Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where Rivers Divide

The Highland Bookies met at Sheryl's house last night to discuss Where Rivers Divide. We really met to discuss our lives and the lives of those around us, as we hadn't met for 4 months! I wonder if our kids think we just talk about them all the time? They consitute really no more than 50% of our conversation! Fortunately, our children are in good places today, and there was no weeping or wailing going on on their account. Where Rivers Divide was a well-crafted book about a boy growing up on a dude ranch in Wyoming. We all enjoyed the stories of him rounding up the horses and going on bear hunts. Some of us felt that the author should have ended the book earlier. It was autobiographical, and we thought he turned out to be a wandering, unhappy adult. Nora thought the little boy was worked too hard as a child, but Diane said that that was the way it was on a farm (or ranch). Everyone helped out and was given responsibility at a young age. Judging by the lackluster description of his life as an adult, perhaps the author really did have an abusive childhood!
The Bookies all joined Facebook (somewhat reluctantly) this summer. We barely know how it works, but have been sucked into the cyperspace whirpool by other friends who are more savy and are posting fun pictures of their families and vacations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Crystal at Bat

Can you see Crystal on the Jumbo-tron? She's pinch hitting for the Rockies. They really needed her Saturday night. They were down 6 to 3 in the 6th inning when they sent Crystal in (or maybe it was some guy named Stewart). Either way, the Rockies won 14 to 11, making our one and only live game of the summer an exciting evening. Ed got 3 tickets from work and another couple from work came with their son. Crystal, who loves watching sports, had a great time talking and screaming with Ed. I was totally entertained talking with Linda about our travels, scrapbooking, our children and so on. It was hard for us to talk sometimes, with all the excitement on the field. But, we worked through it, and had a great time as well. Here's a warning if you get the nachos at a Rockies game. GET A SPOON. It's more like chile with chips swimming in the bottom.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Royal Arch

Today Crystal and I went with Crystal's roommate, Bonnie to the People's Republic of Boulder, where we climbed to the Royal Arch. It was about a 3.5 mile round trip--half of it straight up. If hikes had a wind chill factor, I'd have to give this one at least a 2, making it really like a 7 mile hike, which we did (remarkably) in 1 hour each direction. One of us was older than the combined ages of both the others, and asked to stop and rest occasionally. I took my Nordic walking sticks for their first time "off road." I had only used them at the rec center classes previously. They worked great, and really helped on both the up-hill as well as the down hill portion. On the really rocky areas I had Crystal or Bonnie take a stick for me for a minute or so.
We were passed on the trail by some people who looked like Americans, but they spoke a very strange language. If we had been able to catch up with them we might have asked where they were from!
The view from the top was great, and the light breeze was refreshing. To celebrate we went to the Pearl Street Mall and had big, fat, juicy hamburgers in a side-walk cafe. I'm going to sit around and rest a while now while Ed to return from his trip to Alabama.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Goodby, Brittany and Amanda

Amanda and Brittany both went back to school yesterday, and it's pretty quiet around here. We miss them already. Crystal is so bored that she's poking me and torturing me. Who did she pick on when her sisters were still home? We felt sorry for Brittany, who had to pack her own car and drive all the way to Utah and unpack everything by herself. Amanda had 3 other helpers. We got a U-Haul and took it up to Greeley. She needed a bed, a desk, a dresser and her piano. We were able to unload it all quickly. She has a nice apartment, and we met Kathryn, one of her roommates. Her roommates are not LDS (yet), but they are consevative and very nice girls. I thought she'd have the bathroom to herself on Sunday morning, but Kathryn got up early to go to Catholic Mass. We had some family pictures taken on Friday. I hope they turned out nice. We had a good time posing, but we all came back with a rash of new mosquito bites. It was early evening, and near a stream, so you can imagine the feeding frenzy the mosquitoes went into when they found us!

Thursday night we had a Whistling Prairie gig at Highland Trail, a new senior housing place near us. They loved us! We were a little shaky, but we had picked songs they knew and loved. They were impressed that we had so much talent in our family. My favorite lady told me she thought I was one of the sisters! So we've established that they had bad eyesight and bad ears. No wonder we loved them (and vice versa)!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cabin Fever

I have to keep up with Barbara, who posted a very nice pictue of the family eating at Rachel's families cabin. I don't have a picture of everyone, but here is a representative of each family, Kate Brady, Brittany Bush and Barbara Stevens. They're all wrapped in blankets, sweaters and the warmth of family love. They were carrying on a rousing conversation. I started feeling left out, so I got up and took this picture. We had a little adventure driving to the cabin which involved something like Ed being right and Judy being wrong (with the directions). I wondered when the Stevens arrived even later than we did if their adventure was similar. No to put the blame on anyone, but David's instructions to drive past the Eldora ski area caused a little of the confusion. Either way, we got to see some lovely mountains and lots of beautiful, green pine trees on the way up.

Tonight we have a Whistling Prairie gig. We're doing Lonesome Pine, which we did two years ago with Barbara and Abby. We'll think of you as we sing it in really loud voices--Crystal's favorite vocal style. We're also doing Chattanooga Choo Choo, which Brittany told us Ed Melzer loved to sing when she played it. We're doing this with only about 3 practices. It's risky business!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Going Home

Thursday, August 06, 2009
Here's a picture of our castle hotel Schoenberg in Oberwesel. It's at the top of the hill. Fortunately, we can get most of the way by car. Unfortunately, we've walked the steps to our turrets quite a few times. I think it would be hard to be a princess!

Today was our last day in Germany! We like to call it our “Beach Day.” That’s the day we take it easy and go swimming in the ocean. But, as we have no ocean, and no swimming pool, we took a Rhine Cruise instead. We really relaxed. We sailed down the Rhine for two hours in the morning, and about 3 hours in the afternoon. The return trip was longer, as you’re going upstream. So, on the way to Brubach (from Oberwesel) we took lots of pictures and sat on the top of the ship. On the way home we sat inside and ate ice cream and played cards. It was fun and relaxing. We saw the Lorelei rock, where the ampitheater is in which Amanda sang in Aida last year. There were several very cute towns along the river. The loud speakers gave us information in German, English and Chinese.

When we got to Brubach we found a taxi to drive us to Dachsenhausen, the hometown of Johann, Peter Wagner (Durfee grandfather). It was only 7 kilometers up the road. The taxi driver was a nice lady who had a daughter in the USA. She spoke very good English. Brittany said it was her favorite taxi driver ever! I told her we were looking for Wagners in the cemetery. She said we’d come to the right place. There are LOTS of Wagners in Dacksenhausen. She was right. Wagner was to Dacksenhauser as Wiedemer was to Appenweier. We felt right at home. It felt good to know we were in the right place. It was a small village, probably about the same size as Brubach, the city on the Rhine. We only stayed in Dacksenhausen a few minutes, as we needed the same taxi driver to get us back to town to catch our boat. Brubach seemed quite deserted. We think everyone went to Italy on Holiday. We got some brats and sat on park benches eating brats and waiting for our ship to come back.

We ate dinner at our fancy castle hotel tonight. We even dressed up for it, which made us feel like we could have fit in with the wedding party next to us. They appeared to be American Military people stationed in Germany, along with their parents and a few friends. We also had a diner with a pigeon who walked right under our table. It was disconcerting.

It’s hard to believe the adventure is coming to an end. We’ve had a great time. We’re now ready to come home, take a leisurely bath, get some extra sleep and drink a lot of ice water. We can’t wait to talk to you all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Castle in the Sky

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tonight we are sleeping in our castle in the sky. Castle Schönberg is at the top of a hill overlooking the town of Oberwesel on the Rhine. This was the last big splurge for our trip. The rooms are really expensive, but they didn’t disappoint us. They are beautifully appointed and really cool. Ed and I are at the top of a turret. Our roof is slanted around the entire circumference. It is all done in cherry wood and very rich. The bathroom fixtures are all gold (color, not the mineral). We have a tiny balcony overlooking the Rhine River. It’s quite fabulous. The girls are at the top of the next tower over at a lower level than us. They don’t have an elevator like we do. We only had to climb two flights. They have to climb 4 flights to get to their room. We used the porter service to have our bags brought up this time! Tomorrow is our last day in Germany, so it’s nice to go out in style!

We left Appenweier this morning with fond memories. We felt at home there. We got to know the hotel staff a little after staying four days in the same place. We had lunch at Sue Patchell’s house. On the way there we stopped at Ohren, where Maria Margretha Laucs was born (or our best guess). We went to the cemetery and found a lot of Leukels, but no Laucs family. I talked with some ladies in the cemetery. There are always a lot of people watering and weeding the graves. And none of them ever speak English! They thought I should get in touch with their local historian. I told them we only had 15 minutes in town. So, they took my email address to give him. Ohren was having a 75 year jubilee this year, so I thought it was a young town, but one of the ladies said it was 750 years. Maybe they forgot the extra “0” on their sign. Ohren did not have an old church, but a new, modern one. We took a few pictures, just like we did in the villages in Denmark.

We had lunch with Sue Patchell, her husband Brett Hamilton, and the missionaries assigned to the English-speaking ward. We stayed for quite a while. Sue wanted us to convince her husband to join the church. We tried, but weren’t successful. I think we’d need a little more time. He was nice, though, and we had a good visit with them, as well as the missionaries. Sue went all out on the dinner. It was sweet and sour pork, some kind of paella dish, nachos and guacamole, and Pavlova for dinner, which is baked meringue with whipped cream and fruit on top of it. It was a real treat for us. They were listening to a Whistling Prairie CD when we got there, I guess to get in the mood for us! They had a nice house on a hill with a pretty view from the balcony. Brett was from a small town outside Havre, Montana. Sue grew up 22 miles from his town, but they met in Germany. They’ve been married 24 years now. He has a job teaching college classes to military people, but also sings professionally. That’s how they met. They were both in the same opera.

After lunch we hustled over to our castle. We’re pretty thrilled with it. We left it long enough to go down the hill for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we’re going to take a Rhine cruise to Braubach and back. That is the town Johan Peter Wagoner lived in. We’ll have a couple of hours there before we can catch the boat back to Oberwesel again. It’s great that we have a purpose to be there now? We’re going to look for the street where he lived (Dacksenhaouser).
Sorry about the late posting. The castle is great, but it's internet is spotty. Imagine that! This picture is a view of the girls' balcony from one of our windows.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Bushes at the Covered Bridge in Strasbourg France

Part of the entertainment on the trip is taking family pictures with my camera on my 5 inch tripod. We found a nice stone wall to set up the camera for this shot!

Flat Oma and Opa go to France

Look, Grandma and Ed joined us again on our boat tour in Strasbourg!

Breakfast with Karl Maier

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It’s hard to believe the adventure is coming to an end, although there are some in our party (everyone but me) that have noticed this is our longest trip ever. They haven’t gone so far as to say it’s too long, however!

We started out at breakfast with a visit from our new friend Karl Maier, the one who is not a doctor. He called the hotel to see if he could meet with us. We were very pleased, as Brittany had found the address of Joseph Wiedemer and his wife Barbara in the book we got last night. Karl Maier had written the book, so he helped us understand that the way they knew that they lived there, was they had inscribed their name on the beam on the outside of the house. Sadly, after WWII they tore down a lot of those old houses and replaced them with new and better, but less attractive ones. Karl is old enough to remember all these changes. After breakfast he drove us to the address on Bachstrasse (Brook street). It was a lovely location across from the stream. This picture is us in front of the new house. I speak German mostly with Karl, but he is going slower for me now, and when I get confused he tries to find some way of explaining things in English. We felt so well treated here in Appenweier. They really treated us like family.

Then, we went to France. It’s just about 10 miles to France. You don’t need a sticker and you don’t need to go through customs. It’s like driving to Wyoming or Utah, except you end up in a country that doesn’t speak your language. No one spoke English there, so I had to speak German to the shopkeepers. It felt strange using German in France, but it was very effective. We had a great boat ride on the Rhine River. It went around the old town, which was built on an island. We got to see all the major sights from the boat. They have a cathedral called Notre Dame, which was the tallest in Europe till about 1300. It was so large! We’d been in much smaller cathedrals on our trip through Germany. It was very impressive. One of its unique draws was a giant astrological clock. It was in a side room off the main cathedral. It’s so impressive that they close the cathedral every day for a couple of hours and charge admittance to a movie that explains the clock. We didn’t do that. They also closed the tower, which gave us a good excuse not to climb it. My knees have been saying “no more stairs, please” for a couple of days, anyway. We enjoyed some real French éclairs, then some ice cream, and last but not least we had some great cookies (including macaroons).

After walking the Old Town in Strasbourg we drove to the European Parliament building. It wasn’t in session, so there wasn’t a problem finding a parking spot. We went inside. It was almost deserted. I found a nice man and asked him if there was a souvenier shop. He said it was closed, but would I like some “documentation.” I acquiesced and he returned with a packet full of information, maps, some posters, and even a few notepads. We hit the jackpot! The girls enjoyed guessing which flags represented which countries as we drove back to Germany.

We stopped at the hotel and rested for an hour before dinner. I worked on my genealogy, and am happy to report that Ohren, where Maria Margaretha Laucs was born, is only 18 minutes from Sue Patchell’s house in Idstein. We’re going to Sue’s house for lunch tomorrow, so we’ll stop in Ohren on the way. Then, I find out that Johan Peter Wagner was born in Braubach, which is 45 minutes from our castle hotel tomorrow. We’ll stop there on Thursday. We found a street in that town named Dacksenhauser Strasse. That was listed as his hometown. I’m pretty excited about that. The third town, Erbelheim may refer to a section of Wiesbaden, called Erbenheim, but it is not on any river, and cloer to the Mainz, than the Rhine, so I don’t know if that would be the right place. So, the last two days we’ll do a little Jones hometown visiting. That will be fun.

We had pizza and spaghetti tonight made by a Turkish man in Germany. We’ve had all good food since we’ve been here. We sat outside on the sidewalk in Appenweier as we ate, and Ed watched the cars drive by, and commented on the styles and makes. It was a lovely end to a great day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What's in a Name?

Look - Judy's Mom has hit the big time with a chain of grocery stores in Germany! (If you have not guessed, her name is "Norma".)

In Search of Ed's Ancestors

Judy, an unknown assistant and Herr Maier looking through the 1834 church records in search of family history clues.

Schwarzwald (Black Forest) Bushes

Monday, August 3, 2009

What a day! We’re going to bed a little later today, as we just finished visiting with our “cousin” Hans Peter Wiedemer. He may very well not be related, but he came over and brought his genealogy and visited with us. He gave us a book—the history of Appenweier from 884 to 1984! It was his own personal book, but he thought maybe he could scare up a new one somewhere. It’s a real treasure. It has addresses of where people lived in it! We’re hoping to find at least one ancestral home. Brittany is in charge of poring through it tonight. She doesn’t read German, but she is really good with the ancestors. Hopefully, tomorrow we can visit at least one Wiedemer home.

It all started this morning when we went to the town Hall. A very handsome young Wiedemer, named Rahlf talked with us. I had emailed him several months ago. He reprimanded me for not emailing him back again after he told me he wasn’t related. He still had planned to get me in contact with a local historian. He said he’s not related to us, as he’s from Urloffen, 3 kilometers down the street! So, Rahlf sent us to Herr Maier, who was working at the parish office. Herr Maier and I spoke in German. I misunderstood him totally. I asked him if Doctor Maier was there, and I heard him tell me that his name was Maier, but that he was not Doctor Maier. So, I thought we were looking for a different man. What he really said, was I’m Herr Maier, but I’m not a Doctor! (Rahlf had misled us, by writing ‘Doctor’ on the paper.) He finally spoke in English to clarify things. We started laughing! We felt like saying “If you speak English, why are we suffering like this?” It turned out he really was uncomfortable with English, and kept slipping back to German.

The upshot, is they couldn’t believe we’d done all the research from records we had in the USA. He showed us the original church books, and we took a picture of the page with Ignatz’ birth record. It was very cool! Herr Maier and his co-workers kept touching the pages with their hands. Brittany said afterwards she expected them to use gloves! Not to be left out, we touched the pages, too. It was pretty sturdy paper! So, we eventually left for a day in the Black Forest. In the meantime, Herr Maier made a few phone calls and when we came back we had a message that Hans Peter Wiedemer would like to meet us. We ate dinner in the hotel (really great food), and he met us and had a few beers. His English wasn’t great, but it was workable. He told me that Herr Maier had told him that Frau Bush speaks German very well. We all laughed about that, since I’d had such a misunderstanding with Herr (not Doctor) Maier.

So, after that we went to the Black Forest. We went to the Vogtsbauernhof, which is an open air museum—a collection of farm buildings from around the area. They were from the early 1600’s to the mid 1800’s. It was interesting to see how the people lived. All the houses were built into hillsides, and the animals often lived upstairs. We wondered why the people didn’t want to live upstairs. They even pulled sleds and carriages into the house from the back (sort of like a garage). The roofs were mostly made of straw (rye, generally), which was about a foot thick. After that we rode the alpine slide (by which Crystal fulfilled a wish on her bucket list). They were a little fast for me. I was glad we only had time for once down the hill. They were on a track like a roller coaster, not like the concrete ones in the US.

Next, we visited Triberg Falls, the highest water falls in Germany. They were lovely, and surrounded by moss covered trees and boulders. It reminded us of Norway. We also have been enjoying nice, cool weather the past couple of days, just like Norway (without the rain). We’ve only had one really hot day since we’ve been here. Triberg Falls is in the middle of Cuckoo Clock Country. We saw the first biggest cuckoo clock in the world, then the second first biggest cuckoo clock in the world (someone built a bigger cuckoo clock!). We even had time to pick up a gnome for Crystal and a few souveniers for us. Brittany finally broke down and bought a few small items. It’s hard getting her to spend money.

Amanda picked a few raspberries at Triberg Falls, which she shared with me. They were sweet and soft. We drove home along a very scenic, but winding road. Germany has so many cute towns with flowers in every window. We enjoyed visiting with Hans Peter Wiedemer tonight. He’s the assistant Burgermeister (Mayor). That is a volunteer position. The Mayor is also a Wiedemer, but he is on holiday! We met the mayor of Nesselried, the small town our hotel is in. He (Nesselried Mayor) and his friends sang us a song called Schwarzwald Marie. It was very German and fun. Amanda sang an aria for Hans Peter Wiedemer. It was lovely, and he was amazed she could sing in German, but not speak German. Brittany didn’t play the piano for her, as the only piano in the hotel was badly out of tune. It was a very fun day.

Tomorrow to France!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Walk in Wine Country

Sunday, August 02, 2009

This is a picture Ed took on our afternoon walk. It was lovely walking through the vineyards with the castle view above us and the cozy valleys below!

We went for a beautiful walk this afternoon through the forest and vineyards surrounding Nesselried, the town our hotel is in. We ended at a castle called Schloss Staufenberg, which is about 1000 years old. The castle wasn’t open for indoor tours, but was hosting an outdoor festival with music and food. Germans are good bakers! The pies and cakes were a sight to behold! Unfortunately, we had just shared some cheesecake before starting our walk, so we didn’t feel like we should buy some more (although it was pretty tempting). They had music and drinking. We saw a bagpipe player, a local choral group, and a marching band. It was a very festive festival! The marching band was a private group with people from about 10 years old to adult. They were the Blue Dragons from Münster! We knew most of the songs they played. I think Germany plays a lot of the same music we listen to. Even in the Chinese restaurant last night we recognized all the songs. I felt solidarity with Grandma and Ed that they also had Chinese buffet yesterday. We also related to the bee story. We didn’t get caught in the car with a bee like Ed did, but we’ve shared almost every meal here with bees.

We attended church in Offenburg this morning. It was only 10 minutes from our hotel, but in a larger town. This was the smallest church we’ve ever attended. Besides us there were about 15 other people. The branch president made a point of letting us know that they’d be happy if we bore our testimonies, and that English would be fine. I wonder if they get sick of hearing the same people over and over again. About half of them had a working knowledge of English. One lady was Portuguese. Sadly, I understood more of her testimony than of the other German ones. I talked to here in Spanish, English, Portuguese and German afterwards. We all bore our testimonies. By the time I got up everyone had heard our story in English, so I bore my testimony in German. It wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed trying. The members were so friendly after Sacrament. We were considering leaving, but felt there was no graceful way to cut out early. They only had RS and Priesthood—no Sunday School. The Primary was 2 children, and there were no Young Men and Young Women. So, in RS, Amanda played the piano and Crystal said the opening prayer. Brittany answered most of the questions. (We had two women translating for us.) We all laughed when Brittany made a comment and the teacher said, “Das ist nicht Richtung!” (That’s wrong!) The translator said, it really was right, but maybe her translation was bad. That was good diplomacy!

One of the Elders at church was from the U of Utah. He’s a vocal music major and was interested in Amanda’s experiences with the opera. He wants to grow up to be like Amanda. There were 8 women in RS, including us, and 4 men in Priesthood, including Ed. When we left they all stayed for ward council.

So, went home, had lunch and went for our hike in the woods and vineyards. Amanda picked some wild blackberries, which were delicious. I was the only one who would try them with her. Everyone else thought it wasn’t natural to eat from bushes. It started to rain on the way home from the castle, but we were prepared with our umbrellas. We’re going to dry out now and finally get in that card game Crystal has been waiting for.
We enjoyed checking out Abby’s blog yesterday. I’m glad Verlene and Joan are reading mine, as well. Maybe they’ll drop me a comment. We enjoy getting Barbara and Mom’s comments. We’ll have easy internet access for the next several days. That’s been nice.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hot and Cold

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Here we’re standing in front of the Rheinfall. It was very refreshing. It has really heated up since then. We must have been in the 90’s by the time we reached Appenwier!

Crystal keeps asking when we’re going to play cards. It’s only 8:30 p.m., but we sure feel like going to bed. Writing in my blog is my best excuse to just sit and relax now. This is the first hotel that it looks like we’ll have good (free) access to the internet. It was free in Rothenburg, but we could only get it in a dark nook by the breakfast room. It was pretty inconvenient. Here the girls can get the internet real well in their bedroom. Ed and I have a third floor bedroom tonight, but tomorrow we’ll be moving to a different room (with a bigger bathroom). Hopefully, the internet access will be good there. The Hilton and Marriott both charged about $15 an hour for the internet. And that was within a 24 hour period. So, you could use it in any increments, but when 24 hours was up, the deal was over! We were able to use the business center for free at the Hilton after we lost 33 minutes. We were ready at the Marriott. That was why I updated the blog early yesterday—to make both updates within the 24 hour period. Germany is not quite up with the United States in internet access.

Last night we had another adventure in dining. The waitress was using some French with us. We were able to work with her better when she stuck to German. I even asked her about the bachelor party at the table next to us. Brittany even understood the word “heiraten” (wedding) from her work in family history. We’re starting to catch on to the food choices. We love schnitzel, but it seems like once every 4th day is about as often as you could (or should) eat it.

Today was Swiss day. I asked 3 people what year they were honoring. None of them knew. But, to be fair, none of them were really Swiss. They were from France, Scotland, etc. A lot of foreigners live in Switzerland. We got out of the country without having to pay a fine for being illegal aliens. I think I was supposed to buy a $27 dollar pass to enter Switzerland, but it never really came up. On the way to the Rheinfall (Europe’s largest water fall) this morning we had to go into Germany and back into Switzerland. Then, after the falls we left Switzerland again. Each time we were a little nervous. Just as the guard waved us on at the last border crossing, Ed stalled the car. (It’s a manual transmission). The guard was not amused. We thought it was extremely bad timing, but we escaped safely into the home country.

We enjoyed a lavish Marriott breakfast this morning. They even had smoothies, as well as every kind of bread and egg and meat and cereal. The grapefruit juice was almost as good as the Ruby Red served at Hotel Melzer in Salem. Brenda (GPS) took us easily to the Rheinfall, where we got a great parking spot. The falls aren’t really large, but they’re powerful and impressive looking. We walked all the way around them, which was up a couple of steep sets of stairs and over a bridge. We were happy to pay the ferry to take us back to the other side. They have a nice castle beside them that was completely scaffolded, and surrounded by the national bird of Switzerland—the construction crane! To look at the number of cranes in Switzerland you’d never believe there is a recession. Maybe they’re getting some of our TARP money!

So, we’re finally in Appenweier, the hometown of Ed’s Wiedemer family. We visited the town cemetery behind the church. The old gravestones are no longer there. The oldest people were generally born in the early 1900’s, with an occasionally 1880 or so. None of them were our direct descendants, but all the names were from our family tree! Wiedemer, Armbruster, Müller, Föll, Kornmeier, Grümer. It was like being in a German Fairview! We also checked out Urloffen and Zimmer, the adjacent towns. They had a sprinkling of our family names, but Appenweier was like the jackpot! We went to the churches in all three towns. They’re very beautiful and old, but they only have services about every 8 weeks at any one church. The priest must take turns. They seem to be used for Catholic as well as Evangelical services. That seems like a fair way to handle the problem of who the church really belongs to.

We went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Appenweier. We had the buffet, and it was great. The prices are lower now (12 Euros each) that we’re out of the big city. We even splurged and had sodas, now that they’re down to 2.8 Euros each.

We had a little excitement today when Brenda took us on a very narrow road in the forest. I wanted to turn back, but everyone else was loving it. We came very close to making a right turn onto a bike path, But, here we are safe in our hotel. Crystal entertained us in the car with a fun story about three girl gnomes with beards that bore a striking resemblance to the three Bush girls (in deeds, anyway). Crystal wants a gnome. Tomorrow we’re going to church in Offenburg, about 12 minutes from here. It will be in German. At least we’ll understand the order of events.

We enjoy hearing from you. It’s nice to know you’re reading. We’ll try to visit Abby’s blog when we get a little time to figure out how to read the sign-in instructions in German. I wonder if Verlene is reading the blog. We haven’t heard from her.