I write this, sitting on a small balcony overlooking a courtyard at our AirBnB in Wiesbaden (Veez-bahdin). The sun’s dry rays are beaming down on me creating a warmth that’s been absent for a few days. This morning was starkly cold and drizzly as we woke early for a boat tour downstream (north) on the Rhine. Yesterday, into flanking days, it rained more than 24 hours, and we likely spent four or more hours wandering around in it, but we found a great winery. So we still won.
We also used the rainy day to figure out further travel plans. Shell and I had at least loosely planned through July 27th, and we’ve been kept busy with all the touring and family time. We didn’t leave ourselves sit-down time to plan out the next few weeks, and planning takes a lot of time and I’m only talking the basics of where, when, and how. Nothing planned or researched for what we’ll do, what we should do, etc etc. We were able to “plan” through August 7th, and here is what it looks like.
We have rented a car for four days. We leave Wiesbaden tomorrow morning and will aim to tour Köln (we spell and say it as Cologne). If we feel like moving on, we may hit another city before day’s end – Dortmund, Essen, Düsseldorf, et al. Then we drive to where we’re staying in Ibbenbüren.
Ibbenbüren is a small town just north of Münster, where there are some old family connections on the Hatke side. When I was young, maybe 7 or 8, there was a whole clan of Hatkes that visited us at my childhood home. I remember the kids who were in tow playing on our swing set well into the dark Indiana night, and the other English speaking kids and I blurting out the only German word we knew: Nein!
Manfred Hatke and my father were both police officers. So they exchanged, I don’t know what to call it all other than, artifacts and memorabilia. Things such as East German Polizei hats and patches, things that were unique to German Polizei given the times. Ibbenbüren is very much in the west, so I’m not clear on how Manfred was able to get these pieces. I remember taking some of the things Manfred gave us into Show-and-Tell.
With help from my father, I was able to connect with two of the Hatke clan in Ibbenbüren and they’ve been kind enough to meet us for dinner. Making Ibbenbüren our home base for two nights while we tour the cities to the south and position ourselves to move north. We’ll leave Ibbenbüren on Saturday, after our Friday night dinner, and head towards Hamburg where we’ll stay for two nights. Then, Berlin for a week.
Shell and I met a nice couple from Berlin while we were on Kauai, we look forward to connecting with them somehow. And being a funky, techy, artsy kind of city we’ve always imagined feeling at home in the city of so many Cold War novels. Now, we’ll get to test it out.
I owe you plenty of updates on Belgium and Netherlands, not to mention Germany already. Until then, thanks for reading.