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Catching Up After Hungary


July 5 - August 5

Written August 6

Dear Friends and Families,


We really do like to keep a rough record of what we are doing and, mostly, this is for our own memories. We are sometimes surprised when friends and family ALSO keep track of us, but that's why we do these diaries as a website, I suppose.


After the trip to Hungary at the end of June, it's been back to "normal" life. We've collected some pictures below to illustrate what normal is nowadays. After this, it may be some time before the diary gets updated. I am going to the States for six weeks on a work assignment. Marianne will leave a week later and will be traveling to California first, before joining me in Virginia on Labor Day weekend. Then it will be three weeks more before we are home again and have a chance to catch up on diaries.


Nevertheless, we will be checking on email, so don't forget all those cards and letters.


John and Marianne.


ps: Production note: This page is way too big but this is the fastest way I know to get things down on "paper". The Hungarian trip took me far too long and now this "catch up" is being squeezed. Just remember, you don't need to read it all or you can spread it out over more than one glass of wine or beer or coke or water or ice tea etc.

=We continue to enjoy our house and finally got around to putting the plants in front into pots more suiting their size. Now if we can just get the darn things to bloom! I think the cool summer has been too much. In back, however, the grass is doing great and everything seems to be flourishing.
Small things in the yard matter, sometimes weeds... sometimes bugs And sometimes just the sun setting. (and Karl's kinetic sculpture.)
Out in the fields, the farmers are busy with wrapping hay... watching sunflowers grow... and anticipating the grain harvest.

Meanwhile, I had to dig a survey hole in the barn to see if the "foundation" will be strong enough to support Marianne's upstairs "atelier/guest-suite". It looks good.

Now, we need to get Axel to believe we need a wall of glass like this barn in a neighboring village.



I also "won" another trip to Lynchburg, Virginia. This time, I started with a train ride from W├╝rzburg, direct to the Frankfurt Airport. It worked out fairly well and we may even recommend it for when YOU come to visit. (You are coming, aren't you?)

After that, it was a standard flight to IAD, a drive down to Lynchburg, and a week of work. After that though, I got to see my East Coast kids again. Little Ryan remains a cute little guy. I also managed to help Geoff throw grass seed at the ground. We hope it grows. (I'll check in another week or two.)


After I got back, Marianne and I went to a castle a couple towns over and enjoyed a very nice ceramics show. There were many very interesting pieces, and we managed to pick up a head for the garden and a raku sculpture for the kitchen. The raku is quite subtle, the head isn't.


Late in July, Marianne joined me in a business trip up to Frankfurt. Our hotel had a wonderful view of our old home town and we were able to bring our traveling US colleagues to some of our old Hessian dinner places. And, of course, while we worked, Marianne could shop in the big city.

Our grand finale of July was a barbeque, mostly for American friends from work. Marianne had bought a wonderful new patio umbrella in Frankfurt to go with our new patio table and chairs. We imagined sitting on the patio, enjoying the German summer sun, sipping local beer and wine. Well, German weather did not cooperate, and we moved the whole crowd into our little, old barn to get out of the nasty, cold rain. I suppose it made the event memorable.
  Speaking of memory, I had a birthday but I forget which one. My story.  


Marianne and her friend Laura took an afternoon to look around Nuremberg. We normally head to Bamberg for our "city" but Laura lives a bit further south, so her "big city" is Nuremberg and she managed to show Marianne some new neighborhoods, with wonderful old buildings. One of them even had an overhanging gable, just like what we want for our new barn-atelier.


Marianne's other "job", now that she is retired, is to work on her art. She and village friend Kathy set up painting stations in our back yard and managed to put out a couple of nice pieces.



On our last weekend before we split up for travel, we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. After thinking of various places to go, we ended up going back to our neighbor, Bamberg. It remains our favorite German city, I think, and we managed to see parts we'd missed before.

The city was so busy, and the roads so torn up for repair, that we had to park much farther from the center than normal. The silver lining in that cloud was that we found a path, along the river, which we had never seen before.


That set the tone for our stay, with walks to both old and new neighborhoods.

At the end of the day, we had a leisurely dinner on the terrace of the St. Neponuk restaurant, overlooking the center of the old town.


On our return from Bamberg, we decided to take a drive, just so it would seem like we had gone away for our anniversary weekend. It was a beautiful summer day, perfect for having the top down.

Along the way, we saw a tiny road sign to the "Three-Franken Stone", so we turned off and found this little oasis, squeezed between farmland and a wild field. Here is where the three regions of Franconia meet.

The shield of Upper Franconia

The shield of Lower Franconia

The shield of Middle Franconia, with one of the Middle Franconia Fraus.




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