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Published: January 30th 2014
View from the Edelweiss parking lot. Sorry. I didn't have time to crop and tweak the photos this time.
We're still shaking off the combination of jet lag and weather differentials so forgive my brevity if this entry seems a bit skimpy with regard to verbosity.
We arrived in Germany at 6 in the morning, picked up our rental car. Arrived at our hostess's apartment about 8. I met Melanie in September when I came over to spend a week with Noah. We're both members of Couchsurfing.com which is basically a crash pad site for people who are not only tight with money but also like to meet and talk with the locals. Melanie is a sweet gal and makes the best cup of coffee to be found in Germany. Bar none.
We met Noah and his crew that night at a Wiesbaden Bistro called the Whiskey and Soda. Great bunch of people. Those who serve. So others don't have to. I swell with pride in their company as well I should. Karen hadn't seen Noah in 8 months. She couldn't have been happier.
The next day we headed north to Cologne for a short visit to see the magnificent cathedral there. Yes there are places on the autobahn where there is no speed limit but most
All the luggage one requires for a year on the road.
of the time you are restricted to 75 MPH. South of Ulm you have the run of the road. We got up to 125 MPH before my nerves and the Porsches looming in my rear view mirror got the best of me. We crossed the border into Belgium with a stop in Bastogne and Foy. Foy is the site of the 'Band of Brothers' episodes concerning the Battle of the Bulge. There is a memorial there to the men of Easy Company. The forest they took shelter in is still there as are the foxholes they occupied. It is a somber place, as still as a church. We drove on to Arlon and stopped for the night. The south of Belgium is primarily French speaking. We snagged a room at the Trulli Hotel around the corner from Liberte' Square. An American Sherman tank sits in the square with a grateful dedication from the city's citizens. Will we find places like this in Afghanistan or Iraq in 50 years?
We drove on the next day to Stuttgart to renew an old friendship with two German gentlemen named Claus and Ulf. We met them in Santorini, Greece during the salad days
What The Hell?
Airlines are now required to report on any U.S. citizen leaving the States. Where does this all end?
of our youth. They had both visited us at our home in Maryland and we had spent time with them in Stuttgart more than a few times. Wonderful guys who, like us, are getting a bit long in the tooth. We compared notes on Doctor visits and laughed. They hadn't seen Noah in 13 years. We went out to a Schwabish restaurant and dined on Duck, Pork, Beef and Pike. There was Deer on the menu but our plates were already quite full. The Schwabish are big on wild game. Ulf told me that restaurants like this one are disappearing as the German palate succumbs to McDonalds, Burger King and Subway sandwiches. There are Subway restaurants everywhere in Germany.
We headed south to Garmisch, briefly passing through Austria on our horseshoe shaped route. The Alps here are steep and craggy. Snow flocked conifers skirt the mountainsides and glaciers the tops. It is a stunning locale. Back in the 70's the Army R&R hotel was named the 'Gen. Patton Hotel'. A bit spartan but cheap and warm and you couldn't beat the location. Today the Patton has been replaced by the Edelweiss Resort. A huge affair modeled on the great
KJ and Noah. First look in 8 months.
National Park lodges. A beautiful building offering all the amenities one would expect. Rooms are $95 per night for active duty troops. Rates for military retirees re 50% higher. We had a balcony with a good view of the famous Zugspitz. Garmisch had not had any natural snowfall since December 23rd so we were expecting to ski the next day on the man-made stuff. When we woke the next morning we were greeted with 6 inches of fresh powder and fat, Bing Crosby White Christmas flakes fell straight down from a windless sky.
Germans have ski rental down to a science. You enter your height, weight and skiing ability into a computer which spits out a ticket. Take the ticket to the counter and your money will be collected and your gear adjusted and provided. The slopes are a thousand feet above the valley floor. You reach them via six person, carpet and enclosed cable cars. The only thing missing was Muzak. We had a great time schussing down the wide bunny slopes. Conga lines of ski school three year-old kinderen slalomed around us. It seems as if every resident of Bavaria skis and they start as young as
KJ, Noah and Bryan
Noah's best friend in Wiesbaden
they can walk. The people were friendly and accommodating. We ate a heavy Tyrolean lunch of currywurst and potatoes. Logs blazed in the fireplace. We slept like the dead that night. I'll write more about Germany when I have time to collect my thoughts. We've only been on the road for a week but it feels like a month.
We're in Heidelberg now. Heading to Morocco on Sunday. Now THAT should be interesting. Shoutouts to Jerry and Karen A and Jane and Brad and Bill and Kathy and Peggy. Thinking of you all.
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