Thursday, April 12, 2012

Last Leg

Thursday, April 12th

I'm sitting in Ramstein Air Base, waiting for roll call.  We had a scare this morning when we checked Ramstein's FB page and saw that there were only 35 seats available for our that number has been firmed up to 207, so not only are we making it on this flight, but we can spread out!  Nice!

This has been a great week in Germany.  We started our final leg last Thursday, arriving in Weil Der Stadt, home of our friends Sue and Mo, via train and then rental car (got stuck in an awful traffic jam on the Autobahn), with one of the best meals on this trip - a little hole in the wall that serves spaghetti and shrimp to die for and don't get me started on the tirimisu!  Then we decided to take it easy on Friday, so we went to a swimbad in Filderstadt.  A swimbad is an indoor water park, complete with water slides and a wave pool.  That was fun.  Then Saturday we ran some errands in preparation for Easter dinner on Sunday and also visited a beautiful palace called Schloss Solitude.  Easter Sunday was fabulous.  Sue and Mo invited their wonderful neighbors over as well as an old friend and co-worker of Tim's, so we had a good crowd and Mo's fabulous cooking.  We were entertained by Mo's dancing and Gab's mad DJ skills -  add some wine to the mix and voila!  A perfect day!

Monday we set off to the concentration camp in Dachou, which was about 2 1/2 hours away.  We took a guided tour and learned a lot.  It was extremely sad and surreal being there.  This particular camp was primarily a work camp and not an extermination camp like Auschwitz, but they still had two crematoriums equipped with gas chambers.  There were over 31,000 registered deaths there and only one person known to have ever escaped.  I'm really glad we went.  Being Jewish, I think this was an important thing for Gab and me to do.  Tim had been there before.  We left Dachou and headed to Oberammergau, which is a pretty little town in the middle of the Alps.  We poked around the shops and stayed the night there.  Tim went to NATO school there , so he remembered a cute little Italian restaurant he had eaten at several times before.  We had a good meal and some (more) good wine.  On Tuesday we rode a cable car to the top of Zugspitz, the highest mountain in Germany.  That was special.  I've never seen views like that.  There were majestic (sounds like a cheesy word to use, but truly, it's the one that fits) snow-capped mountain views in all directions.  It was amazing!

Yesterday we packed up the car and headed to Ramstein.  On the way Tim took us to a couple of Weinguts.  Now this is what I'm talking about!  These places are cute little shops that sit on the individual vineyard that the wine comes from and they are everywhere along what is called a Weinstrasse - a long stretch of vineyards and wineries.  This region is called Pfalz. You pull in and get to swig as much wine as you want so you can make an educated decision on your purchases.  Needless to say, Tim and I were well educated.  Gab even dipped her pinky in a glass or two.  We bought over 40 bottles of wine and a couple of bottles of grape juice.  I'm almost embarrassed to say how inexpensive the wine is - the average bottle was about 4 euros!  And this is GOOD wine!  Then a bratwurst later, we headed to our room on base and spent a couple of hours figuring out how to pack it all up!

So, here we are, waiting for Space-A roll call, ready to come home.  It's been an incredible adventure, one that won't soon be forgotten.  We easily have close to 2,000 pictures.  Those, along with this blog, will serve as a permanent record of the places we've gone and the thing's we've experienced.  It was wonderful!  We miss our beds and we miss our boys!    Tons of pics to follow after we get home.

"Work will set you free"  The quote that greeted incoming prisoners as they passed through the front gate at Dachou

View from Zugspitz

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