While on our summer vacation in Germany, my parents and I took several day trips to explore nearby villages and towns, while Gregg was attending his training. Germany was beautiful! Our drive surrounded us with rolling green hills and fields which contributed to a feeling of spaciousness. Germany’s highways and cities seemed clean and unblemished compared to back home. And nestled into these rolling green hills and expansive fields are quirky, yet beautiful villages, towns and cities.
My parents and I took off in the rental car on a sunny July day and navigated the AutoBahn in order to visit the college town of Tübingen based on the recommendation of my mother’s friend. The winding cobblestone streets housing shops, restaurants, and cafes with the Neckar River serenely flowing through the center of the town led to a very enjoyable and visually adventurous afternoon. The city was lively and filled with a variety of people enjoying the pleasant sunny afternoon. We meandered up and down streets and alleyways taking in the sights while trying not to lose our way, which seemed to be a concern of my dad’s.
We decided to break for lunch at an Italian restaurant that had a view overlooking the river. The waiter opened the window at our table so we could see the river more clearly and feel the warm breeze. To our amazement, the window had no screen! In fact, nowhere in Germany could I find a window that had a screen! I guess bugs are an American invention? In our hotel in Ludwigsburg, we slept with the screenless windows open every night and did not get bothered by a mosquito or fly! I find this to be amazing!
We watched passengers take lazy gondola rides up and down the Neckar River as we sipped our Pilsners and feasted on freshly made pasta. The waiter was a friendly man who spoke Italian, German and some English and attempted to give us directions to the local Weinerwald. My parents had frequented their local Weinerwald when they lived in Erlangen in 1968 & 1969, and wanted to visit one again, if one could be found, and after asking many different people while we were in Erlangen and getting no results, they had about given up and thought that the restaurant chain had gone out of business. But on a whim they asked our gray haired Italian speaking waiter if he ever heard of Weinerwald and he said yes! They were very excited and a stop at the local Weinerwald was put next on our list! Unfortunately, Weinerwald stayed an elusive place destined to remain a distant memory from the past because we were unable to locate it.
We ended up taking a scenic route, avoiding the Autobahn, back to our hotel.
I learned a lot about my parents on this trip, about their life together before they had children, how their memories of the same time and space could be so different at times, and about who they were as people 44 years prior. It was a day filled with laughter, reminiscing, and the creation of new memories. It was a day well spent.