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Home Again in Pommersfelden

August 6
Written August 9

Dear Friends and Family,

On Monday morning, Marianne and I left Neustadt an der Weinstra├če for Pommersfelden.  This was a quick two-and-a-half-hour trip, almost all autobahns.  We were eager to get back home, really.

We have been gone for over a month, and we worried what the moist German summer had done for our yard and garden.  The front wasn't too bad, the plantings all surviving and not expanding too much.  The big field in back, around the orchard, was also OK.  The idea to just let it grow and mow only a few times a year seems to be working out.

The small lawn, however, was a jungle as was the tomato plot.  I had fertilized the lawn shortly before we left and that appears to have worked, although it will take more than one mowing to get things under control.  The tomatoes are surrounded by wildflowers, a semi-planned development.  We had known we would not be around much this summer to care for the vegetables we would normally plant here, so I sprinkled some wildflower seeds.  The good news is that many of them sprouted and gave us lots of color, but the bad news is that the "normal" wildflowers (= weeds) also took advantage of the vegetable plot and now we can't separate the pretty from the ugly.  I expect we will just leave everything for the winter frost in a few months.
Front, not too bad.  Back, a disaster.  Tomatoes, hidden in wild flowers.
Driveway being invaded.  Potatoes mostly dead.
Sunset as nice as usual.
No matter the yard and garden work that now faces us, it is nice to be back home.  We already have a full schedule of chores and visiting, so we won't miss the travel routine, at least for a month or so.

Overall Conclusion From Our French Trip

We traveled for five weeks and saw a great deal, mostly new places.  We now have a sense for Perigord, Bordeaux, and Brittany and would probably go back to any, but not this year!  All the hotel arrangements worked out well, thanks to Marianne's work.  Off course the best "hotels" were the homes of friends.

The eleven-year-old car held up and has now earned a service visit in the shop.  We are still not certain which car we will use for the next trip, but the Boxster is in the running.  We took a thousand or more pictures, many of which showed up in these diaries.  I will work on some of them over the next weeks and months to make larger prints.

We learned quite a bit about wine. French wine is complicated, but I hope we will at least be able to read French wine labels and wine lists.  I'm not sure our weight goals will allow us all the sampling we would need to develop real expertise, but we might try.

More than anything else, we learned more about ourselves.  We have limits to our appetite for travel.  That limit can not be said to be a certain time, or a particular number of destinations, or even one type of stop or another.  I was pleasantly surprised that we only gained a little weight, kilos we need to lose before the September trip to Italy.  A year of dieting had given us enough discipline and healthy-eating practice. 

Maybe Marianne and I have limits that we didn't have a decade ago when we traveled for months at a time.  Honestly, we had disagreements that I don't recall from our 2001-2002 travel.  I wonder, did we disagree back then or have we just let those memories disappear?  Probably both.

In any event, now we have a month at home before we travel again.  We will get all our clothes clean, our car serviced, our yard restored, emails updated, and weight brought back down.  In September, we will try the Adriatic coast of Italy.  Another story.

John and Marianne

Map home:d120806_ToHome.jpg


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