It's 10:30pm and the sun has just set (which is pretty awesome, i have to say) I'm sitting in the giant open window sill overlooking the hotel's tiny but quaint biergarten, next to a stunning 1000 year old stone church. It's silent outside, save for a few crickets and the occasional Car on the autobahn in the distance...
Side note: In Germany the cars deserve a capital C. I've seen nothing but BMWs, Audis, VWs and Porsches, not to mention more than 1 Lamborghini and Lotus. The Germans don't know how to drive inferior cars. While our rental Infiniti is a luxurious fully loaded diesel, we hadn't planned on coming to Germany to drive a Japanese car. Guess we'll save the Fahrvergnügen for when we return home to the S4...
...But back to my current perch above the biergarten in the window of our room at the Hotel Alte-Abtie (old abbey) in this tiny town in the middle of the Palatinate countryside. It's peaceful and the air is cool and fresher than I could ever have imagined.
I thought I was ready to pass out and rid myself of the last remnants of jetlag, but this second wind compels me to record the day instead.
This morning Klaus and Bruni escorted us to Thallichtenberg Castle--the largest castle "ruins" in Germany.
A spin through the on-site musicians museum followed by weizen at the outdoor cafe and a big lunch in the castle restaurant with a few dozen other Weichels and a hound or two...
Sidenote: I was surprised to discover that the hunting dogs go everywhere. And I mean everywhere. The museum, the 4 star restaurant; you name it. They are trained like no other dogs I've seen. It's remarkable really.
...Full of beer and schnitzel we headed to Roland's brother's hunting grounds. After the ceremonial horn song the 3 hounds were raring to go and we began our trek en masse. Our big group of Weichels spent the afternoon wandering through some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever laid eyes on. The fresh wind on the hilltops, the bright afternoon sun and the leisurely tour through the hills and fields was simply magical.
Admittedly all that magic was starting to make me awfully sleepy by the time we arrived at the emigration museum for more beer (IN the museum, no less, along with the dogs!) and a quick tour to learn more about why and how Nicolaus Weichel left Germany for America in the 1700s.
After that it was off to the official Weichel Society meeting where Ben, Andy's cousin, participated in the election as a proxy for Uncle Craig (which pretty much entailed raising his hand to vote when told by Klaus--it was a landslide).
More beer and more grilled meats followed as we relaxed in the little alpine lodge, cozy before the fire, getting to know our new/old friends/family. Johann became our unofficial translator for everything as Klaus and Roland seemed to have their hands full with official duties (and beer).
And now I find myself sleepy and full and ready to crash while the rest of the family closes the tiny old bar downstairs with a game of Haus and doubtless more beer and schnapps.
FYI my German pronunciation is atrocious. I can barely remember and pronounce even the basics. I'm THIS close to breaking out the Spanish.