My daughter, Beth and her family live in Munster and I can’t wait to see them, especially my granddaughters, Anika and Sabina.
I plan to be in Germany for 5 weeks and during that time to do some traveling in Germany and Italy. I will attempt to post a travel journal and photos. I’ll only have my tablet computer and not sure how it will be posting to this website. I will also be posting photos of my experienced on FaceBook.
I lived in Germany 70 years ago as a military dependent in Idar Oberstein. My father was part of the Allied Occupation of Germany after WWII.
LONG DAY AT THE START
Up early on Saturday for airport van pickup at 5 am. Pleasant ride to the airport and wait until 9 am to get my COVID test (required for entry into Germany). Hung around the airport until departure time at 3:50 pm. Long flight to Iceland, arriving on Sunday morning about 5:30. Departure from plane on old-fashioned rollup stairs, bus ride to the terminal. Windy and cold.
Arrival in Stockholm and departure: Changed planes to Stockholm, a larger and more comfortable plane. Same routine to board the plane with rollup steps. Comfortable ride to Stockholm and same deplaning and boarding in the wind and rain. Flight to Dusseldorf was uncomfortable and noisy, reminded me of flying on a C-141. Good news – it got to Dusseldorf. The kids met me at the airport and we drove to Munster. Great to see them, and to finally be here. Slept well and have adjusted to jetlag pretty well.
Up on Monday to see the girls off to school and later took a walk around the old town area. I was looking for a bank to exchange money and discovered that most banks don’t do currency exchange. Managed to find and ATM and get some Euros. Walked to the Prinzipal Market for a sweet roll and coffee. More of a walk than I’d anticipated, but a good adventure. Afternoon hanging out with the kids and working on updating my travel journal and photos.
Tuesday, Oct 5th.
Up early (6:30) with the girls getting ready for school. Each school day, they get up on their own, fix breakfast and their lunches and are off to school a 7:45. Some school days go until noon and others mid-afternoon, depending on their class schedule and extra activities and classes. They carry a heavy load for 5th and 8th graders. Anika has three languages, German, Latin, and French. Sabina is in German and English.
Today, I plan another excursion into a different part of town, probably along the promenade and the lake. I’m having trouble with weakness and it’s hard to go very far. Need to work that out some before we head on our trip to Italy.
Took a walk to lake Aasee. It was littered from the college kids start-of-school parties the last couple of days. Great view. Weather is cool and rainy, but comfortable. I found a statue of a man and some angels/cherubs without any markings and with Beth’s help found out it is St. Nepomuk of Prague. Protector from floods and drowning. Interesting to find a statue of a Polish saint in Munster.
We did some planning for our trip to Italy, leaving on Saturday. Total it’s about a 16 hour drive and we’ll stop along the way to visit Florian’s Dad and Oliver, and to see the Austrian alps. It looks like it will be great fun. I just hope I can keep up with everyone to see the sights. Anika wants to meet the Pope, but we told her that was not likely, and she wanted to find someone who speaks Latin. For that I told her just find a priest.
Florian fixed up a bicycle for me and I need to get out and practice as my balance is not good. The number of bicycles on the promenade and streets is amazing. Beth and I plan to take a riding tour of the old town. They have antique car replicas that do traveling tours. Looks interesting and good way to see the sights. Walking is confusing to a non-resident as the streets wind around between the old neighborhoods and buildings. Dinner tomorrow night with some of the kid’s German friends.
Wed, Oct 6
Up to see the girls off for school and later in the morning went with Beth to the bank to exchange money. We had to deposit my $ into Beth’s account and get the € from an ATM. Bank tellers here don’t have a ‘cash drawer’ everything is done through bank accounts.
We went to the farmer’s market at St. Paulus Dom (St. Paul’s Cathedral). It was a great selection of all kinds of food, from fresh fish and meats to vegetables and fruits, and a coffee shop. The market is set up on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the courtyard around the cathedral. It’s cool, rainy, and windy today. People not wearing masks outside, but put the on to business transactions. I was tired from the walk and spent the afternoon resting before dinner tonight.
Dinner with friends, Dirk and Maya and their daughters, Johanne and Lilya. The daughters have been Anika and Sabina’s classmates for most of the time they’ve been in Germany and are the same ages. Had a nice dinner of local-style foods in a local restaurant. So far in my travels the only places I’ve been asked to how my Covid Immunization card was in a coffee shop and restaurants. Walking is getting some better, I’ve been using my walking stick when I’m experiencing bad balance. Not brave enough to tackle the bicycle out in traffic just yet. I downloaded the aps for the Scooter Rentals and my give that method a try. There’s no Uber of Lyft here (they’re not unionized and the German government won’t let them operate.
Thursday, Oct 7
Hard night last night with leg cramps that kept me up all night, Can’t figure out the cause other than I’m anemic. I do know alcohol aggravates it, so I’ve been limiting my consumption (still manage to sneak one it regularly.
Took a walk to the south on the Promenade to find a pharmacy, wandered around St. Ludgeri’s church. He was the first bishop of Müenster in the 8th century. Also found a nice café for a snack and coffee. Each time I go into a café they ask for my Covid vaccination record. Masks are worn inside shops and restaurants.
In the late afternoon we met some friends for dinner. The couple are originally from Poland and have a 3 year old daughter whom Anika baby-sits once a week. Katie, Kuba and Tesia moved here in 2015 after living in a variety of other countries. Katie works for the university with international students, that’s how she and Beth met. Beth and the girls also lived in their apartment for several months when they were on child-leave.
It’s been interesting to meet the kids’ friends. Dirk and Maya are both from this part of Germany and have family close, although in previous generations their ancestors were part of the forced migration from Eastern Europe that took place in different centuries. Her ancestors were part of the serf/manor society and were forced to migrate when that society collapsed. Maya is the curator of the Horse museum in Munster and offered free admission to visit the museum. Add to my ‘to see’ list while I’m here. I’ll not be posting photos of our dinners as it’s not acceptable custom to post photos of other people’s children.
Friday, Oct 8
Quiet day around the house getting ready for our trip to Italy. We’ll go on Saturday to see Florian’s dad and brother and the proceed south to Venice. I’ve still not completely adjusted to the time change and have to nap during the day when my internal clock says it’s the middle of the night.
A friend in Lakewood has an artist friend, Ekkehard Neumann, in Munster and I connected with him on FaceBook. He has a studio but I couldn’t figure out when it’s open. It’ll be interesting if we’re about to connect in person.
I wanted to take a tour of St. Paul’s cathedral but their tours other than groups have been suspended due to Corona. I think I can still go into the church and wander around – another to add to my ‘to see’ list. I also need to find out about the tower tour in St. Lambert’s church.
Looking forward to the trip to Italy and will take a break from updating this journal as I’ll not haul my laptop around. I will post photos on FaceBook while we travel.
A visit with family for some serious granddaughter time