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April 14, 2002
Back to Bad Gödesburg (Russell)

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A long-craved "Care package" from home: Rick Steves tour books for the UK and Ireland, Benadryl, Chex Mex, and assorted treats

When we last left our friend Jayne in Bonn, Deutschland four months ago on New Year's Day, we hoped that we would have the opportunity to visit her again before we left Europe.  As it turned out, Jayne's location in Bad Gödesburg would make a very good "pit stop" for us before we headed back into France for the last time.  We wanted to have Russell's sister send us some more supplies from the U.S., and Jayne volunteered her address.  We wanted to completely empty out our car and repack our suitcases before we got on an airplane again.  We wanted to pack up some more boxes to send home.  We wanted to do laundry in a real washing machine.  But most of all, we wanted to see Jayne again (Joss was especially excited about seeing her).

Jayne was able to book us a room at the Hotel Haus Berlin, just a block away from her apartment.  She also began researching excursions and attractions in the area, until we told her that we really didn't want or need to do anymore "touring."  That was not the purpose of our visit.

On April 12th, we drove southeast from België back into Deutschland.  We were pleased with ourselves that we were able to navigate all the way back to Rheinallee in Bad Gödesburg without any instructions (well, we did make a couple of wrong turns, but we got there in the end and we were still pleased with ourselves).  At the Haus Berlin, our room was -- as usual -- up two flights of narrow stairs (as planned, we unloaded all five suitcases and the rest of the contents of our car).  While we were all technically in one "room," Cameron and Joss' beds were actually up a spiral staircase in the loft, with a door separating them from us.  This made the room much more spacious; the boys were able to spread out their Lego upstairs, while the adults spread out the contents of their suitcases downstairs.

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Trying to organize the mess of our travel lives

Jayne had other obligations on that first evening, so Gail and Russell walked the several blocks downtown and brought back some take-out McDonald's for dinner (this was the same McDonald's where we had felt so brave speaking German for the first time four months ago -- coming back, ordering in German was a breeze).  Just as we reached the hotel, Jayne came bicycling by on her way out.  There were hugs and greetings all around, and we made plans to meet up again in the morning.

The next two days were filled with chores and chatting.  Our accommodations included breakfast, and it was the best we'd had in a long time.  After weeks of bread and jam, we had a new appreciation for fruit cocktail, yogurt, fresh fruit, and toast -- in honor of the toaster, we even unpacked our cinnamon from Crest.   Russell spent the bulk of his time on chores.  He packed six boxes to ship home -- four of them containing books.  He offloaded thousands of digital photos onto CDs using our CD burner, so we could ship that home as well.  He also borrowed some of Jayne's music CDs and transferred them to the Nomad Jukebox.

In between doing loads of laundry, Gail was able to spend a lot of time chatting with Jayne.  It was wonderful to have someone besides the "three men" to converse with, and Gail and Jayne talked about books, film, politics, travel, culture, and just about anything else that came to mind.  Jayne had just purchased Michael Moore's bestseller, "Stupid White Men", and Gail read through as much of it as she could before we left.  In return, we donated all of our used books and travel books to Jayne (we also gave her two board games).

We also finally got to meet Barb, Jayne's American neighbor who had lent us her apartment in December while she was back home in the US.  Barb became an instant friend, and the six of us went out for Turkish/Armenian food for dinner on April 13th.  Afterwards, Cameron and Joss introduced Barb and Jayne to all of their stuffed animals -- Cameron lowered them from the loft one-by-one on his rope, and Joss did the formal introductions.

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With Barb, dining "al fresco" in downtown Bad Gödesburg

The most exciting thing we did during our three days in Bad Gödesburg was to watch the Bonn Marathon pass by down the street.  Other than that, we neighbored like couch potatoes.  Gail and Jayne cooked pasta for dinner on the third night, and we all sat and watched Jayne's "Galaxy Quest" DVD (on Russell's DVD player routed through Jayne's television set).

By the end of our stay, all of our things roughly fit back into our five suitcases and miscellaneous carry-on bags again.  All of our laundry was clean again.  And we felt a little bit more relaxed and refreshed again.  We don't know when -- or where -- we will see Jayne next; but in the meantime, we have had a wonderful visit that we hope will hold us for awhile.

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Jayne, with her gift pile of used tour books


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