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June 30, 2003

Dear Friends and Family,

There are lots of Mother-in-Law jokes, many deal with visits, and none are very flattering. Well, I have to say that my Mother-in-Law just visited for two weeks and it was great. No kidding.

Magdalena arrived just after Marianne had finished her school year. She took the long flight from Fresno, California, in stride and was ready to visit and tour from the moment she arrived. When I was working, the two of them toured Frankfurt and when I could join them, we managed to go to a couple of the neighboring towns and villages.

The girls had bakery breakfasts, rode on subways, and even managed to follow me on a business trip to Erlangen. They could have fun during the day while I worked but, in the evening, everyone could enjoy an evening at a country beer garden.

A highlight of the touring was a return visit to Rothenburg ob die Tauber. We drove a rental car along the back roads and approached the walled town from the "back" side. The town information had said people with hotel reservations could drive inside the walls up to the hotel parking lot. They weren't so clear on how to locate the hotel in the medieval warren of tiny streets &endash; streets filled with other tourists.

But there are only so many passages and eventually we found our place and parked in the courtyard. We checked in and found our two adjoining rooms at the end of a crooked old hall. The rooms were small and were entered through doorways low enough for me to hit a number of times, but they set the mood for our stay in the old town.

It was fun showing Magdalena a place we'd seen before. There's a gallery of pictures below in case you too want to bring a relative back to a comfortable version of the Middle Ages.

The visit ended too quickly and Magdalena returned to the airport to fly to Vienna and continue her visit with relatives in Bratislava and Budapest. At 83, she has more energy than we do! The next day we started our own travels with Road Trip II &endash; but that's another story.

Best regards and take a mother (or father) to lunch.

John and Marianne.


Marianne and her mom at Frankfurt Airport.


Marianne and her mom had several breakfasts at the local bakery.

There was lots of on and off the U-Bahn at the girls explored Frankfurt.


Sandra, a collegue from my office in Virginia, enjoyed Magdalena and the difference she could make at a not-too-stuffy business dinner in the beer garden.



We approached Rotenberg ob die Tauber from the back side where it seemed to float over the fields.


The Rotenberg Rathaus or Town Hall was the literal centerpiece of the tourist attractions.

Our hotel had started out a few decades ago as the home of the town mayor.


Marianne and I had the two windows on the left and Magdalena had the one on the right. We looked out over the courtyard/parking lot.



Mother and child walking had-in-hand as required.


Marianne negotiated for an original CD by Boris, a street musician from Moscow. His violin was old and very worn but the sound was rermarkably good.

Rotenberg is filled with smal and not-so-small old houses. This was one of the best examples I ran across.


A favorite tourist attraction is the walkway around the fortifying wall. Looking through arrown slots out at the fieldsand approaching roads stirred up all sorts of old movie images.



From above, the wall and the old buildings inside and out seemed almost perfect preservations from the 17th Century.


However, the same tower had pictures of the damage done by a March 1945 bombing raid. Reconstructing this town was an huge accomplishment.

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