July 30 and 31, 2010 Althengstett, Germany

Our last big event for the trip is a visit to our friends, the Hartmanns. John has checked on our route and has in mind the way we need to go. I dial up TomTom and hit the button for Althengstett, Germany. The route TomTom is taking appears not to agree with John’s. Well, maybe there is some road that we do not know about. So off we go and we get on the highway in the opposite direction of the way we took it yesterday. This seems weird to me. So as we are driving along, I look more closely at the route. Oh no! I’ve pushed the button for Althengstett but TomTom is taking us back to Chenonceaux! Meekly I tell John. He is sooooo nice about this. We will just get off at the next exit and go back. As it turns out the next exit is about 35 miles away. So we lose an hour. There’s still plenty of time to get to Althengstett by 5 PM. But not if there is a big accident and they close down the autobahn.


Maryam and Waldemar's house
Maryam and Waldemar’s house

It seems that there is a big accident with a truck and there are ambulances and helicopters and all the vehicles have to get off the autobahn and onto local roads. But wait, there’s this road! Yes, there’s a road and it is scenic and goes through the Black Forest and, long story short, we arrive at the Maryam and Waldemar’s an hour and a half late. I do not like being late.

Maryam and Waldemar
Maryam and Waldemar

But Maryam and Waldemar are so nice and it is okay that we are late. Maryam has made a wonderful dinner of goulash and fabulous sauerkraut. We sit down with their children, Lena and Isabel, have dinner and talk late into the night.

Lena
Lena

We have known Lena since she was a toddler and Isabel since she was a newborn. Now they are lovely young ladies who can speak to us in English. I can remember Isabel as a child handing me a book once to read to her and I couldn’t read it because it was in German! She probably wondered who the illiterate adult was!

Isabel
Isabel

I have to include a picture of their “hund,” Tessa. Tessa is getting pretty creaky these days. We remember when she was just a puppy.

Tessa
Tessa

Look at the picture of this breakfast! You would think that we were in a fancy restaurant but no, it is just the lovely breakfast that Maryam has prepared. She knows we love the pretzel rolls and I have a special one presented to me in the shape of a mouse.

Fabulous breakfast
Fabulous breakfast

Rolls and pretzels
Wow, is the bread good here!

We truck off on the S-bahn to Stuttgart for the afternoon. We walk through the big downtown park and to the art museum. It is such a nice museum. There is a new section to it since we were here last time. They have some great early Rennaisance art. We also visit a toy store which is packed with quality children’s toys. We get Nathan a model of a steam roller and Sam, a wooden steam shovel.

Toy store in Stuttgart
Toy store in Stuttgart

Maryam and Waldemar prepare a fabulous barbecue which includes beef, pork, lamb and sausage. It is so good. I love talking to them. Even though we are continents apart we have the same concerns – peace in the middle East, safety and happiness for our children, global warming. Once again we talk late into the night.

Armed with a bag of pretzels, we bid a fond farewell to our friends, head up to Frankfurt, stay over at the airport and fly home the next day. What a wonderful trip we’ve had.

Waldemar and John
Waldemar and John

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