From Edmonton Airport we were on a small express flight to Calgary. We then transferred to thankfully a larger plane enroute to Frankfurt. It would have been nice to have larger seat but the upgrade cost was almost $1000 more. We had to get Mom a wheelchair and have now set her up with assistance wherever we are in the airport. She was having trouble walking and the distance at the airports was not what she expected. With the assistance we were able to get on the plane first and seated before the rest of the crowd.
The car came to pick us up at Frankfurt, unfortunately the company sent a normal sized vehicle. We all managed to squish 3 people into the back seat and one in the front, with all our luggage in the trunk. Thank goodness we all fit and it was only a one-hour drive from Frankfurt airport to Hockenheim. Without a vehicle, we would have had to take a train from Frankfurt to Mannheim and transfer to another train to Hockenheim and then a taxi to the house; all after being on a plane for 9 hours.
It was family night and with no sleep on the plane we were all exhausted. Mom was in her glory and I don’t think she stopped talking for the two days we were there. Aunt Elisabeth and Uncle Hermann were very excited to see us. Lots of Hugs and kisses. My Uncle Fritz and his partner Ericka were there and their grandson Rene. Sylvia and her partner Guido (Rene’s mom) arrived. So much German language, kind of instant immersion. Elisabeth had made a beautiful Black Forest Torte and a Linzer Torte with cherries. It was so delicious. A little later she had a typical dinner of bread and deli meat. Bedtime was very early, I think we all passed out by 7:30 pm. Lots of snoring.
Sylvia and Guido volunteered to drive us to Heidelberg the next day. I understand why people take trains into the cities, too much traffic and parking is very expensive, plus of course, the cost of gas. We managed to find parking in the old city and then went shopping. Lots of little stores, quite a long walk to the castle. They have a funicular that takes you up the hill to the castle. Only a few minutes, but much easier than hiking up the stairs. From the castle you can also continue to Konigstuhl (the top of the hill) … translated as the King’s chair. We never made it there. There was an English tour to the inside, but the timing didn’t work well. Finally after two days in Germany we each had a beer. . The view from the balcony was amazing, overlooking the city built along the River (Rhine? Not sure). We did manage to see the Giant Beer Barrel. I’m not sure why they made one that size, but if it was full, it must of held a lot of beer for one HUGE party. We went back to the city for more shopping and went to a Cafe for afternoon coffee and cake.
In the meantime, Mom went with Elisabeth and Rene to an Asparagus Farm to buy some asparagus for dinner. They stopped at a place to get some flowers. Kind of like a you-pick for tulips. Although the spring weather is a little cooler this year than last year, the tulips and beautiful yellow daffodils are growing everywhere. Many of the trees are in full bloom; it’s just beautiful. She said she enjoyed her day a lot.
Once again, Elisabeth served a dinner of fresh white asparagus in cream sauce with a pork schnitzel and noodles. I wish we could get the white asparagus in Canada. It is only available once in a while, you’re lucky enough to get some. She was a wonderful hostess and we are grateful that she opened her home to us.
Sylvia helped to order a taxi to take us to the Mannheim train station, which turned out to be a much better option than taking the train from Hockenheim to Mannheim, changing trains with all of our luggage. In the morning, April 18, we are on our way to Gotha, about a 3 hr train ride. So far so good. Our hotel room awaits us. We are staying at the Gastehaus Luise in Gotha. So far they have been pretty good at communicating with us. We look forward to seeing this small city.