16 August 2011

So much to see, so little time

Back in the 80's, Momma and I lived overseas in Germany for about 5 years with the Army.  We had just graduated from college, got married and I signed up as an Army officer in an Armor unit stationed overseas for 5 years.  This was back in our earlier, poorer days and we were were just starting out and had nothing but debt and a 2nd Lieutenant's salary to get by.  But we did ok but we worked to save as much money as we could.  That meant local trips & cheap vacations, but a trip back home was cost prohibitive at the time.  So, essentially, we moved out of our homes and did not come back home for almost 5 years.  Remember, this was back before cell phones, IM, facebook and skype.  Needless to say, I was persona non grata with the in laws for a while. 

The one thing we loved to do was to get away from the base.  The military community was very tight knit and they tended to cling together when stationed OUS (outside US).  A lot of soldiers and their families were stationed on or adjacent to their post.  Each post was like a little oasis of Americana in a foreign land.  We used to call our post "little America" where you could get regular down home stuff like Budweiser or Cheetos or Levis.  We tried to acclimate to the local economy and shop/eat/live as the locals did.  Did we make mistakes?  Yep.  Did we screw up the language?  You bet.  Did we embarrass ourselves?  More than likely.  Did we have a blast?  Hell yea.  Sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone to find new things.  And you might actually enjoy some of them.  

While I was over there, I tried to hit some of the places I remember, but I only had a few days to cover the entire country.  A couple of castles, a winery, two towers, my old army post, a few local towns.  No way I covered it all, but I did enjoy what I saw.  Didn't get lost, but there were a few times that I was "geographically dysfunctional".  I cannot admit to any excursions over there, but if you hear any stories of a psychotic American driving a Kia Venga driving down the the streetcar tracks and across the main plaza of Mannheim, you didn't get it from me. 

Bad Durkheim

Local water park

Wine, anyone?

Being A/R, I had planned my trip out in advance, but I was willing to go off script as the opportunity presented itself.  After my business deal was done, I had 3 to burn, so I headed south out of Frankfurt to my old stomping grounds.  Wandered through the wine country for several hours, got stuck a 3 hour traffic jam on the autobahn, tried to take a "short cut" through several towns, almost ran out of gas, wound up in my old town at a fantastic gasthaus.  I even lucked into a local town festival for the night.  Lots of bier, bands, wurst, and local bands.  Nothing like hearing American Girl in German to make it real.   
Local bands rocking the plaza!
Hard to imagine we started out here 30 years ago
(3rd floor, middle window) 


terri said...

Yeah, I'm sure you were chopped liver with the in-laws after taking their little girl away for FIVE WHOLE YEARS! How could you do that? Lucky for you, it all worked out in the end.

Sounds like a fun trip down memory lane. I'd maybe like to see Germany some time. That's where my roots are. 50% of them, anyway.

meleah rebeccah said...

Wow, 5 years is a long time to be away from home without visiting!

The nest time I get lost, I am totally hijacking your term "geographically dysfunctional".  That's HYSTERICAL.

Question: Is it true that people drive like 100MPH on the autobahn? Cuz that would scare the crap out of me.

And that last photo? That's where you used to live 30 years ago? That must have been SOOOO cool to revisit!

meleah rebeccah said...


The *nest time I get lost,


Abby said...

I'm glad you took advantage of your business travels. All work and no play.. well, you know!