Monday, July 26, 2010


Mario, Maria and Michael


This was a odd stop on the trip. A very long day of travel with a 30 minute each way detour to deliver some Excedrin and Hot Sauce. There is a website for English speaking Expats in Germany called ToyTown. I spent quite a bit of time on it in preparation for the trip. I learned all about the Sunday closures, lack of credit cards, short shopping hours and where to find grocery stores and Wal-Mart type stores. On a whim I posted if anyone needed me to bring them something from Dallas. I know there are still things I can only get back in my old home area of New England, (diamond crystal salt, correct hot dog rolls, I was sure there might be things people missed) One guy, Mario asked for some Excedrin Migraine, Imodium and a specific Tapatio sauce. I didn't expect someone to respond, but hey why not. Let's meet some locals. We made our way to Mario's house. We had to park the camper at local park as it wouldn't fit in Mario's driveway. He had to meet us and shuttle us up the hill in a couple of trips in his tiny car. There we met Mario, his wife Maria and their adorable 2 year old son Michael. We were expecting a quick hi perhaps a piece of cake. Nope, Maria had a spread to die for. Homemade bread, sausages, pasta, salad, cheesecake...the works. We were so grateful. Such a nice couple. Mario was born in Mexico City and moved to the US when he was 16. In Miami he met Maria, who was on vacation from Germany. She had moved Germany from Poland when she was a teenager. The met, fell in love and moved back to Germany. We learned all about the true life of an expat. The challenges of becoming fluent in German so you can get a job. Learning the quirks of your new country. Like having to sweep your sidewalk on a certain day. Having your neighbors monitor you trash to make sure you are recycling properly. They'll turn you in for a fine if they find an error. Everything is silent after 10PM. German's are very direct and don't hesitate to tell you what they think. Mario said they went to a local festival and got chewed by a random German woman because their sun didn't have a hat on . She was worried he's get burned. Michael was fine, he was blessed with melanin.

We stayed for 2 hours chatting and eating, it was such a nice stop. This meant we had to skip Stuttgart and hustle to the next site. This part of the trip wasn't nearly as scripted. Originally I had wanted to head over the French border to do some genealogy research on my great great grandfather from Alsace. However in the year preceding I could never pin down the right town. Without this info we had to skip it. We read about a small museum in Luxembourg that was supposed to be a treasure trove of WWII memorabilia. It's in a small city of Diekirch. We found a campground nearby and headed that way. We were traversing the Mosel river valley and fighting the pending darkness. Luckily sunset wasn't till after 9PM this far north. The hills and valleys were awe inspiring. Our WWII troops really had their hands full making their way through this terrain. The tiny road up many switchbacks and harrowing cliffs to the campsite was a white knuckle ride. We were all very quiet as I guided Frederick along with the GPS, pointing out every bend in the road before he hit it. Remember the camper is a 6 speed manual transmission. Uphill, downhill, around the corner. But our excellent driver never panicked and we made it safely. The campground at Diekirch was a hoot. We got there kind of late and reception was in a bar. There were loads of rowdy Dutch playing bingo and doing the chicken dance in Dutch. We opted for the restaurant for dinner. Our waiter from Poland was so engaging, it made up for the very poor bisteak we ate that night. This was a campground with an indoor pool and a whole resort. It was really overkill for the night. These people were there for the duration.

We were too late to get the wifi code, but they had a computer you could use with one of their money loaded keys. The only hitch...a German keyboard. Where the hell is the @. I had to google email, search for that symbol and copy and pasted it to log into a website with my email address. Some of the letters are in in the wrong place...if you are touch typist, you will be cursing soon.

Next stop Luxembourg National Military Museum and Bastogne History Museum

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