Before I left, J emailed me and updated me on a variety of fun events that we had on the calendar for my time there: a 4 year old birthday party, a first confirmation party, a 50th birthday party and a surprise.
All sound quite fun, but I was very intrigued with the surprise. J is always a wonderful hostess. She always has fun surprises waiting and ready.
I remember the very first time I flew over to visit, she was waiting in amongst the crowd at the airport holding up a big postcard in the shape of a bundle of bananas and a bouquet of roses. Chocolates tend to find their way onto my pillow or night stand. A pot of tea is typically waiting on the table first thing in the morning. I will take these kind of surprises every day, but I knew J must have had something else (new) in mind, since she gave me a heads up.
She was worried that the kids would be the ones to give away the surprise. And they came close. As soon as I arrived, they were ready to share the secret, but I really wanted to be surprised, so I made them zip their lips.
Welllll.....it wasn't the kids who I really needed to make zip their lips. It was J. She was just as excited about the surprise as the kids and little by little I learned some of the details.
a. we were leaving on Monday
b. I needed to pack enough for two more days
c. walking shoes needed
d. we were traveling by train
e. J and I were the only two going on this little get away
Monday AM, the two of us grabbed our suitcases and headed to the train station...on foot.
(Whenever E.H.B. was out and about with me, she would always ask if I really had to wear my hat. She didn't like it. But I'm a wimp when it comes to the cold, so the answer was usually yes. The day I picked her up from school the first thing she noticed was that I didn't have my hat on. I had taken it off just for her.)
J and I spent the train ride chatting and enjoying the beautiful view. J enjoyed listening to the conversations around us. Since I couldn't understand them I tuned them out. If I had paid better attention J said I would have heard the name of our final destination.
But I found out soon enough...
Freiburg was the destination of my second trip over to see J back in 2000. It also happened to be for her wedding. I had recently commented to her that someday I hoped to return to Freiburg because it was such a beautiful city with lots of wonderful shops.
We spent the first evening walking around the "empty" shopping area. The shops were closed for Easter Monday and very few people were out and about. It was a great chance to take lots of photos.
In true roadtrip fashion we were determined to find a restaurant that was new to both of us. This one was a winner!
The waitress was kind enough to include ice in my drink....for the American. Three cubes is pretty generous for Europe. :)
I had lamb kabobs and seasoned potato slices. They were delicious, but too much food for me. J had a wonderful salad full of tasty and healthy selections.
The next morning I got up and headed out right away to see if I could get some more photos before crowds took over the streets.
J and I spent the day wandering in and out of stores and thru the market and in the cathedral and eating. J was on a mission for some new clothes. I was just enjoying the sights and time together and helping her find treasures.
There are two of her new treasurers: new shirt and new purse.
On the way home I talked less and photographed more.
It is a family tradition to include a photo in the guest book, along with drawings and notes describing the time there. This was our self timed photo that we took for the guest book.
If you look closely you can see the "1" in the left hand little black box on the door. We traveled first class. The whole trip was First Class!
So was the welcome home....
For the rest of the story, you can read E.H.B.'s post about the welcome home dinner and party.