Saturday, August 13
If the other day was a “walking day,” today was definitely a “bus day.” I counted and we took 8 separate bus rides today across 6 trips, all told. All part of the same 9-Euro-ticket!
Bus trip # 1 (2 separate rides) took us, with some confusion in the middle, to an appliance store on the other side of the downtown area from where my mom lives, and this is where we finally found what we were looking for for her birthday: a chargeable light-weight but high-tech vacuum cleaner. This had been my sister’s brilliant idea for a birthday present, and she had done all of the research, although finding the model she wanted us to get took quite a bit of finagling–yesterday, we couldn’t get to a store that had it, and one of these is only open M-F. But the bus took us directly to a store that was open, where they had this magic machine (a Miele Triflex H1x, if anyone wants to know), and then, when we got back (bus trip # 2, again 2 rides with a change in between), we managed to hide it away in our room before my mom even noticed.
Once we got back to my mom’s, we only had a few minutes before we had to return to the bus stop (now without a huge box with a vacuum cleaner in it) and go to the main train station (bus trip # 3) to the to pick up our friend Dorothee, who came from Hanover (a 1.5 hour train ride) just for the day to see us. We then all three got on a bus to the center of town (bus trip # 4), where we met my mom at a restaurant with lovely shady outdoor seating where we’ve been before (Alte Posthalterei). We had mediocre food (allegedly Bavarian, but not really very flavorful). Mark’s French fries and my mom’s baked goat cheese were the best of the meals we chose. But the ambiance and the conversation were great. It was again very warm and sunny today, and all our German friends described it as uncomfortably hot (I think the high was 90F / 30 C, while the high in Lincoln was 96F/36C, so we are *not* thinking of this as unbearable).
So once we got back to my mom’s (bus trip # 5), we stayed inside, where it was still nice and cool, since my mom strategically keeps the shades drawn and airs out the place at night. We had coffee and a very small piece of cheesecake and just sat and talked. And then the big reveal: we gave Imke the vacuum cleaner so we could start charging it and make sure she’d get used to using it a little bit. She was very excited. She has one of those “R2D2” vacuums that you need to drag behind you on wheels, and she totally hates it. But she said she would have never had the wherewithal to make a decision as to what kind of rechargeable vacuum cleaner she would want. So the fact that Judith did all the research on which one would work best, and that we got it for her, delighted her to no end.
Around 6:30, it was time for the next and last bus ride (bus trip # 6): Mark and I took Dorothee back to the train station and we saw her off–partly just so I would have a bit more time to talk to her about modern art and her most recent and upcoming trips (even with Covid, she is now traveling some, but not nearly as much as she normally would). Mark was super nice about all of this, even though I barely translated anything at all all day. Our conversations have just been just too fast-paced and sometimes too specialized! But once we had seen her safely boarded on her train, instead of yet another bus trip, we walked home from the train station, which always makes for a nice little 2-mile (or so) walk along the River Hase, through the old part of town, by several of the old churches, and under big shade trees along the former fortifications (the “Wall,” which is a rampart, not a wall). It was really nice, especially since we wouldn’t even have gotten to walk there at all on this visit.
When we got home, I set up dinner while Mark took a video of Imke engaging in her new hobby–using her new vacuum cleaner. We had bread and cold cuts, as usual, and then did some wrap-up work on our computers while my mom watched TV. It was a long day, and I hope I won’t dream of bus rides!