Getting reacquainted with the Vaterland
After 30 months, it was finally time to head back to the Atlanta airport and head across the pond to the Fatherland (Vaterland). Everything went smoothly, including checking in, dropping off baggage, security, and walking to the departure gate. The plane was completely full, but the boarding process was smooth.
The landing in Frankfurt felt almost routine: deplaning, walking through the terminal to the passport control, waiting in line, getting through after answering how long I was going to be in the country, finding the bathroom so I could brush my teeth. The only hiccup was waiting longer than usual for luggage to be unloaded, which I had heard was a common problem. I was still able to retrieve my bag, take the people mover from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, get my train ticket validated, grab some water and snacks for the train trip and make it to the rail station in plenty of time.
The rail trip from the Frankfurt Airport station to Neuendettelsau took from 10:10AM until 1:15PM and I had to change trains in Nürnberg and Wicklesgreuth (you always have to change there to catch the little train line to Neuendettelsau). Masks are still required in the trains, but not on the overnight flight. As expected, the weather has been cloudy and rainy the entire time so far, but no one here is complaining because of the extreme heat and drought conditions from the summer. The train ride from Frankfurt to Nürnberg was beautiful despite the weather. In fact, the clouds and mist in the hilly area called the Spessart east of Frankfurt was almost magical as we wound our we among the forest along the Main River. As we got closer to Würzburg the hillsides started to be covered with vineyards. We then angled southeast towards Nürnberg and passed through many picturesque villages, farm land, and forests common to this part of Franconia. It felt a bit like coming home as the train slowed near the main train station in Nürnberg. I had to scurry from track 9 to track 18, as I only had 8 minutes to make my connection. The rest of the route is one I have taken so many times, and I made it to Neuendettelsau around 1:15PM. There were lots of kids at the station in Wicklesgreuth, since schools generally are done around that time for the day. Rudolf picked me up.
Ruth had a fantastic lunch waiting when we got there, and the conversation flowed freely. I did manage to work in a short nap and unpack a few things in the afternoon, and we had a plum cake and coffee around 4PM. Wednesday evening we were invited for a birthday dinner for an acquaintance, and we had a fantastic dinner and got back home around 10:30PM.
Rudolf got breakfast rolls from the bakery and we went to Besenbeck supermarket afterward. For lunch we had one of Ruth’s specialties, Käsespätzle (Swabian noodles with cheese) and we took a long walk around town and did some errands. Everything is so green after all the recent rains. Thursday evening is a quiet evening, but the weekend will be busy with two of their children coming to visit (Thomas and Annemarie) and other events.
Pictures: Left to right, top to bottom:
Top row: Dahlias and flowers in Neuendettelsau; Christmas goodies already....
2nd row: flowers in Neuendettelsau; recycle bins for glass, cans, and aluminum
3rd row: Kupser's house; Käsespätzle (Swabian noodles w/ cheese and tomato sauce)
4th row: Kupser sign; Ruth getting Spätzle ready to bake in the oven