Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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.

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