Sunday, September 14, 2008

Best trip report from Chris! Amazing!

"I am in the town of Nordlingen, taking a rest day. It is in the foothills of Bavaria, and i will be in the Alps in a few days. In the last two weeks i have been in Germany, taking the scenic route which will mean i will be in Italy less, but it is impossible to pass up the opportunities here.

I spent a few days in Meckenheim, home to the large majority of my German relatives. Within an hour of my arrival i was eating bratwurst and potatoes with my cousin Claus, and was drunk shortly thereafter (i had not had a beer in over a month). I attended the wedding of my cousin Cathy, with a wonderful reception in the tower of the fortress wall of the old town of Rheinback. I also visited my uncle Wolfgang who is in hospice care after suffering a stroke earlier this year. This was very emotional as he looks very much like my father, and holding his hand in his hospital room was all very similar to the experiences i had with the last days with my dad. But it was very meaningful to be there as part of the importance of this trip was to be with family that could not make it to my father's funeral.

I left Meckenheim and started biking down the Rheine, quite the experience. There is a bike path for the entire 150 miles or so, and there are castles everywhere. Every twenty kilometers or so I would come across a picturesque town of cobblestone streets, churches, cafe's, and my favorite - bakeries. I stayed off sweets for a few months in preparation for the trip, but my diet is out of control with this much exercise and i have come to view the shimmering glaze of an apple strudle as a beacon of hope in my european adventure.

I then started down the Neckar river, and came across Heidelberg, a very impressive city with an old bridge crossing the river to a gate that enters the city, and of course, a huge castle in the hills above. I have found myself wandering around these places in a daze, just blown away by the sights of these cities. If it weren't for all the new model audi's and BMW's you would swear you had gone back in time a full century. Now i am on the famous Romatische Strasse (romantic street), and again, the bike paths wind you through orchards and vineyards, and about three times a day you come through another ridiculously charming old world city. The town I am in currently, has a complete fortress wall around it, complete with towers and a moat.

I have two weeks to go and am feeling really strong on the bike. I am biking even more that I thought I would be able, but i have not been taking the direct route at all so I will most likely have to get the full Italian experience another time, and it may have worked out for the best as my flight is out of Milan in the north vs. Naples before i rescheduled. Love to everyone, I can't say i am in a rush to come home but i do miss everyone - Chris."


Tiercy said...

Wow! wow! Wow! He makes it sound so enticing! Wow!