Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Trip Home, Part Drei

Our last day there, the day we flew out, we started at Kaethe Wohlfahrt; I needed to pick up an ornament for my mother. We headed to Mackebach next. Coincidentally, Don and I both lived there while we were stationed over there. We stopped at the grocery store first to do our last-minute shopping. I still needed coffee and Kinder Eggs. If you’ve never had European coffee, it’s the best. And, German coffee is one of the best of those. Kinder Eggs, are little eggs made out chocolate – about the size of Cadbury Cream Eggs – that are hollowed out and have little toys inside them. Many of the toys you have to put together, which is the really cool part. It’s amazing how much stuff you can fit in a tiny chocolate egg! Addison and Brennan have had them before and asked me to bring them back some. I figured I better get some for Lauren, too. Not that Brennan and Lauren can eat them, but remember: It’s not about the chocolate; it’s about the toy inside!

So, I strolled through the store, first stopping for coffee. I initially picked up 5 bricks, but at about $6/brick, I figured that was a lot, so I put a grand total of one back. Hey, I’m only willing to sacrifice so much! Then, on my way to the candy aisle, I went down the sauce aisle. Yep. I’m all about the pre-made schnitzel sauce! The only complicating factor is that the ingredients are in German, so I couldn’t guarantee they didn’t have milk products in them and be safe for Brennan, but I was reasonably confident, figuring I could always translate via Google, so I pulled a couple of packets. Finally…on to Kinder Eggs. I pulled nine and went to check out. Now, since it was our last day, I had used up most of my cash; I was hoping to use a credit card here…But no luck. I was frustrated but not that surprised. In many ways, German culture is a good 40-50 years behind us. This was a good example: Using credit cards everywhere just isn’t the German way. So after embarrassing myself, Don offered up his remaining cash, and I brought back only half the coffee I had intended to.

Our last item of business before lunch and a drive back to the airport was to stop at Don's landlords' house in Mackenbach. Don's wife insisted that he stop by, but Don was afraid after so many years that they might not remember him, or like being dropped in on. Well, he was wrong -- way wrong! They opened the door, immediately recognized him, gave him a bear hug, and invited us in. We talked for a little bit, then their youngest daughter came in, now a college student; she had been Don's babysitter when they lived there. I mentioned how I used to live in Mackenbach as well, and in fact, lived just a few blocks away. When I told them which house I lived in, they said, "Ah, Frau Mayer's house!" Frau Mayer was my landlady. We both had digital pictures of the family handy, so Don left some for his landlords to keep, and they offered to tell Frau Mayer I said hello and take a family picture of us! Then they offered us coffee (Wow! Starbucks got nuttin' on German coffee!!) and offered to take us out to lunch! We tried to decline politely, because we really didn't want to impose on them, but they absolutely insisted. In fact, when they couldn't find a single restaurant open (not that unusual in Germany), they just made lunch for us. This was one amazing couple! I can see why Don's wife was insistent! After lunch, I took some pictures for Don, and we left for the airport. What a great way to end our trip to Germany!

I started this blog post with the title, A Trip Home. For me, it really has been -- and for Don, too, I'd say. I’m fascinated by Germany because of its history and culture, and because my ancestors emigrated from there (and by its good food – have I mentioned that yet?). Couple that with going back to the 1st and a trip down memory lane, and – even without any real “sightseeing” – you’ve got one of the best trips ever!

1 comment:

  1. Wow -- that really was a quick trip -- but it sounds like so much fun! :) Nelson has really enjoyed his Kinder eggs (his friend Rachel sends them to him). I wasn't a coffee drinker when I was in Germany, but I still miss the chocolate -- and the other brands of hazelnut chocolate spread (don't get me wrong - Nutella is good - but I liked Nusspli better when I was there!) :)
    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!