Wanderung 15

Volksmarching through Germany and a Cruise to get back.

September-November 2007

Prolog: "We dance, we sing, we are a happy folk!"

After shipping out to Spain in the spring (see Wanderung 14), we used the first part of our round trip tickets from Madrid to Hamburg (via Washington, D.C.!) to return home for the summer. My sister Lois cajoled us into the dancing, an entire week of English Country dancing at a rather rustic camp in West Virginia, where they definitely know how to do rustic right. So we stumbled our way through a week of morning, noon and afternoon dance classes followed by, of course, an evening dance. My sister was, of course, in her element, and we ended up having a good time despite the scorching heat and lack of newfangled geegaws like air conditioning, cell phones, computers, and the internet.

The singing consisted mainly of the summer recital for the studio of our voice teacher, Laurie. We had screwed our courage up to a sticking point to volunteer to sing a solo apiece rather than just watching our fellow students from the sidelines like a couple of introverted wallflowers. So I ended up singing "Don Quixote" from "The Man of La Manche" and Monika sang "As Long as He Needs Me" from "Oliver". Lois helped my performance enormously by hand sewing some authentic 18th Century clothes for me. She flew in a couple of hours before our performance and gave me an authentic Olde English Costume (fortunately she had guessed right and the knee breeches and waistcoat fit perfectly!). I borrowed Martin's katana sword and tied it around my waist with an authentic French Voyager's sash we had glommed onto when traveling in Ontario during Wanderung 2. The result was a mishmash of old French and English clothing with a Japanese sword, a veritable brawl of sartorial styles, but at least I was able to draw the sword and wave it around convincingly at the appropriate points in the song without cutting myself. I rather hoped the audience would not notice the inconsistencies of my costume but rather get a swashbuckling, devil-may-care impression which would complement the Crazy Old Coot theme of my song. Monika played it safe with a long black dress and no sword, not even a dagger, so we both made it through the recital intact.

But all too soon September rolled around, which was fine, but a city bus rolled into my car, which was not so fine. Thus the last week before we left for our return flight to Hamburg was spent driving the car around to body shops to get multiple estimates for the repairs and then haggling with the state insurance people over exactly what should be repaired. Plus, we spent a couple of days shaking down the apple trees in our front yard, which resulted in a rather spectacular shower of apples that we then had to wash and dry for storage or core and peel into bags of apple slices that we froze for future pies, cobblers, and so forth. By Friday morning my car was still in the shop waiting for an official state appraiser to take a look at it, and my refrigerator was overflowing with fresh and frozen apples. And I thought retirement would be a simpler life!

Betwixt and between these mundane but necessary tasks we still managed to pack and get ready for our flight to Germany. I was using a new "minimalist" strategy, which meant that I packed the minimal number of clothes that I thought I would really need and omitted packing any consumable items that I thought I could purchase in Germany. Monika and I also decided to isolate all the extra formal clothes required for the cruise back in a separate suitcase that would remain unopened until we embarked on the cruise itself. Since we could leave that suitcase with Heinke and Gustl in Hamburg, that meant that we only had to bother with one suitcase and two carry on bags for the automobile tour of Germany, which in turn made it feasible to travel with a smaller car with a smaller trunk, and for driving in Europe, trust me, a smaller car is a better car. We took a taxi out to Dulles Airport for our evening flight to Europe. Since we were flying British Airways we had a layover at their hub at Heathrow Airport, London, of course. The flight to London was seven hours, and on this trip I tried the strategy of getting to sleep as soon as possible to provide enough energy for staying up the next day in Hamburg. I was reasonably successful in dozing off during the night because the empty center seat allowed me to stretch out a bit. And so Wanderung 15 began. Copyright 2008 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt
Prolog Germany Map Cruise Map Epilog

September 2007
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November 2007
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