Tag Archives: Elisabeth

end of the trip

The trip was great but by the time we got home from the Sistergold concert and Heidelberg, we were toasted. We mostly laid low at Wilfried and Elisabeth’s house for a day and a half. Mary was interested in the casinos in Baden Baden but when we looked into the details it turned out they had a dress code and a high buy in and the games didn’t start until late in the day – or evening in one case.

No one else was as interested as Mary so that didn’t happen. We were getting ready to go over there Monday and at least walk around a bit but Wilfried and Elisabeth had an unexpected visitor, an elderly man with a shock of white hair. Naturally, beers were brought out and we Americans were amused at his torrent of conversation. I don’t remember what all he was talking about, but he was sure passionate. Wilfried explained later that he’s some kind of artist and collector.

Mercedes has a factory in Rastatt, so after our visitor left we went to take a tour there, then Wilfried took us around the Zentrum. Of course, there’s a schloss.We ate ice cream. Later, we walked over to Schloss Favorite, which is literally 5 minutes from Wilfried’s front door. This place has lovely grounds to go along with the structure.

 

Tuesday we had to leave at noon, but in the morning we went out for a walk through the neighborhood. The open field at the back of Wilfried and Elisabeth’s house has been set up for development: streets and utilities but no houses yet. In a half an hour leisurely walking, we walked around the whole village. The village is called Förch and one of several small villages tied administratively into the larger town of Rastatt.Perhaps I should mention that Elisabeth was unable to accompany us on most of our touring around because she had an operation on her foot and could not walk. She always had something good for us when we came back to her house. Danke schön, Elisabeth!

At noon, we loaded our bags into Wilfried’s car, hugged Elisabeth and headed north. Deutsche Bahn had a major problem in Rastatt where the ground below some train tracks sank on Sunday, stranding thousands of people. Wilfried wasn’t sure how possible it would be for us to get a train to Frankfurt from Rastatt so he drove us to the Karlsruhe Hbf.

There finally we had to say auf wiedersehen to our tour guide, cousin and friend Wilfried. Words can not express my gratitude for everything you did for Mary and me this past two weeks. His only request: that we come back and stay longer! Mit viel Vergnügen!

Schwartzwald and dinner

We left Friedrichshafen Friday afternoon about 1 pm. Our train went west along the Bodensee, curved south around the northwestern arm, called Überlingen See, to Radolfzell, then west again to Singen, where we changed trains to one bound north through the Schwarzwald.

Schwarzwald, the Black Forest of Hansel and Gretl and many other fearsome tales of our childhood. My notes of this first part of the journey are more concerned with the lady whose dog got loose in the Singen train station than with any fearsome fables. It wasn’t until I noticed the upcoming stop at Donaueschingen that I started paying closer attention to the world outside my window. Donau!!?? That’s the German word for what we Americans call the Danube. I always associated that river with Austria and points east. What’s it doing in southern Germany?

Well, it turns out that Donaueschingen is known as the source of the Danube. The whole time we went through Donaueschingen, I was watching carefully for a river of any size. Nothing. After we got out of the town, we went along a nice valley that had a little stream in it that seemed little more than a canal that toy boats could sail in.

Later I came to find out that the Danube is formed from two rivers coming together at Donaueschingen. They are named Breg and Brigach. Brigach was the one we were passing along. Well. The countryside was beautiful though and some hills were starting to show.

Within 15 minutes we were at St George (Sankt Georgen) amongst some serious forest. We left the river course then for some tunnels and steep valleys. Good stuff!

St. George, Triberg, Hornberg, Hausach, Haslach, Biberach. All set in what my map tells me is Naturpark Schwarzwald Nord/Mitte. I would like to come back here.

Around Biberach we noticed that this train had a stop scheduled in Rastatt. Why didn’t Wilfried tell us to go there instead of Baden Baden? Frantic texts, emails, attempts to phone ensued. Finally Mary got through and found out that the Baden Baden Hbf is closer to their house than the one in Rastatt. OK.

The last few stops before Baden Baden were approximately 30 seconds each with the train accelerating to around 90 mph for only 4 or 5 minutes in between. And very smooth.

Wilfried had mentioned earlier in the week that he and Elisabeth had a social engagement Friday night that they couldn’t get out of: a dinner at their neighbor’s. Mary and I thought they would go and leave us at their house. When we got to Wilfried’s, it was 5 pm and Elisabeth had the table all set with 4 giant pieces of cream cake and wine. We hadn’t eaten a proper lunch again so we fell to with gusto. After a while, someone said, what time are we expected at the neighbors? Answer, 6 pm. I looked at my phone: 5 minutes til 6.

So now it develops that we were expected all along to join them so get your coat on, we’re going. Never mind that I felt like I would never eat again. I should have known.

We had a lovely dinner at Felix and Yolanda’s. Neither spoke much English but we got along. The food was great: Felix barbequed sausages and chicken kabobs outside in the rain while the rest of us sat around the table and talked and drank.

Back at Wilfried’s about 10 pm, he brought out a special 16 year old Spätlese Reisling and we sat around and talked some more until past midnight. What a day!

travel

Well, my last big travel of the year is upon me. Well, I hope it’s my last big travel. I’m still harboring hopes of getting back up to Washington. Compared to going to Europe or driving with Jeremy across the US, that’s not big. I’ve finally gotten serious and started to pack my bag.

It’ll be two weeks in Germany, with the highlight being celebrating the 100th birthday of my cousin Leni Hangauer. Mary Beth and I will be flying to Frankfurt, where Leni’s son Wilfried will pick us up and take us to the little town outside of Bonn where Leni lives with her daughter Marlies. Besides the birthday party, we’ll be checking out the sights nearby in Bonn, Cologne and possibly Aachen. Then a trip up the Mosel River to the ancestral home in Bernkastel (actually Kues across the river). I’m hoping to fit in a look at the Roman baths at Trier.

Then across to Munich, where Wilfried’s son Andreas lives. We’ll sightsee in Munich – and possibly hoist a brew – with a side trip to Mad Ludwig’s castle at Neuschwanstein. A couple of days of that, then back west to Wilfried and Elisabeth’s home near Baden Baden on the edge of the Black Forest..

Somewhere in there we will see Mary’s favorite group, Sistergold, in concert. Mary wants to drive fast on the Autobahn and we haven’t decided how we are getting to and from all these places yet. Wilfried will be driving us sometimes. Maybe he will let Mary drive his car!

I’ll have my camera and will keep a paper journal. I’ll try to log on and put up some travel notes as we go. Wish us luck!