Friday May 23


After a late departure from Chicago and the usual long overseas flight, we arrived in Frankfurt a little after 11 am to rainy skies. We got train tickets for Osnabrueck, and opted for a slightly slower train (an IC over an ICE) because it meant we didn’t have to change trains with our three suitcases and three backpacks. The total train ride was about 4.5 hours, and Kai, who had slept least of us three on the plane was awake for most of it, reading the third book of the trip on the kindle. Mark and I took turns napping and watching the landscape fly by. This particular route goes along the Rhine for at least two hours, and we had a wonderful time watching out for castles, vineyards, and small Rhine towns nestled into the sides of the basalt river banks which make this region so good for grape growing. WE slowly drove out of the cloudy, stormy weather and the sun had come out by the time we reached Osnabrueck. We took the bus to my mom’s(the usual 20-minute ride) and walked our suitcases the 1500 feet or so to the house.

Imke was thrilled to see us, of course (we had no way of sending her any messages about our progress once we took off from Chicago). She made us a wonderful dinner–salad, soup, and German bread, plus fresh strawberries with ice cream for dessert; we toured her wonderful garden with her meadow full of marguerites and her lovely old apple trees, and while Kai finally crashed, we went for a little after-dinner walk to the cemetery where Hermann is buried–not in a traditional grave with a marker, but in a beautiful area of the cemetery with mature trees where degradable urns can be put in the ground in circles around the trees, and all that’s there are small brass plaques for each urn, affixed to the tree at eye level. It’s very peaceful and I completely understand why Hermann and Imke, who had talked about this many times, chose this part of the cemetery for the burial. Imke loves to come here, which is wonderful. After we returned home, Mark and I were truly tired and went to bed right after a much-needed shower.