Friday I took the train for 10 hours from Irdning (did I mention that Alli is a GOOD friend?!) Alli met me at the train station and I invited her to dinner at the local Döner shop. Döners are a little bit like gyros or schwarma, and the ones in Betzdorf are the best I've ever tasted. We then proceeded to her hometown which consists of (I am not making this up) two houses and several farm buildings. We were warmly received by her mom, dad, and grandmother. Because it was so cold, we sat on a bench next to the wood burning stove in the entry way, drinking wine and eating peanut flips (like cheese curls but peanut flavored). We stayed up til 2:30 am talking !
The next day Alli's dad set off for a motorcycle ride to Austria. When Charly left, Alli and I drove into Betzdorf to pick up her friend Todd who had taken a night train from Paris. We went shopping, then returned to Schmalenbach and had a fabulous breakfast. Todd was ready to "crash and burn" (one of my favorite expressions) so Alli and I went on a tour of the region. Oh.my.goodness, what a beautiful area she lives in! We visited the castle in Crottorf which is still the residence of Count Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg-Dönhoff, and the charming town of Freudenburg with its "zebra houses." When we got back, Alli's uncle Peter and Aunt Ruth from Dortmund had arrived. We had coffee and cake with them, then started cooking for the evening meal. We had been invited for a BBQ but the weather was not cooperating.
We went for a nice walk with Aunt Ruth, then we all got ready for church. Alli's father in law died a couple of days before, and her husband and kids were in Michigan. So we went to a mass at exactly the same time as the funeral so that we could stand in solidarity with Brian and his family.
When we got back from mass, the real festivities began. We were joined by Alli's brother Volker and his wife Steffi, Alli's friend Birgit and her daughter Michelle. There were 10 of us at dinner which lasted well into the morning hours. I think I went to bed at 1:00 am, and had to get up relatively early the next morning to begin my journey home. Alli's mom, Christl, made me a nice lunch to take on the train with me, and Alli and Todd took me to the train station. Ten hours (!) later I was back in Irdning.