heard monks chanting. I thought, “Oh cool, we’re in here while they are practicing.” But no. They had speakers, but it was still very nice. Then we ate our pastries in the sun while Opa explained the reason why French architecture is a certain way. Basically for tax reasons. You were taxed for the number of floors in your house so if you made your roof come down and cover the 3rd story windows, it clearly wasn’t a floor anymore but just an attic and therefore untaxable. Then we bounced. The way to Strasbourg was very flat but w/ the Volges to the left. 156km. Castles on the hillsides. Getting into the city & parking was a pain but we saw the cathedral right afterwards & it was awesome. Huge & beautiful. The stained glass was amazing & there was this huge celestial clock too. Then we wandered the streets some more & left. It took a while to get out of the city but we made it. We changed our minds on where to stay & headed for Baden Baden. The drive up was spectacular! Up little twisting valleys with beautiful half timbered houses smoking from chimneys. Then the road closed in w/ pines & it was up & up. Hairpin turns came fast & furious, especially when passing huge trucks (I drove that little rental car like I was racing at Pikes Peak.) w/ a wonderful sunset at the top. There was also a huge windmill up there but I cropped that out of the pictures. We thought we’d stay @ Mummelsee but they were full so we pressed on in the dark & fog to Landgasthof Hirsoh. We had a good dinner & Apfel Strudel for dessert. Then reading, & this, & bed.

Day 8 1/12/05 Had B & left for Baden Baden. Passed through & glimpsed the Roman Bath. Then we saw a big Manor house, Schloss Favorite. It had a nice layout (stables, a promenade, a huge front lawn, and little out buildings) & we walked around the garden in the back. Duck ponds & big trees. Lydia & I posed as the Lord & Lady on the huge back steps. Then on & lots of driving to Ludwigsburg to see Schloss Solitude. A very impressive placement over the city lined up perfectly with the major boulevard. I think Dad was stationed right near here. There was a huge ballroom with massive windows. I could just imaging balls there looking out over the city. Then on to Stutgart. Where we saw the house where Lydia’s mom lived. Cool city but I don’t like driving in it. I kind of wanted to stop and tour the Porshe plant but we didn’t have time. Navigational skill to the Autobahn. 186 km/h. To Sinshiem for the Auto & Technical Museum. That was cool. They had hundreds of planes suspended. The Concord too. You could even climb up inside them and one had a slide down from 3 stories. Even though it was raining I climbed around inside a few of them. It was weird how your sense of balance and space becomes distorted when you walk/climb up an airplane floor that your brain is trying to tell you is flat. I slid down the huge slide too. It was fun! Tons of cars. Cadi’s, Benz, Ferraris, Panzers. Some of the tanks were huge. & the planes inside. Awesome. They had F1 cars, a big 4X4 Lambo made for Saudi Oil Lords, old six wheel Mercs., and a massive 900,000 horse power cruise ship engine as big as two train cars. Speaking of train cars they had them too. Hundreds of old war equipment from both the Nazis and the Allies. So cool. We had a snack of Aloe Vera yogurt & moved on. Back on the rainy, dark, big trucks Autobahn to Schwäbisch Hall. It was pouring and we were tired so we said we would stop at the first place we saw. Which happened to be 5 Star hotel Hohenlotte. Mad nice. Dinner was magnifique. In a very nice dining room with an open fireplace. The wait staff were terrible at starting fires and only got it to smoke profusely but were excellent at serving. Lydia & I both got salmon topped with horseradish sauce. It all came out together on covered silver platters. At some sort of silent signal, the waiters all lifted them off simultaneously. Voi la! It was amazing! The best salmon in the world. I almost swore that I would never eat salmon again because anything else could never come close. It was that good. Then we met Ilse Beck. She is Simone’s Godmother? Then we went swimming while Opa talked with her. There was a warm pool, hot tub w/ pounding jets and a waterfall, outdoor pool that connected to the indoor one, & sauna. We went there too (hee hee). We went into the 80° one. Very nice apart from the 2 naked men there but we stripped all the same. Mint smell & soft green light. Then back to the pool & a cold rinse off. Then up & reading a little bit. I got to call Mom & Dad for 8 min. Then bed.

Day 9 1/13/05 “Schwäbisch Hall to Würzburg” A very good B w/ a great view. The towers on the town walls were cool. Then we packed & went to visit Ilse Beck. She had a nice apartment in an assisted living house. She is mad skilled at embroidery & needlepoint. They had wine & I had juice w. fish crackers. Then we left & while Opa got a haircut, we explored the church of St. Michael. They have Shakespearian plays on the steps during the summer. It was smaller but still beautiful. There was an English speaking guide (paper) in the doorway & we looked around while the organist played. The ceiling was a very cool pattern of stonework. There were all sorts of shrines and memorials on the walls. There was one for this guy who died without leaving an heir so it showed Death uprooting his family tree! There was also a sepulcher behind the alter filled with hundreds of bones from past church patrons. Pretty eerie. Then we bought pretzels (walking past numerous Optic stores) & Opa got a hat @ H&M. Before we left, he returned the power adapter that didn’t fit & we left. The drive was nice & twisty through lots of little towns. Coming into Würzburg was bad driving because we wanted to find a hotel. I drove on the trolley tracks. We finally gave up & went outside the city & stayed @ the Hotel Rose. A very good D of ½ a chicken & fries & we talked about climbing. Then reading, washing socks, & bed.

Day 10 1/14/05 “Elaborate” We had a sunny side up B & then packed to the sounds of the best show on TV. It was just different panning outdoor cameras of ski resorts in Austria/ Bavaria put to Oom Pah music. It was awesome! On the way to the car I saw they had an internet café so we used ½ an hour to check e-mail & write to people. Then we made our way to the Residence downtown. What a whopping great load of marble, parquet floors, and carved plaster. And let’s not forget the gold leaf. Hundreds of pounds of it. All the rooms were very nice although some were a little too over the top. The Mirror Cabinet being one of them. I liked the fancy cabinet commode though. 3D stucco breasts. Then we saw the chapel which was very fine but also over the top. Then we left for Nürnburg. We got off to look for a hotel but then decided to keep going so we drove on to just outside of Munich. We had a small delay but also a fine sunset. So now we’re in Eching in a nice small hotel (Anger Meir) off the main strip. We walked to dinner but turned the wrong way & went out of town & back & ate @ an Inn. Mad good tender pork w/ fried onions & potatoes w/ horseradish sauce. Then we got lost again but made it back to our hotel. There was women’s skeet biathlon & the World Championship lawn bowling. I read & wrote a little. Then bed.

Day 11 1/15/05 Another fast day. A good B in a nicely coordinated dining room. We got on the Autobahn & promptly got in a jam. Then a wrong turn led to a better entry into München. We found a central parking lot & walked around until we found the Glockenspiel building. Rick Steves is full of crap. The only other Americans in the square agreed with me. There’s hundreds of people waiting around to see this old contraption start precisely at noon. It finally worked 8 min. later and the figures moved in a circle. The music was horrible & offbeat. Then we saw the huge brick church. It was white & much brighter inside. More modern though. Not as appealing. Then we asked our way to the Haufbrau House, the most famous German beer hall. It was pretty cool. It had a live Oom Pah band complete w/ lederhosen. We had ApfelSohne & Opa had one of their huge beers. We sat w/ a couple from Fla. & played the coaster flip game w/ their son. I got a huge stein for Joel. Then we just walked back to the car & threaded our way back to the Autobahn. I really let it open up to 196 km/h (122 mph, totally legal!) then slowed because we could see the Mts. Lydia took pictures while we were in another jam. We finally turned the bend & were still slow so I pulled over & rock climbed. There were bolted routes too. Then off again & up a twisting road to Ettal and the monastery. I realized that one of the framed pictures on the stairs at home in Syracuse was Cloister Ettal. All that time growing up I never really questioned where it was and now I’m here. Beautiful chapel with a painted ceiling and one of the brothers was making an ice rink. Magnificent setting right in the mountains. Then on to see Ludwig’s Linderhof. A small summer palace. Nice, but not too much to see in the winter. I guess it has wonderful gardens and huge fountains that go 500 ft. up. On the walk back to the car we were talking about temperature and Opa lets loose with, “Fahrenheit was an Idiot!” Awesome. It’s true though. Celsius makes much more sense. Water freezes at 0° and boils at 100°. Stupid Fahrenheit, messing it up for everyone. Then back up past beautiful mountains to Oberammergau. We’re staying @ a Minotel & had a good dinner w/ venison pate appetizers. Lydia & I took a walk & saw all the amazing carvings the town is famous for (also for putting on an extremely elaborate Passion Play once every ten years). Then back to watch Millionär w/ a funny lady (it was great, they had all the graphics and songs & everything.) & the Global Edition of the Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart on CNN! Then I read chemistry & bed.

Day 12 1/16/05 “4 Countries in One Glance” Good B &reading & shower. Then driving to Garmich. Beautiful scenery. We got out & walked around a parking lot while Opa told us stuff. Then he went to go see if the cog railway was still working. It was & he bought Lydia & I a ticket. We changed into more snow capable clothes & went up. The cog one was jumpy & we went all the way up in a big tunnel. The WC & got out into bright sunlight & amazing mountains. Awesome! Spectacular! There were skiers & boarders all around but I thought we wouldn’t have enough time (with renting in another language and paying for an outrageous ticket for 45 min. on the slope). We sat near the tallest church in Ger. Then went up to the top. The view was even better from there. The only thing was, you couldn’t go to the true summit. (De Zugspitze 2,962 m/9,718 ft.) We had kaffee & kuchen (Schwartzwalder Kirschtort & Poppy seed) in a cool little café. Then we headed back down. Lots of waiting for the gondola. We had each other though so it was fun. Lydia totally groped me a few times while we were standing in line. She was anxious though. Then down. Supposedly this was the longest stretch of unsupported cable in the world (for a gondola). It just dropped off the side of the mountain in a controlled glide. It was cool. Back in the train & Opa pulled up right as we came in. Then we drove to Innsbruck, Austria. There was a jam but it was going downhill so it wasn’t bad. Down and down into the darkness. There was a light way way up on the left so at first I thought it was a star. But then it started blinking so I thought maybe a plane. But it never moved. Then the realization that it was up on a mountainside. It was so high up. Then we tried to find a hotel & that was bad w/ lots of one way streets. We asked somewhere & she said there were no rooms in Innsbruck. We circled on the highway & finally found, by random turns, the Mozart Hotel. Then we walked down to the big arch & had dinner @ a Denny’s style place. ½ chicken & fries. Kelly Osbourne wannabe. Then instead of going back, we walked downtown & saw shops & a closed church. Creepy red light walk. Good sense of direction. Then back & John Mayer on Conan. Chemistry then bed.

Day 13 1/17/05 A somewhat trying day. B & then we walked around Innsbruck again. I took pictures of the dirndls for Lydia. I also sent 4 cards but they wouldn’t allow the one w/ German stamps. Then we left. The drive was cool except for the slow trucks. Beautiful mountains. We made our way to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau. Very touristy but we stayed. Lydia & I had a disagreement about tickets & times & pony rides. She bought them & we walked up while Opa had coffee. We walked around the older one 1st & saw the interior from books in the gift shop. Then we beat the ponies up the hill to Neusch…. The office said it was a 30 -40 min. walk & we did it in 13 min. Then I poached a closed trail to get to a bridge where I could get a different angle on the castle. Then I rushed back & took a little slide on my bum (remember the logging road?) so I wouldn’t be late for our English tour. We waited & then it started by going up a spiral staircase. We saw nice servants’ quarters & then up to the throne room and his bedroom. Our other hanging guide told us about the secret door for the WC. Then we saw another room w/ beautiful paintings and walked through the grotto & winter garden. That was cool. Then up to the singing hall & stage. I got caught with my camera out so we hurried down the steps to the exit where there were pictures of the building process. 1869 & later. Then we walked (ponies stopped running) down and left, driving on little roads till we reached the unfortunate town of Nesselwank. We asked @ a guest house so the bar maid put on her coat. We followed her down dark alleys to a dark building. The rooms were cold. We had dinner back @ the bar which was good except Lydia’s soup was bad. Then we drove back & moved in. We got ready for bed & Lydia, after feeling sick for awhile, promptly threw up. This repeated at 12:00 & 3:00. Plus the room was still freezing. Not a good night.

Day 14 1/18/05 We got up & I drove Lydia to the market to get bananas & powerade. The hotel owner said Guten Morgen & I said Nein. She was Krank all night. Bleughhh. We walked out. I came back & ate B w/ Opa. Then we packed & left. The roads were fun & twisty although we took a wrong turn 1st. Then I used the compass on Lydia’s binoculars before getting out my own big one. We headed for Lindan & we got out near the harbor on Bodensee but Lydia felt very weak & didn’t want to walk. So we left & passed through Überlingen so Opa could take a picture of a fountain Oma liked. We stopped @ McDonald’s for the WC & then headed off again. It was raining & Turned to snow. We were close to Titisee & Lydia wanted to stay @ the Hietzmanhof. We got gas & she got apples & went there but they were closed! So we went to Hinterzarten & stayed @ Hotel garni Silberdistal. Very nice. An early power outage didn’t phase us & Lydia slept while I read. Then she had tea & Opa & I went out to eat. We went to a really nice hotel restaurant. I had fish. All the waitresses were plain but pretty & they all smiled @ me. One looked like Drew Barrymore in Ever After. Then we went back to Lydia through the beautiful snow. She was feeling better & slept. I read & then sleep. Very good night’s sleep. Good temp. Cuddling Lydia later in the morning.

Day 15 1/19/05 We cuddled early & Lydia gave me a surprising good morning kiss. We went down & had a very good B. Strawberry jam & blueberry yogurt. They had little jars of tanninhoneg. I took some honey for my peeps at home. The we hung out while I caught “this” up. We left & headed to Auggen. We stopped @ Oma’s old house & looked around. Then an old lady came out & Opa talked to her. She invited us in & we saw the frescos on the ceiling & where the patio used to be. Then we went up to the church for the view. Then we went to Schloss Bürgéln & walked up a snowy hill for nothing because it was closed. I tried to hike around the wall but But I ended up jumping the fence. Not much of a view but you could see France. Then we went to Baden Wieler where we saw the Roman Baths & climbed around an old castle. Lydia got separated from us for a little while so then we went to the Galthaus zum Löwen in Oberried. Then we sacked out cause Opa said he felt feverish. Lydia & I went to Kirchgarten for groceries & we came back & made pasta & bread w/ herb butter & olive oil. Then we cuddled again.

Day 16 1/20/05 “Ich bin Krank.” Also some lovin in the morning. Lydia & I went into Frieburg so she could register for a class @ Cortland. We went to the University Library. We had to wait in line but I did some math work while she was on & then I checked my mail. Mom replied back & they rescheduled their trip to Greece. We walked around a little bit. I tried to find the guesthouse that has been operating since the 1300’s. We had a Bockwurst mit Krauten but it was cold & rainy. So we went back & read. I finished “Far Side of the World.” Then I felt bad so I went to the bathroom & threw up. I went in & told Lydia. So we cuddled until I did it again. So she left to the store to get meds. She came back & before taking them I threw up again. She also cut up some fruit for a very colorful meal. It was hard to get to sleep but I finally did.

Day 17 1/21/05 “Bad Ballingen” I woke up & we cuddled a little. Then I drank some Qoo @ B. Then I laid in bed while they were out in Frieburg. Pop. Mech. Then we went to the thermal springs @ Bad Ballingen while Opa visited a friend. The water was warm & minerally. We fooled around. The Germans are very possessive of their water jets. We finally got some. We also enjoyed the “wirly swirly” thing. Powerful jets pushed you around in a circle. We didn’t do water aerobics but their thin instructor kept us amused. Especially compared to some of the beer bellied men. They look fine from the back (discounting the speedo) but when they turn to the side they have huge bulges! It’s rather funny. We got out & waited for Opa. There were these red alarm lights that went off & we couldn’t figure out why. Butt pinching alarm? Smiling alarm? I thought maybe it was a timer for exercises but it wasn’t even on a set schedule. Then I noticed everyone shift to the right when it went off every minute & 18 sec. We were like, “No way, it couldn’t be that.” But it was! Every time the lights went off, everyone shifted 1 meter to the right so no one could hog a good water jet. Even if they didn’t look happy about it. And here Lydia & I were just going around and sitting on the wall wherever we wanted too. That explained all those dirty looks! We free Americans with our disregard for rules. Then Opa came back & we left & had D @ our inn house. Then Sleep.

Day 18 1/22/05 We got up & had B. Then packed & cleaned up while Lydia gave me an edge up w/ her swiss army knife. We left & drove to Müllhiem after taking Green Hills bag pictures for free donuts when we get back to the states. The clouds & light were dramatic but it was a short drive. Then resting & watching many Ger. sports while Lydia wrapped Dr. Hoffman’s present. Luge, ski jumping, X country & shooting, swimmimg, cycling, bobsled, etc. Also CNN which they repeat. The key to our room is crazy! Very complicated. We took a walk to a nearby town but nothing was open. As we were walking over a bridge it was WWI all of a sudden. We looked up and there were two bi-planes in a dog fight right over our heads. It was pretty cool. I also found some cool graffiti. We made our way back past quite farms and went to the store. I got some mocha coffee candies and some bars that are perfect for Catherine. Then around 6:00 we went down to the cocktail hour. Lots of people (85) & very dressy. I only had jeans & a nice sweater. Lydia was beautiful in her black floral party dress. Then speeches & wine. (not for me of course) Being German & very precise, Dr. Dieter Hoffman introduced everyone (all 85) including us by name. Then we had sushi. We thought it was the only meal so we ate a lot only to find out there was another course. Meat. More speeches in German & then out to the hall for silly pirate songs. Opa gave a poem. Lydia & I used our sparklers outside. Then we went away to bed because of the early morning. False promises. : (

Day 19 1/23/05 “A very Early Morning” I had set my watch for 5:15 but Opa called earlier. We got up & threw the rest of the stuff together then bounced. The desk wasn’t open yet so we left the keys. Missed the einfart the 1st time but no big deal. Dark & fast down to Zurich 1 hr. 15 min. We returned the car and then waited for our flight. We passed many different stores in Germany that sold Swiss Army knives but if I was going to get one it would be from Switzerland. So I looked around the airport for a few hours in vain before Lydia took great amusement in telling me that we were in an AIRPORT! and there wouldn’t be knives anywhere. Duh. Oh well. I found some chocolate swiss army knives I got for the guys at home and then picked up a mag for the plane ride home. After that it’s a blur but we are glad to be home.

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