This morning we are going to visit some more people before we head out to Düsseldorf later this afternoon. After repacking our suitcases, Kaitlyn is left with lots of Reuchermänchen to send home. Onkel Heinz and I go to the post office during breakfast to get another box. We pack it up, eat breakfast, then go back to the post office only to realize they are closed until after 13:00. We return home, say good-bye to Sheppo, their dog, pack up the car and head to Ehrenfeld (by way of the post-office).
We take a tour around Ehrenfeld again. We drive past the house that kleine Trudy und Heinie (mom and Heinz) lived in before the war on Sömmeringstraße somewhere. We then park the car on Fröbelstraße across from their post-war home and walk a few blocks to Geller Werbung.
There, we meet Bernie, der Kölscher Kerl. While sampling some of his music, his daughter, Ute, comes by. Together, they are “the voice of Karnival” in Köln. She is eager to give us the latest CD, Colörado, from her new group Colör.
We have a brief visit with a friend of Mom’s since the ’50s. Anneliese has lived in the San Luis Obisbo area ever since then and has only recently moved back to Germany to be close to family. She understandably misses the US very much, especially her neighbors. It’s only been a few months, though; I’m sure it won’t be long before she feels right at home again. It made me think about myself, though. It has been 30 years since I’ve lived in Germany (except for 3 days in 1998), and after this trip I feel like I would have no problem living here again.
Nathalie u. Noelle
We now go to visit Nathalie at her house. It’s got a nice layout, just like Heinz u. Annemarie’s house, but instead of an excercise room and sauna in the cellar, they have a party room with a bar. And rather than offices, the second floor’s rooms are Noelle’s playrooms. :-)
We have a nice visit. Tante Annemarie joins us later. And soon, it’s time to say good-bye. :-( Onkel Heinz drives us to the Pulheim train station.
Our final little scare happens when I can’t find the Eurailpass. Yet as Heinz and I are about to shell out €18 for the 3 tickets at the counter, mom finds the pass in the outer pocket of my suitcase (yet again, it’s where it’s supposed to be, but I didn’t feel around well enough). We say good-bye at the platform and head off to Düsseldorf.
We have one stop in Köln on the way to Düsseldorf. It is rush hour and the platform gets crowded really fast, but when the train comes 10 minutes late, we still are able to find a seat easily. This is the last train we all ride together on the trip, and it is the only one that has come late. I seriously love the train reliability we’ve seen.
From Düsseldorf, we ride the Straßenbahn straight north to Kaiserswerth. Richard and Amelie are waiting for us at the stop. Kaiserswerth is a nice little town. It’s very old, yet has lots of yuppie influence. Except for the 17th century buildings, it reminds me a lot of Los Gatos, California.
They give us a tour of the town, we walk along the Rhein a bit, then eat at a nice Bier Garten. The food is good, and it’s great to meet with Richard. He unfortunately has to go to a conference the next day, so this is the only chance we have to spend time with him.
They let us stay in their guest house on the top floor of the apartment where they live. It’s awesome. The refrigerator is stocked for us and they have a special order of bread delivered every morning for us while we’re there.
Just before we settle into bed, Andrea just arrives. She spent the day driving all the way home from Paris, where she and Victoria, her daughter, were visiting some people.