Michael's Europe 2000 Tour - Week 6
Mon, 4-Sep-2000Today dad and I got up late to give Detlef and Annelie time to get ready for work and pack the kids off to school. By the time we finally were ready to get going we only had 10 minutes to get to the bus, and of course we went the wrong way initially... but madly dashing back we made it to the bus stop right on time. 5 minutes later the bus was still not there, so we double-checked the time, and discovered that Annelie had given us the wrong time - we must have just missed it!
After waiting for another hour and then discovering that the next bus wasn't due for yet another hour we finally rang Gerda, who came to pick us up shortly. Luckily we had decided against walking earlier on as it had started to rain quite heavily by now.
At Gerda's we had a very late breakfast and chatted for a while. I wandered around trying to remember the house from 18 years ago, but didn't remember too much. Outside I remembered more - we had driven through the township on the way and I recognised quite a lot.
Later on we got picked up by Annelie again who was on her way to Bonn, where we were headed to spend some time with Opa and Edith.
The first evening at Opa's went very nicely, with a walk to the Annerberger Bach, which is a little stream. It was paved over years ago, and just recently dug up again as an ecology and town beautification project.
After dinner I got quarters in the cellar, in the room which used to house the electric trainset. Opa's house I remembered quite well, even down to the cupboard in which the Scrabble set was kept!
Tue, 5-Sep-2000Today I got up in time for breakfast, which is at 9am sharp. From here I headed in to town with dad. He had promised to be back by early afternoon, but I stayed in the city till late, walking around and looking at the old buildings and stuff.
I also managed to find an internet cafe to check email and whatnot, and from there embarked on a quest to find a computer game I have been wanting for a while now. After traipsing all over town to every game shop I finally suceeded in finding a copy of X-Beyond the Frontier.
By the time I got back to Opa's it was dinnertime, so I was lucky! After dinner we washed up, and dad and Edith headed to bed quite early. I stayed up a bit longer chatting with Opa.
Wed, 6-Sep-2000After breakfast and washing up I tried to sort out some phone calls and ran into hassles with my phone card. I did eventually work out that the booklet had obsolete numbers in it, and after ringing support got the right numbers. But I also got the prices, and decided to wait until the next time I was in the city to make my phonecalls.
Instead I grabbed an atlas of Germany, and sat down to work out where all my friends live to see which ones I can visit.
After dinner I went to meet Ludger, and we spent an enjoyable evening in the local pubs talking about things. Well tanked I got home early in the morning, lucky I had been given a key back to the house.
Thu, 7-Sep-2000Breakfast today was a little late for me due to my late night last night, but I was still in time before everything got cleared away. Dad and I cleared the table and did the dishes, as usual.
Opa wanted to climb onto the Venusberg this morning, so we got ready. The Venusberg is a hill nearby on top of which a very nice set of bikeways have been established. The walk up went quite well despite the steepness, but once on the top we sat down on a bench and chatted for a little while before heading back down.
Once back we had to rush a little to make our lunchtime reservation at a restaurant to which Opa had invited us. Lunch was quite nice, and afterwards when we got back everybody had a nap. So I headed across the road to Dirk to do some work on his computer.
By the time I got back people were alive again, sitting outside in the late afternoon on the porch. Opa had a couple of clay pipes lying around which he had bought to make soap bubbles, so I of course had to try them out and achieved a certain amount of success.
For the evening we went to Helga and Stefanīs. For dinner we ordered heaps of chinese and totally stuffed ourselves, again. My waistline is definitely on the increase here!! I also had a chance to check my email and stuff here.
I drove again on the way home, and by now itīs working quite well, but a cop followed me for most of the way through all the little streets in the suburbs, so I was quite nervous that I would get pulled over. Iīm not sure that Iīm actually allowed to drive here with my australian drivers licence..
Fri, 8-Sep-2000A typical morning of breakfast, shower, and dishes was followed by a trip in to Bonn city with dad. We both had some things to do so separated, meaning to meet again later in a pub.
First off I chased a telephone shop for cheap phonecalls, and wrapped up some things and called some other people. From there I went on a very long sight-seeing trip around the inner city, taking pictures pretty much everywhere. I even walked across the Kennedy bridge.
Meeting dad wasnīt too much of a problem, a quick walk through the 3 squares in the inner city soon found the right pub. After a couple of drinks we headed to another pub for a late lunch and more drinks. Quite well pickled after the Weizenbier we split up again as dad wanted to get some more things done, and I wanted to check my email again.
Finding the internet cafe again was no problem, and soon enough I was tapping away at a terminal. Naturally I extended my online stay and ended up late for dinner back at Opaīs. But I still got something to munch on, and not long after I headed to bed for an early night.
Sat, 9-Sep-2000Today was the day of Opa and Edithīs rose wedding anniversary. So it was time to polish up and head out to the venue. The restaurant is situated very nicely looking out over parklands on the banks of the Rhine river.
I drove there with Opa and Edith, dad was coming behind with Arnulf, and uncle. Needless to say he was late, and in the meantime I got introduced to a lot of family some of which I had never met before.
The festivities went along quite well, with a great buffet lunch. I had a seat on the main table with Opa and Edith, but wandered about a fair bit taking lots of pictures of everybody. I also chatted to my cousins a fair bit, some of which I could remember marginally.
After lunch we had some speeches and presentations, as well as a couple of games. The first one had a group of guests competing to collect various articles, and each time one got eliminated from the game they got a task to do for the honored couple. I ended up having to send and easter basket of goodies to them next year.
After the festivities had drawn to a close two of my cousins decided to go out on the town and invited me along. One of them also chatted up a waitress who ended up saying she would come along as well.
I drove Dani and Basti home so they could get ready and from there we drove back to Opaīs place where we were to meet dad and Arnulf who had wanted to come into town as well. But they were nowhere to be seen, so we walked to the tram and went to a pub where we were to meet the waitress, Maij. She even turned up after we had polished off the first beer or two.
A very fun evening ensued, with lots of beer, playing Kickers (table-soccer), and chatting. After a while we decided to head to a disco so we could dance and stuff and got there shortly before midnight. Needless to say I missed the last tram around 1am, but that wasnīt really a problem because we stayed long enough so I could catch one of the first trams around 5am or so.
Sun, 10-Sep-2000I slept in very late despite dad sharing my cellar room last night. When I got up I had a bit of breakfast and took it easy for the morning.
In the afternoon I went over to Ludgerīs again, and the whole family embarked on a bike ride to Grafenwert, which is an island on the Rhine about 17km upriver. The ride took a while with the kids in tow but we werenīt in any particular rush to get there.
Once there we settled in a beer garden where we met up with some more of Ludgers friends as well as dad and Arnulf. The afternoon went very nicely, it was just the perfect day to sit in the sun and enjoy looking out over the river while sipping cold apple juice. I had decided I should be sober at least once a week!
On the way home we took a ship back downriver, decked out like the Enterprise from Star Trek. Unfortunately it was already mostly dark, otherwise I could have made lots of beautiful pictures on the way.
Once back in town we stopped at a chinese restaurant and had a late dinner. Over dinner Ludger was telling us stories of his travel adventures in the far east.
After dinner we headed home, dad and Arnulf taking a taxi, and Ludger and I on bikes. His family had headed home earlier.
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Last updated: 12-Sep-2000