Teresa and Freddie; we meet again!

October 4, 2015

“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don't know and trusting them with your life.” ~ Paul Theroux

This was probably the nicest place we’ve ever stayed.  This morning for breakfast there were glass cups with fruit on the bottom and homemade yogurt on top.  As soon as we sat down Christina brought us each a fresh fruit smoothie and then offered to fix us eggs.  Every little touch here was special.  The couple who has sat next to us was friendly and tried hard to communicate (German only) with us and our meager German “a little”.  Oma (grandma) clears the dishes and believes with her heart that I can understand her and I really am trying – but, oh not so much!  She brought Bill a newspaper today with pictures of contestants in a beard contest held in Munich.  She thought Bill should have been there too.

As I settled our bill with Marcus, Oma came in and made a friendly comment of some sort.  Marcus explained that she thought I was smart to be the one holding the money.  He explained that his father was a wood carver and every bit of money he made, he turned over to Oma.  He also showed me some of his father’s work kept in the office.  What a treasure.  Marcus said that even though he was one of the head bankers in Mayrhofen, he also turns all of his money over to Christina.  “I think it better that way,” he said.  Yep, me too!

I should have mentioned that the weather yesterday was unseasonably pleasant.  It was in the mid-70s at various times during the day.  On the television they called it an “unusual weather pattern”.  We called it very nice.

It took a long time to get out of the Zillertal Valley.  There is only one road that is mostly 2 lanes and many other festival attendees were also heading home.  We crawled.  I had told Teresa and Freddie that I thought we would be to their house between 1:30 – 2:00 p.m. but I was uncertain.  After some interesting diversions from Gerti (one that pretty much landed us out in some farmer’s field) we arrived at our friends’ house at 2:00 p.m.

Who would have thought four years ago that we would ever meet again?  We shared a picnic table and a beer on the top of an Austrian mountain in 2011.  Teresa and I had exchanged email addresses and wrote back and forth from time to time; but still, to be invited to their home was such a privilege and wonderful surprise.  It was very comfortable and easy to be in their company.  I had emailed them and warned them we were ill and they could change their minds, but they instead had a variety of cold medicines sitting on the kitchen counter for our use.

Teresa had expected us for lunch even though I think I was pretty clear about arriving after lunchtime.  Instead, she said we would eat the lunch meal for dinner.  She wanted to prepare traditional Bavarian foods for us and even though my appetite was not good I was going to do the best to try everything she prepared.  First she made us coffee and we sat together eating delicious raspberry cake and talking about all things.  In fact, we spent the next 9+ hours around the kitchen table talking about politics, travel, education, peculiarities of both countries, and the refugee crisis.

I try not to tread into politics on my blog but I had been curious about their perspective on the thousands of refugees streaming into Germany.  Teresa’s daughter Patricia was volunteering with the intake of refugees.  Freddie explained that the position the German government presents on television is not representative of the German people.  Many of the people coming to Germany are not from Syria, but are coming from central areas of Africa, Turkey, Afghanistan, etc.  For him, this was much different than helping people who are escaping war.  Those coming to Germany are given some money from the government; they receive medical, dental, and other health care that they cannot get in their home countries; and many are seen as demanding and belligerent.  The claim to be Syrian but cannot speak the language.  Many have i-Phone 6, nice clothes, and call home daily.  “How can these be poor people?”  He said if a German made a complaint about the situation he or she was accused of being a Nazi or Neo-Nazi.  It was clear that this was very frustrating.  I think it must be.

Teresa had prepared a special dinner for us; Bavarian gulasch!  No kidding.  Served with cauliflower and a giant German potato dumpling (Kartoffelknödel).  The gulasch was served with big chunks of tender meat and a lighter, less spicy sauce.  She loaded Bill’s plate beyond his cry of “enough!” telling him Bavarian men eat a lot of meat.  Freddie kept Bill filled with plenty of Oktoberfest beer served in a lidded stein.  I managed two lighter beers through the evening.  I also tried a syrup Teresa makes every year out of the blossoms of the elderberry plant.  The flowering blossoms are soaked in water for hours then drained.  A simple syrup is made with the water and this is served with mineral water or added to drinks.  It was a very unusual flavor.  Nothing I’ve had before, in fact.

Bill was without a doubt, “in his element” tonight.  He was very funny and engaging.   I’m afraid he taught Freddie one of his favorite expressions.  If Bill is asked to go somewhere or do something in which he has no interest, he says, “Sorry, I have to give the cat an enema.”  Yep, that’s my Bill.  Freddie thought that was hilarious.  The guys drank beer and talked motorcycles beyond my ability to care.  Bill would have fits of laughter so hard he would start wheezing and turn beet red.  It was a bit disconcerting but he said, “Hey, if I die; I die happy!  I love these people!”

Teresa shared that one of her dreams is to come to the U.S. and spend 4 weeks with an Amish family.  I told her that we have many Amish families near us and she was so earnest that I ask this of one.  I assured her that I personally don’t know any Amish families but if I ever heard of Amish Tourism she would be the first one to know.  She was as convinced this would be a “perfect” experience as Bill was convinced she was nuts!

Freddie’s dream is to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle along Route 66.  He even had travel brochures for organized motorcycle tour groups.  This might actually happen for them next year and their tour would start in Chicago. By the end of the evening, Bill was suggesting that we’d go along as well.

When we finally headed up to bed, I gave Bill the last dose of nighttime medicine; hoping it would calm his fits.  It did.


October 5, 2015
Nice! I'll have to borrow Bill's cat excuse sometime. That's hilarious!
October 5, 2015
I actually may be able to help fulfill the Amish experience!
October 6, 2015
No matter how rotten you two feel you manage to "keep on the sunny side" of life. I wish they had a key on this thing for music notes..Freddy and Theresa seemed to be good medicine for you two.
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