8-month old Lama
Before I leave Germany, I felt that I just had to do one last thing : visit my penpal Steffen.
2-year old Lama (no, this is not Steffen)
Hubby did not return home this weekend as Ferrari was celebrating its 60th Anniversary (big event, he had to make a speech etc). And as usual, when he isn't around, I refuse to hang around and mope. And funny enough, I always feel more adventurous when I'm on my own - like in the good ole days.
So I gave Steffen a ring a few days before and tried to find out what he would be up to on Saturday. Got myself invited to a BBQ.
We started writing to each other when I was 14 and Steffen 15. So we go a long way back. He knew even then what he wanted to be and in 1999, I was in the Cathedral in Speyer to watch him become a Canon. I wasn't there when he was finally ordained a Priest though. I think I was in the States then. He specialises in Canon Law and currently sits on annulation etc demands. Who knows, maybe one day he'll be at the Vatican :-). Fancy me the Agnostic telling the whole world that I know this Catholic Hotshot (haha).
View of House from Lamas' Den
It took me only 1h30 mins to drive to his place in Herxheim bei Landau. Honestly, I sucked. I should have visited him before and more often.
I was greeted at the door by an enormous black dog, Edi. He's very friendly actually and has toys everywhere lying in wait for him. Steffen showed his collection of rabbits, guinea pigs...and two (South American) LAMAS to the kids. They were thrilled. Extra-thrilled when they dug into the pile of chocolate and sweets he got them.
Playground for Adults
We went on a tour of the grounds. There is a huge home for the handicapped. A real sanctuary, there are more workers than residents there. The playground was built for adults and I couldn't help playing in it as well. And of course there's also a church. Steffen gives Mess every morning in it.
His Dad Working at the "Stove"
And then we watched Edi chase the Lamas (he accidentally got let in) as Steffen's dad screamed his head off for him to stop. God, I've not seen his parents in 8 years. They are really gentle and kind folks, the kind (don't tell it to my MIL) that you wouldn't mind having for your in-laws.
His mom's the one in Blue
We had a BBQ as planned, though inside the house as it was drizzling. He had other guests - neighbours who had helped him set up home for the lamas.
I couldn't understand anything of course, since I suspect that they didn't converse in German but in some Pfalz dialect. Even if they had spoken German I probably wouldn't have understood anyway.
I started to leave at 10pm. Only that my car wouldn't start since I've left the headlights on all this while.
Luckily his dad and neighbour were typical DIY-apt German men who opened up my car boot, started speaking Greek to me, but got the job done. I just smiled, nodded my head from time to time and occasionally looked lost and helpless. I was told when the car finally started thanks to some juice from his dad's engine, that I must keep running for at least 30 minutes and must not stop. Kids, no toilet stop, ok?
And of course 15 minutes into the journey back I had to run out of petrol.