The Scottish Saltire

The Scottish Saltire

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walk, Don't Run

I've posted most of the pics from this past weekend so I guess I should do a blog entry to go along with them.

Nikki had Thursday afternoon free so she and I went shopping in Mannheim. We poked around the main shopping area in the middle of town for several hours and then ended up at an Irish pub called Murphy's Law for Irish coffee, beer and fish and chips. It was 9:30pm when we got home completely satisfied with our afternoon and evening. It was the first opportunity since I got here that she and I had had to go out, just the two of us, and catch up on some much needed 'Mom and me time'. We kept marveling at the fact that I'm not just here for a visit, that we will be able to do this whenever we want to!

When the kids were in elementary school at Ramstein Air Base I think I was the queen of the field trip moms. With three kids so close together in age their classes went to a lot of the same places, though usually not at the same time. My work schedule was very flexible so I chaperoned a lot of school trips. The kids and I still laugh about how many times I went to the dinosaur museum in Frankfurt and to the planetarium and Luisenpark in Mannheim. They each went once a year, but I would go 2, sometimes 3 times each year!
On Friday afternoon Nikki and I decided to take a little trip down memory lane. We went to Luisenpark. It was a gorgeous fall day and I had forgotten how beautiful it is there. We simply strolled through the park admiring the brilliant autumn colors. Down one path, over to another and back on another. We had packed sandwiches so we found a couple of chairs in the sunshine and were entertained by a couple of free roaming storks who were hoping for handouts while we ate our lunch. Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died after just a few pictures so I missed some beautiful shots but it was a wonderful afternoon. The Strassenbahn (streetcar) let us off and picked us up right outside the front gate of the park. This was such a different experience from my previous trips to Luisenpark. Very relaxing compared to my memories of herding a group of overly excited 7 or 8 or 9 year olds, trying to make sure that they all had fun but also that nobody fell into the water or took off from the group, never to be seen again!

On Saurday we met up with Nikki and Bert's friends Benjamin and Miriam for another afternoon of easy wandering through the wine fields. They brought their 6 week old baby who just enchanted us all. If you look at the pictures you'll see that Bert is pushing the carriage most of the time. He had such fun. And the baby was so cute!

As if we hadn't had enough walking, on Sunday the three of us set out again. This time to the Odenwald, a beautiful forested area just east of here. It was so peaceful and once again the changing colors of the season visually filled us to overflowing. Unexpectedly, we found an old Jewish cemetary within the forest. It was fenced to prevent intruders but up close we marveled at how old the grave markers appeared to be. Nikki could actually read a couple of the names written in Hebrew. I looked it up online the next day and found out that it was established in the 17th century! The cemetary has over 1000 graves and was still in use well into the early 1900's.

I haven't posted the pictures from Sunday's walk in the woods yet but I will soon. Walking is a national pastime here. It's what everyone, young and old, does to spend time outside together and enjoy the beautiful country in which they live. Because of that there are countless number of walking trails all over, all very accessible and very well maintained. I wasn't much of a walking enthusiast the last time I lived in Germany but this time I plan on wearing out some shoes!


Amy said...

Wow, that sounds lovely... and so much more wholesome than all those sitting and eating social activities Americans usually engage in. Not that it doesn't sound like Germans sit and eat a lot too (all Nik's posts about yummy yummy food...), but it's not all Germans do.

Also, hurray for the Puget Sound, where there are so many fanatical outdoorsy people...

Sarah said...

beautiful, beautiful pictures, Connie -- have fun!