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September 28, 2022

Randy had an adventure—He left his phone in the maxi-cab we took to the Hauptbahnhof (central train station) in Munich. Melisa has constantly asked him if he had his phone, but today she did not! “So it is really her fault,” according to Randy. We were all on the train heading to Stuttgart, Germany, when it was discovered the phone was missing. Because the phone contained too much valuable information, Randy jumped off the train in Augsburg and hailed a taxi for the 45 minute ride back into Munich. His taxi driver contacted the taxi driver who had the phone—thankfully, we had his number on the receipt he gave me when I paid the bill—and they agreed on a pick up spot. Randy was delivered to the Munich Hauptbahnhof where he caught a new train to Stuttgart. The ordeal was about four hours long and $$$, but Randy has his phone back. 

Because our hotel was right outside the Hauptbahnhof in Stuttgart, we walked, and walked, and walked due to heavy construction in the station area. Germany is greatly upgrading its already wonderful rail service, and we have noticed that stations and rail are in upgrade everywhere. Finally at our hotel, we soon discovered that we had no rooms…because…we.were.at.the.wrong.hotel! Since our hotel (same name—sister hotel) was only a severn minute walk, we walked again, only to discover something we really already knew—triple the number of minutes they tell you. Texans don’t walk as fast as Germans. On the way, I tired of waiting for the lights to turn green. Germans patiently wait, even with absolutely no cars in sight—they follow the rules to the letter. I told Karen, “No cars; I’m going.” Karen dutifully followed me; but, I didn’t see the very tiny bit of a car coming our way. Scoot we did! Once safely on the other side, Karen grabbed me and pushed me towards the oncoming traffic and screamed, “You said there were no cars!” I said, “It looked like a bug.” She replied, “I’ll squash you like a bug” or something similar. 

Safely in our correct hotel (a very nice one) we sat in the bar for drinks and snacks while waiting for Randy’s return. Interestingly, the hotel is right by the Hauptbahnhof—we simply took the very very long way around to get there. We were all happy to have him safely return! We walked to the Palace Platz of Stuttgart in a pedestrian zone and enjoyed the pleasant weather and comfortable ambiance. We also enjoyed the Volksfest (People’s Festival) that was in full swing around the huge platz (square). Finding a wonderful German restaurant (huge beer barrels served as intimate dining outside), we sat in cozy inside seating. The food was marvelous. Several ordered Swabish (the old designation for the Stuttgart region) delicacies, such as pork and spinach pasta rolls. I ordered what I called “monster” pork knuckle with bread dumpling and white cabbage slaw. I could not ever eat 1/3 of it because it was so huge. Since Allen had stayed in for the evening, I asked for a “to go” box so he could have something to eat if he wanted—yes, they have “to go” and, yes, they charge. 

It turned out to be a fun and enjoyable day with lots of laughs. We travel well together. 

“Street food” available at the Volksfest
The Volksfest (People’s Festival) in the Stuttgart Palace Square
Melisa inside the beer barrel private dining area of the restaurant in which we ate dinner
Wayne’s “monster” pork knuckle dish with bread dumpling and cabbage salad
Marty and Karen enjoy the dining experience with our travel group in Stuttgart.
Delicious Swabish meal many in our travel group enjoyed.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Today we took a risk to take a day trip to Gorlitz, Germany, via train. We had never been to Gorlitz before, and it was a very cold day in the freezing range. As we walked into the city it was sleepy and seemed not so great. I was wondering if the day trip was worth it. However, as the day progressed, it got better and better.

We walked a circular trip that took us into Poland, Gorlitz being on the border. We enjoyed the journey discovering  many wonderful and beautiful buildings. We walked near a city park and saw a new synagogue being built. The Jewish population was decimated during the World War II holocaust. Many survivor families have returned and are building a very large synagogue near the beautiful park.

As we walked over the border, there were buildings painted in a Polish style, pastels with white trim. Much refurbishment and revitalization is being done in Zgorzelec, Poland. It was past noon and we thought what better use of our time than to have lunch in Poland. What an adventure that turned out to be! One restaurant after another was closed until later in the day. Then presto, an open restaurant on the river! I am positive it would be hard to find a finer restaurant anywhere! Housed in a historic building and refurbished in high style, the linen tablecloths and napkins at Miodmaliny said, “Right place.” Polish stencil work on the walls and red velvet couches and silver velvet chairs made for comfortable seating. The chef was so gracious to explain wine, beer, cordials, appetizers, main courses, desserts. We tried it all! Thin pancakes with Polish curd and fruit and mushroom and sour cabbage perogies in herbed cream sauce were our shared appetizers. Cabbage rolls with veal in a rich tomato gratin; golden duck with whole cranberry sauce and baked apple with Swabish (a state in the old German Empire that was given to Poland after World War II) potato dumplings were our main dishes. The duck was by far the best I have ever eaten–crispy exterior and tender interior. The wines and beers were very good and the fruit cordial tasty. We all oohed and aahed the rest of the day.

We returned to Germany via a pedestrian bridge in a scenic part of the river. Directly in front of us was a majestic Lutheran Church, closed for some repair and rehearsal prior to a weekend concert. We heard a pipe organ playing through the massive walls. We were in the Altstadt (historic section) of Gorlitz. It was beautiful, and workers were everywhere preparing for the Christmas Markets that are to open this weekend. An ice skating rink was already open in a city square and filled with laughing children. We entered another large Lutheran Church from the 1200s. Painted ceilings and walls highlighted the long nave with a beautiful carved altar drawing attention. Fascinating.

As our long day was drawing to a close, we headed back to the train station for an hour journey back to Dresden. What started out as a day unclear as to what would be seen or if any experience could be had turned out to be a very rewarding day. We were reminded that sometimes one can take an adventure when not sure of the outcome. Some people are afraid to take that risk–we were glad we did. WEG