Weisbaden, Germany to Traben-Trarbach, Germany
At around 2pm, there’s a few light taps on the door, then Ryan enters. He comes in. We talk. He said he was leaving to get his bike, his motorcycle. Raegan and I discuss coming with him, as he’ll be near the Frankfurt airport. We pack our gear, go with him.
At the airport, we realize we don’t have the phone number or address of the people we’re staying with. We find a table, put our backpacks in a pile. Raegan pulls her laptop out of her backpack and opens it on the table, but the online is not working.
I ask information and they say you have to pay for it. She pays $5 for an hour and gets the phone number of the place where staying, writes it down, then Skypes them. While she’s doing this, I’m looking for the bus that goes to Hahn, Germany.
By the time I find it, I ask a lady waiting at the stop when it leaves and she minutes. So, I walk, very quickly, back to Raegan to let her know and she’s on the phone with the German people where we’re going to WWOOF. They have a vineyard.
The woman is telling her that once we get to the Hahn airport, we need to take a
bus. I tell Raegan the bus is leaving in 10 minutes, so she gets off the phone quickly. Before she does, I tell the woman that we’ll be in Hahn in an hour and a half. She gets off Skype, folds the laptop, puts it in the zipup, then in her backpack.
I hold her backpack up, she turns around, slips it on her back. I put mine on, then led her in the direction of the bus, we’re walking rapidly through the terminal toward the exit where the bus is, then before I’m about to walk out,
Raegan asks “Where do we pay?” and I’m not sure, so I walk up to a desk and ask this guy where we pay for the bus, he says “on the bus” and then we rush outside, check traffic, cross the street, check traffic, cross the street, go up to the bus.
I ask the driver “Are you going to Hahn” he says yes and I step on the bus and he says “no”, then leads us both to the side where he opens a compartment. I hold Raegan’s backpack while she undoes the straps and slips it off, then I put it inside the compartment. Then, I take off my backpack and slip it off and put it in the compartment.
We go inside the bus, it’s $13 euros each for the trip to Hahns. Raegan hands me $20 euros and I pull $20 euros out of my pocket, we give him $40 euros, he gives us $14 euros back, we walk near the back of the bus and sit down. On the way to Hahn, there’s a traffic slowdown but it feels good to be on the bus. We are quiet for the first half hour, then we talk and laugh as we make up captions for New Yorker cartoons, the ones on the back page that have no captions for them.
We arrive at the Hahn airport, use a pay phone to call the German couple. The guy say his wife is at the bus station about 500 metres away. I ask him to describe her.
He says she’s about 50, has blond hair. I ask him what she’s wearing. He says he doesn’t know. I ask him to call her and tell her to meet us at the airport. He says he doesn’t know if she has her phone. I thank him and tell him we’ll look for her.
I tell Raegan what he told me. Raegan, smartly, fllips open her notebook, writes the woman’s name in big letters, then our names under them in smaller letters, and holds it out was we wander the airport. I walk outside to find the bus station and am not sure what direction it is in. I ask someone in a airport gift shop. He says it’s outside at the end, pointing to one side. We walk in that direction. We’re near the door at the end and Uschi walks in and sees Raegan holding the sign and Uschi greets her with a smile and a hug, and we say hello, then follow her to her car.
She drives us to this lovely little mountain top cafe/bar and orders 3 coca colas. The cafe has a beautiful view of the two towns, separated by a winding river, in the valley below.
This is the view from the the mountain, in walking distance from the cafe.
Uschi and her husband live in the second one. They are both teachers and the husband runs the vineyard for fun. It’s a passion of his.
Beautiful Traben-Trarbach, Germany
After we finish the sodas, we get in the car and she drives us to her house, a modern house with lots of windows and a beautiful view of the town and hills. Her husband cooked a delicious dinner of bean salad, potatoes with rosemary, and meat patties. He also served us white wine from his vineyard, delicious. For dessert, he served us a pitcher of alcohol and water with 3 different types of peaches, diced up, floating in them that imbued it with a fruit flavor. It was like sangria but with peaches. We talked, then went to bed in the downstairs room, the room of the son.
He’s sleeping in his sister’s room and leaving on Tuesday for Portugal with friends.
Saturday August 13
Raegan and I awoke around 8am, in the David’s room, in the big bed that he usually sleeps in, as he is the son, the 22 year old son, of the couple whose house we are staying at as we are WWOOFing, or doing a work exchange for room and board, doing gardening in their garden and helping in their vineyard and other tasks.
Raegan said I was sweaty and I was snoring throughout the night. Then, I remembered, that she kept waking me up and asking me to sleep on my side, because I was snoring. A little after 9am, we walked upstairs, greeted the Jurgen, the husband, and Ushui, his wife, then ate breakfast with them and their daugher, whose name I forget.
After breakfast, Jurgen drove us to this pasture outside of a nearby town where we helped disassemble a large tent, used for the musicians to relax in before and after playing at the music festival that he and his wife started in 1977 and have been running ever since. It now draws 7,000 people a year and, financially, they break even, putting any profits back into it to keep it running.
Our WWOOF hosts are teachers. He teaches Biology and Chemistry, and she teaches something, I forget. We also did some raking and moved some piles of firewood about 25 feet to another pile. When we were lifting sections of the stage these field mice were running around slowly and confused, so slow that I went to pet one, using the back of my hand near its tail and when I touched it, the mouse let out a “eeeeee” and continued scampering, slowly. It was funny.
A German lady (of course she’s German what else would she be we’re in Germany ha ha ha) said: “Don’t touch it, you can get a disease, and get sick!” and it was kind of funny because she was so intense about it, saying it in a terrified tone of concern.
We’re at the house now, in the basement room. Raegan just asked me to read 2 paragraphs of her blog post. She posts blogs at Tumblr. I just read it and it was so well written. She asked me what I thought of it and I said: “You have a gift. You should be writing every day and be getting paid well for it. How do you write so well. Usually, it takes years for people to write like that.” Her writing is concise and interesting, honing in on the important parts but leaving enough detail in it so you want to keep reading. She is a really good writer. “You should just be getting paid to write blogs. You’re really good.”
She thanked me and smiled and I could tell she was encouraged. She got up, went
upstairs and returned with a glass of peach inflused alcohol and water that Jurgen had put together the night before.
Tuesday, August 16 11:40am
As I write this, Raegan is laying in bed, her laptop open, watching “Twin Peaks”.
Last night, after dinner, Jurgen invited us to stay at the table for a dessert wine. I politely declined and thanked him, then sat there and drank water, participating in the conversation while Raegan and Jurgen, the dad half of the couple who is allowing us to WWOOF here for a week, drank wine. It was Jurgen’s own wine from his vineyard.
Sitting there, playing conversational softball, I realized that this kind of event–sitting, listening, participating in the social interactions offered, constitutes a big part of WWOOFing (World Wide Organization of Organic Farms), in that the WWOOF’ers, in this case Raegan and myself, are obliged to be part of social gatherings. If we say no, we appear to be dismissive, disinterested, or outright rude. So, we say yes. Sometimes when I get caught in a situation that bores me or does not interest me in any way, I separate myself–one part of me floats off into a world of imagination while another part of me nods, says “yes” or asks pertinent questions. Since most of the world is sleepwalking anyway, they don’t seem to notice, but if they looked deep into my eyes, they would see that I’m already in another dimension.
About ten minutes into the conversation and drink with Raegan, myself, and
Jurgen, his son, David walks in the house, then into the kitchen, and parks himself at the table. His friend, Patrick, a rabbity looking fellow, with piercing eyes that are set far apart almost on the sides of his face, like a Gekko lizard, and jaw line that extends far out from below his nose, almost as if he’s making a chimp face.
He’s an interesting looking young man. For some reason, I get the impression he’s
smart. David is a slim, olive skinned youth with small eyes, small nose, and a warm smile. Soon after they arrive, Thomas, another friend of theirs, arrives. Thomas is a big guy with big arms, enormous hands, a big head. He reminds me of Tony Robbins, the world reknowned self help coach who is about 6’3 and has a big head and huge hands. He actually kind of looks like Tony Robbins, too.
The trio–David, Patrick, Thomas, and their other friend, are leaving for Portugal
tomorrow. They’re here because they’re leaving tomorrow morning, taking an early morning flight from the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, about twenty or thirty minutes away. The flight is only 2 hours long. As I write this now, barring any unforseen
delays, they are already in Portugal.
David invites us to go drinking with them. As Jurgen invited to drive us up to the
top of the mountain, en route to his job as a school teacher, so we could walk back and even hike, enjoying marvelous views of Trarbach and Traben, the two small towns that are nestled on either side of the Mozz River, that winds it’s way along the base of the hills, and also considering what I’ve experienced with Raegan, that when she drinks she drinks a lot and can get quite flirty, I decline on David’s offer.
Raegan, though, hears him and says “C’mon, let’s go”.
“We have to be up early tomorrow,” I say to her. “We’ll get up in time,” she says.
“Maybe you should just go. Would you mind if I didn’t go?” I ask, hoping that she’ll urge me to go and realizing that I’ve just jumped off of a diving board that is, hopefully, above a pool of deep water because if she says “no, you can stay, I’ll just go” that I won’t feel needed. Needless to say, I’m hoping she’ll say, “come”.
“C’mon, let’s go,” she says. “It’ll be fun. I want to go.”
Since she says “let’s go”, I’m reassured that she wants me to come with her and I feel happy that she wants me to go with her.
“Okay,” I say. “We can go. Let’s go.”
We herd ourselves out into the narrow street, that runs up to the top of the hill, and follow Thomas the giant toward a small, 2-door hatchback, then cram ourselves into the car, 3 of us in the backseat while Thomas drives and Raegan sits in the passenger seat in the front.
As Thomas steers the small car around sharp curves, the eloquent streets a patchwork of cobblestone and early asphalt eaten up below the snout of the compact car, David, Patrick, and Thomas are talking in German, I’m imitating them, and Raegan’s talking, and we’re all laughing.
It’s a great big hullabaloo of smiles and nothingness that fills the car and the outside air while the beautiful old buildings of Trarbach whiz by in a soft blur, standing tall against the dark sky and hazy lamp light. The streets are empty and soon enough we’re on the bridge, crossing the Mooz River, into Traben, the beautifully quaint town with historic architecture, like Trabrach it is comprised of 4-6 story buildings that have first floor retail with the remaining floors being apartments or offices. The streets are narrow and winding and rise at a slight but noticeable incline as the village rises up the hill. Thomas turns the car this way and that way and we’re sloshing from side to side, a tangle of shoulder and arms and German conversation.
Each town is small, so the ride is only about 5 minutes long. We’re at the bar.
Thomas parks, we crawl out of the car and walk toward the bar. At this point, I was expecting the bar to be a rowdy enclave of Germans, a posse of all ages, singing songs and holding those giant mugs of beer that you see advertised at October Fest.
As I entered the bar and looked around, however, I noticed that October Fest, if it is supposed to be like a German bar experience, obviously forgot to look at this bar for clues. And maybe that’s a good thing.
The bar is a small room with a curving bar near the front, in the middle of the island stands a bartender, a gray haired man with a big fat chest, wearing a loose red, button up collar shirt and an expensive looking watch, ring, and a necklace.
He has the demeanor of someone whose made money from illicit activities, as if he
doesn’t care about much since he has loaded gun within reaching distance. Then again, my mind is prone to hyperboles as the the constructed memory, for me, proves a lot for interesting than reality, even if I have not eaten Ritter’s chocolate.
David and Thomas take chairs near the corner, I take a chair with an empty one between us, so Raegan can sit there, which she does. Patrick sits on my right. For the next 4 hours, we played drinking games, a silly dice game that involved shaking dice, putting them on a table, and coming up with numbers. A certain number combination meant that you received these metal washers, that sat on a short pole. Whoever ends up with the most metal washers loses, and has to buy a round of beers for the next game.
I lost the first game. I played the second game and did not lose. After that, I declined on playing any further games because the game was boring and I did not want to buy beers for everyone. I had a $20 euro bill in my pocket and some euro change. Still, I didn’t want to use it for beer.
Raegan got drunk. She had, I think, abou 5 glasses of beer, 2 brandy & cokes, vodka in a glass with an ice cube, and a big tall beer, a Pilsner, that was wheat colored with a foamy head. She went to the jukebox to select a song and ended up getting hit on by some short guy from Spain. Watching her from my seat, to make sure everything was okay, I saw him saying something to her. Then, I heard her saying “Raegan”. She came back and I asked if everything was okay and she said yes.
Some time later, the guy behind the bar, who introduced himself earlier as Michael, invited her to play darts.
She kept looking at me while playing darts with him, then waved for me to come over.
That single action, her waving for me to come over to play darts, meant so much to me. It is significant to me when Raegan does that, when she shows that she cares about me enough to show that she is my girlfriend in front of other people.
Sometimes, I get insecure because I’m 42 years old and she is 23. Her waving me over while playing darts with the guy, was considerate of her. I walk over and hug her and inbetween her dart throwing she’s dancing and I’m dancing with her, hugging her, kissing her.
“We’re gonna go,” I tell her.
She tosses 3 more darts. Despite her condition of severe intoxication, her aim is
good and all 3 darts hit the dartboard. It’s one of those electronic dartbards with the little holes in it, that keep score electronically. After the dart toss, I walk her back to the group, and we sit with them for a few more minutes until we leave.
While driving back, David says, “We’re going to go back to the house and drink more.”
Hearing that, I get frustrated because, at this point, I’m feeling tired and I want to cradle Raegan in my arms and hold her and kiss her and love her, then fall asleep with her in my arms.
Thomas, the driving giant, parks the compact car. We spill out onto the streets, tired, drunk, and I’m holding Raegan’s hand because she’s stumbling to and fro, the world swaying beneath her feet like a ship that’s listing. We enter the house from the basement door and walk into David’s room, where Raegan and I have been sleeping, where our backbacks sit against his shelf.
At this point, Raegan and David go outside to share a cigarette and talk, and I get into a conversation with David, where I’m telling him about my websites. He’s a good listener.
Eventually, about 15 minutes later, everyone goes back to David’s room to catch a
few hours sleep before they leave to go to the airport for their departing flight to Portugal.
On Tuesday, even though we had planned to meet Juergin early in the morning in the kitchen, then go with him on his way to school in order to be dropped off at the top of the hill, in order to hike back and enjoy the views, because we went to bed so late, at around 4am, Tuesday morning, we slept in. I woke around 10 or
11am, and Raegan stayed in bed until around noon.Uschti, Juergin’s wife, at hearing this, said: “I knew if you went to the bar this would happen.” She was smiling as she said it. “So I told Juergin that they will not be able to make it.”
Hearing this, we all laughed. They were not angry or upset. Instead, they acted merry, mentioning that in Germany, “you have to drink the beer, it’s delicious”, said Juergin.
“Yeah it is,” Raegan agreed.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Raegan picked green beans, while I weeded. After she picked a bunch of them, she joined me in weeding a small patch of the garden, a plot where lettuce had been planted, but was taking some time to grow, as the lettuce leaves were tiny compared to the weeds that surrounded them.
Next, we moved to another patch of garden and pulled out potatoes and onions. I called this other garden “the rebel garden” as it has tangles of high growing weeds and flowers among it. Earlier, I varnished one side of the 4 wooden fence walls, that serve to block the view of the neighbor’s back yard, which has junk–TVs and other stuff–in the yard. Later, Raegan varnished the back ofo the fence walls.
Last night, we had dinner with Uschti, and Juergin was not there, as he was swimming at an indoor pool, with friends, and would go for pizza afterwards. The dinner, comprised of fresh beans that we had picked from the garden earlier, doused in a delicious parmaseon cream sauce, and a cheesy potato casserole, that included potatoes from the garden as well, was absolutely delicious. I told Uschti that it was delicious, and Raegan agreed. She said that Juergin helped her make it.
That guy can cook. The food he prepares is seriously delicious. Uschti said her thing was cleaning, taking care of the bills, and planning, specifically mentioning vacation plans.
After dinner, Raegan brought her laptop upstairs to the kitchen table, got online, and Uschti helped us plan our route to Berlin. After Uschti helped us, then left to go upstairs to work on schoolwork, as she is a teacher, Raegan turned her head up to me, smiled, and said: “I love you.” It was nice to hear. “I love you, too,” I said.
We ended up having to cancel the stay in Steinsdorf. I sent the couchsurfing hosts
a polite e-mail, explaining and apologizing. Then, Raegan and I cleaned the kitchen, washing the dishes, drying them, and putting them away.
We returned to the room. Raegan asked if I wanted to watch a documentary called “The Global Warming Controversy” or “The Global Warming Hoax”. We snuggled in bed while watching it. It was a 90 minute or 2 hour long BBC documentary, very well done, in which scientists explained that global warming was a misinterpretation of the facts, and that the sun has more to do with global warming that carbon dioxide, which is a biproduct of global warming, not the culprit. The scientists concurred that since so much funding was available for global warming studies, it was difficult for the truth to get out regarding the subject, and those who do say that global warming is a hoax, are branded as a heretic and being in bed with the oil companies.
Although the documentary was interesting, I was tired.
After it was over, Raegan noticed this and said: “Awwww, your so tired. Your eyes are half closed.”
“Are you tired?” I asked her.
“No. I think I had that coffee too late in the afternoon,” she said. “That was around 4, I think,” I said.
We just had coffee in the upstairs kitchen. Raegan made it, using the french press, and the whole coffee beans, fresh ground, with milk and raw brown sugar. It was delicious, smooth, sweet.
Last night, in bed, Raegan said: “I love you so much.”
“That’s so nice to hear.” I told her. “Because I love you so much, too.”
We cuddled, kissed, then fell asleep.
Last night for dinner, Jeurgin boiled tortillini and made 2 delicious sauces, pesto sauce, using fresh basil from the garden, and a delicious tomato sauce, using fresh tomatoes from the garden. The tomato sauce was prepared with chopped onions pan fried in olive oil, in a sauce pot. Then, he added tomatoes. Earlier, Uschti, his wife, soaked the tomatoes in hot water, then showed Raegan and I how to remove them from the hot water, and peel them. The hot water bath makes the skin easier to peel. Jeurgin chopped the tomatoes and added them to the olive oil-onion mixture, and added diced, fresh rosemary that I picked from the rosemary bush, that sat outside. The end result was a delicious, tangy, light tomato sauce with a sweet aroma from the onions and oil, and a zesty flavor from the rosemary.
The meal was fantastic.
Jeurgin brought out his wine, that he makes himself, from the vineyard. He has a vineyard in the backyard and one on the side of a nearby hill, that we weeded a few days ago. On the table was a big bowl of tortillini, a bowl of the tomato sauce, a bowl of pesto sauce that was homemade, too. The only thing not homemade was the tortillini and it was delicious. The sauces, however, were spectacular. After dinner, Uschti invited Raegan and I to the outside patio, where we sat in the dark, stars above us and lights from the nearby towns of Trabin and Trabrach like still fireflies against the dark backdrop of the hills that lie just beyond them. Even the castle, where Uschti took Raegan and I for a coca-cola after she picked us up from the airport, where the bus had dropped us off last Friday, could be seen, illuminating the crumbled top portion of the stone walls. We sat outside, talking, drinking, laughing. Uschti, Jeurgin, and Raegan drank wine. I drank sparkling water. It was romantic, being in this environment, overlooking a small town in Germany with them, especially with Raegan beside me, as she held my hand and leaned into me affectionately.
Last night, while eating a delicious dinner of soup made from garden picked beans and potatoes and other ingredients, along with potato pancakes, a phenomenal result of Jeurgin’s skills in the kitchen, eating outside on the balcony overlooking the town of Trabin-Trarbach, the Moog River, and the hills in the distance, Jeurgin invited us to a music festival in a nearby town. We accepted his invitation. Then, he said we have to go, or we’ll miss the music. Hurredly, we moved the bowls and wine glasses to the kitchen. Uschti, his wife, said she would clean them. Juergin said to leave them so we could get ready to go. We did. Uschti drove us to a town, then a small wooded area with a lake nearby where the festival was happening– one stage, a fire, small makeshift, buildings with roofs that served as a beer/coca cola station, food station, soundboard tech station.
The first band was talented and played technical rock with atmospheric guitar, kind of like Rush meets Dream Theatre. The second band was rockabilly meets the Dropkick Murphys or a bad imitiation of the Dropkick Murphys, with a standup bassist who sang, a guitar, and drums.
The crowd seemed to like both of the bands, judging from the dancing near the front. About 300 people were there, not a lot, but the clearing in the wooded area where the festival was held did not seem to be able to hold many more people than that.
Jeurgin said that last year, 500 people were here. Raegan got beer and then said she wanted cigarettes, I told her I’d get one for her, we walked around looking for smokers. Finding one, I approached her, said “Hallo” and then, like a mime, acted as if I was smoking a cigarette, “do you have”, pause, “a cigarette”.
At this point, Raegan steps in closer and mimes holding a cigarette. The woman
fishes in her purse and pulls out a bag of tobacco and rolling paper.
“Oh, great,” Raegan says, smiling. “This is better. Danke.”
I pretend to be interested in the lady and trying to speak German, until Raegan has rolled and lights the cigarette and then we say “danke” and I say “thank you” and we smile, and walk off. It got cold, so Raegan suggested we sit by the fire, which is roaring.
There’s a few old couches surrounding the fire. She sits at the edge of one. A young kid is sitting on the other edge, appearing to be sleeping or pretending to be sleeping. I sit in the middle. Raegan curls up in a ball and we cuddle. Every now and then, I look over at where Juergin is and see him talking with people, a beer in his hand, watching the band, looking around. As the last band is appearing to finish up, but keeps playing encores, I suggest we approach Juergin, so we leave the couch and the warmth of the fire, approach Juergin, and ask if he wants to go.
“This band has one more song, then we’ll go,” he says.
They finish the set, we walk down the hill. He calls a taxi. We get in, another guy is on my left, heading to the same town. We go home, dropping him off first.
This morning, we took a train to Berlin for only $8 euros. Awesome.