I intend to keep writing about my visit to Germany, now that I have returned to Colorado, and I want to start with the following thoughts while they are fresh on my mind. It is hard to fathom how the weeks could speed by so swiftly, but I am grateful for all the gatherings with family and friends who welcomed me with open arms and made me feel very special.
Dear Papa and Regine, I owe you the greatest debt. Thank you for showing your support in so many ways. Your smiles greeted me at the airport upon my arrival, you graciously opened your home to my coming and going, adjusted your routines around mine, wined and dined me. You are a genius when it comes to electricity, Papa, and you made sure that my laptop and camera were in working order despite different current and voltage (I still don’t quite get your patient explanations). You chauffeured me to town and country, took me on walks at destinations of my choosing, and even lent me your car. Your scrumptious plum and apricot cakes filled the house with their delicious fragrance, and my mouth and tummy with culinary delights.
Regine, your loving touch makes this house a home daily and I will miss the beauty of your flower and herb garden and your artistic arrangements which appear everywhere as if placed by a magical hand. We never lacked flower bouquets. Thank you both for being there for me, through thick and thin.
My days at your rural paradise in France were among the nicest. Heike and Pascal, merci encore une fois (click here for a link about my visit). I wish I could have stayed longer, or returned there once again. I think of your home as the realization of your dreams which always has room to embrace others. Needless to say that the food was extraordinaire.
Renate and Egidio, I am so glad that I finally followed your invitation to visit you in Stuttgart. What a nice surprise when you picked me up at the train station, Egidio. Thank you both for sharing your cozy rooms with me, and many stories about the history of our family. You live near one of the most beautiful city parks where tall trees and bird chatter were much esteemed. Your personal tour of the city let me see some novel aspects of Stuttgart, Renate, and being in the swimming pool after weeks away felt really good. I can’t begin to list all the meals you prepared for me, and the succulent cakes and fruit bread, but I savored every bite.
And every swallow of espresso, latte macchiato, or cappuccino, lovingly prepared. I now know that love is to wake to an espresso served to the late riser by the early bird.
While visiting your parents in Stuttgart, Allegra, I appreciated you joining us for lunch before your trip, and you were as lively and chatty as ever. Tamara, Sven, and Chiara, I really enjoyed my hours at your house, the appetizing lunch, your piano serenade, Tamara, and your philosophy about life, our trip to Ludwigsburg to the Saturday market and castle, and the hikes to Max-Eyth See and the Württemberg. You opened my eyes to the verdant enclaves scattered all around the capital of your state, Baden-Württemberg. Not to mention to pomegranates which have become a staple on my daily menu since.
Even though our prearranged meeting in Stuttgart did not happen as planned, Susanne, owing to my misinterpretation of your instructions, and the fact that I am a dinosaur and do not own a cell phone, I am grateful that you and Bernd made additional time and invited me to your home. Thank you both for the all-too-brief afternoon into which we nonetheless packed two tasty meals and a walk through the vineyards in the beautiful light of a late fall afternoon.
Back in Rhineland-Palatinate, I was spoiled with more invitations to residences and restaurants. With regard to my favorite German tradition, the 4 PM culinary pause for Kaffee und Kuchen, I benefited from the baking skills of so many. I have already mentioned my dad’s extraordinary talent to create the world’s best yeast dough, and to decorate it with delectable fruit, but his were not the only ones to add pounds to my hips.
Thank you, Elke, Arnim, Marius, and Dani, for sharing an afternoon and evening with me, for cake and coffee, and the creamy pasta dish, cum fresh garden herbs, created in your kitchen (I forgot to take a picture), despite the temporary use of only one arm, Arnim. I hope your shoulder will continue to heal.
I also hope that your canine companion, Forrest, will experience his own healing. Your travel suggestions about my planned trip to England were very helpful, even if my plans ended up in the Channel, so to speak. You enlightened me with political insights into the red-hot political situation back here, and helped us bear the outcome of the elections with gallows humor.
Gisela and Siggi, I am glad that we were able to find time to get together, and that you have kept in touch throughout the years. One could not hope for better (former) neighbors. It was such a special touch to eat light and fluffy apple cake baked according to my mother’s recipe, and to keep relishing your homemade sweet raspberry-strawberry jam before I left. Despite life’s challenges you continue your caring and loving ministrations, and I wish you only the best.
Ingrid, you have known me and my family throughout mutual ups and downs. Your comfortable dining and living room have offered many pleasant hours, but also some sad remembrances.Your fruit-and-cream-topped waffles-in-lieu-of-cake, and your baked feta tasted as good as in my memory, even if I cut the tomatoes the wrong way-again! You never let me leave without sweet greetings.
Ute and Dieter, I am glad whenever we can get together to spend an evening, dine, and talk about travels and the state of the world. Thank you for inviting me to several meals, and for remaining interested in my life.
Thank you, Maritta, Michael, Melanie, Maike, Helma and Jürgen, for having me over for yummy cherry-chocolate cake, and for taking me out to the Flammkuchenhaus for dinner. It was a pleasure getting to see all of you on several occasions and to learn more about your lives. I am sorry that I didn’t take photos.
Marina, even though it’s never easy to wrestle time out of your busy schedule, somehow we manage to meet at least once. When I am back in your kitchen and dining room, it feels as though I had never left.
I enjoyed cooking together, and devouring your baked feta topped with heaping vegetables, sharing our woes and happy thoughts. Thank you also for your tokens of friendship. Your pretty souvenirs from Moscow remind us of you.
I am always reminded of the value of good neighbors when I am in Germany. My dad’s must be some of the best around. Little presents of cake, candles, candy, or wine get passed back and forth across a low wall between the two properties, and as night falls earlier and earlier, lanterns with lit candles spread a welcoming light. Trudy and Josef, I am thankful that you include me in your neighborly care, and invite me each time I am there. Your library is my envy, and you create the most appealing vegetable and cheese platters. I only regret that there was no room left in my stomach for chocolate pudding.
It is impossible not to have overlooked something or somebody, and I apologize in advance, but I hope what I forgot is only a fraction of what I remember. I already miss all of you, send you my love and good wishes, and look forward to seeing you again. Let me reiterate: Hilda, Mike, and I like company, and our house in Colorado has many rooms, so please come visit.
Click here for the German version/klicken Sie bitte hier für die deutsche Version: