Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday through Sunday

So we took it easy on Friday after we had arrived in Bayern. We stayed at Edi and Anita's home and just had a nice day. In the afternoon, Franz Herman Brand came up from Paßau. He is a gynecologist there. He came around 3pm and stayed until 11. We had a nice talk with him, he also spoke English, and that helped a bit. We had a typical German dinner of noodles and beef in a thin gravy, along with some cucumber salad. Of course, no meal is complete without a beer as well.

The next morning (Saturday) we had breakfast and then got in the car. There are 16 states in Germany (Staaten), and by the end of this trip I will have been in over half of them. We drove north east from Regensburg, through Bavaria, into Hessen and then into Niedersachsen. This state is known for its agriculture and looks very much like Wisconsin. However, at times it was hard to see anything since Edi got the Mercedes-Benz up to 220 km\hr!! The autobahn is either really fast or really slow, and there is plenty of roadwork going on. Along the way we had lunch at a roadside restaurant\gas station called Serway. They are all over. I had forgotten that one has to pay to use the toilets here in Europe, but since we also bought lunch we got a reimbusement for the toilet usage. We got back in the car and arrived at the Brand home around 3pm. Edi and Anita kept on going north to meet another friend for the night, so it was just Grandpa and I.

This is the Heinrich Brand family, brother of Franz Herman. He has a lovely wife, Eva, and 4 kids. Only 2 kids were home as the oldest daughter is in New Zealand and the youngest is in Hungary. The middle daughter, Josefine, speaks a little English as well as her Boyfriend, Michael. The son doesn't speak as much English but will speak slowly so I can understand him. There is a small festival going on in their small town (Wörfen) so we went there for dinner. Grandpa and I each had about 5 or 6 beers, they just kept putting them in front of us. We also had a fish sandwich for dinner because fish is typical for this part of Germany. We had a lot of fun at the festival and no one let us pay for anything.

This morning we woke up and had another typical German breakfast. I like the bread and cheese and cold cuts, but raw pork and 'ham salad' before noon just doesn't float my boat. Then we went with Heinrich to a political event. We didn't know it before, but this was going to be an all day meeting with the who's who of this small village. We met Franz Josef Holzenkamp, a congressman who is likely to become the minister of agriculture next week in their elections. I have a picture of us with him that I'll post later. Then Heinrich wanted to show me the back roads so we biked from the restaurant back to the village. I thought we might go hom, but no, we went to the festival again. I counted, and these people, all middle aged, had drunk 5 or 6 beers before 1 in the afternoon! We walked around the festival for a while, and then went to a local Biergarten. No, no more beer this time. We had coffee and some of the most delicious looking cakes I've ever seen. There was a raspberry torte, a mandarin orange torte and then I had a marzipan torte with something called Stocklebeern, not quite sure what that is in English, or if we even have it in the States.

Finally, I convinced them that I needed to head home to check my e-mail and get a Tylenol since I've got a pretty big headache going. I thing (fear) that we're going BACK to the festival for dinner tonight. Edi and Anita came back this afternoon and we leave tomorrow for Wittenburg.

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