Last Leg to Boston

The church bells are ringing in this little village in Germany where I write. My bag is packed and ready for our early departure tomorrow, first by car to Frankfurt, then a flight to Dublin and then another to Boston. From there it will be a 2 hour car ride home with a friend and I’ll try hard to stay awake.

Wiltrud pointed out to me that we met up a week ago in Berlin. This week, like all the others these past months, has flown by. It has been a good place to readjust to something resembling my usual life in Vermont. I’ve been to the grocery store, the pharmacy, had coffee and cake up by the castle. Well, it hasn’t all been exactly like home. When I went into the pharmacy to see if I could buy the bike cream that I like, I had to do an interesting pantomime as my German is very limited. When people spoke to me in the line at the grocery store, I just nodded and smiled. I was no longer the obvious foreigner. On the train into Frankfurt, I was surrounded first by school children and later by students from a special school. I had no idea what they were chattering about.

Once I arrived in Frankfurt, though, I was met by a familiar face. In Bhutan, I met Renate who is a German woman who has lived for many years in the U.S. When we realized we would both be in the same area of Germany this week, we made plans to meet and I was thrilled that it worked out. We had a perfect, blue sky day to explore the city and have fun together. We did a lot of walking through the fancy shop area as well as the old town where the buildings look like something from a fairy tale (although rebuilt after WWII). Renate took me to the traditional “Struwwelpeter” – where we ate the local specialty, meat and potatoes with a tasty herb filled sauce and chased it down with the local apple wine. We sat on the top deck of a tourist boat for a trip down the River Main watching planes on their descent into the same airport where I’ll leave from tomorrow.

Back in NeiderWeimar, I had the chance to meet the newest granddaughter, a charmer of 5 months, and reconnect with each of the three sons I had seen so many years before. With the baby, we did a long walk through the countryside. The fields of green and gentle rolling hills look so much like Vermont except here all the houses are in villages and not spread out like they are at home.

Yesterday, Wiltrud and I had the afternoon to revisit Marburg, the nearest big town. We walked up the cobblestone streets to see the local castle. Since my last visit here, an artist has left giant sized evidence of some of the Grimm Fairy Tales. Seven dwarves rest on a wall and a giant Cinderella shoe is just below the castle. I picked up a few souvenirs at the local shops and enjoyed having time for more conversation.

Today, Wiltrud and Lothar are back at work while I get my things ready for re-entry. Looking over the variety of items I’ve picked up in these last few weeks, I can see the variety of places I’ve visited. From shells from Thailand to German chocolate, my bag is a potpourri of an international tour. In these last few months, I’ve not only ridden in planes, trains, automobiles and bicycles, I’ve ridden on buses, tuk-tuks, scooters, taxis, vans, trams, a motorbike and subways. I’ve been on the water in a dugout canoe, a surfboard, a kayak, a canoe, a raft, a tour boat, a ferry and waded across a stream by elephant. I’ve flown through the air on a zip line, bounced in the back of an open pick up truck, and ridden elephants up a mountain path and down to a river.

I never did get into a hot air balloon. Better put that on the list for another adventure. Thanks for coming along on this one. It’s been an excellent ride.