Wolfgang and Marcelina (Baby).

Our first stop was at Wolfgang and Marcelina (Baby) in Birkenau in the south of Germany. We arrived in the afternoon Thursday July 3. Before we left from home, we were given driving instructions, and using these instructions, I was able to find their place in Microsoft Autoroute. When we finally had to call Ate Baby, it turned out that we were almost there. Parking was a slight problem, but we were able to park the car on a sidewalk - not really legal, but everyone does it.

Dinner is being prepared. The more cooks, the merrier!

The next morning Wolfgang cuts the freshly baked bread (made in a bread baking machine). Ate Baby has a coffe machine, that turned G-I green with envy. You place coffe beans and water in it, place a cup, and press a button. The machine grinds the coffee beans, and brews the coffee unattended. G-I really went hunting for such a machine in the shops, and only by asking how we would get it serviced if it breaks down, she desisted in buying one.

Wolfgang works from home, only having to leave home for occasional meetings. So it was Wolfgang that kept us company during breakfast next day, Ate Baby had to leave early for work.

Some pictures in the evening. I brought out my big glass (a 70-200 mm f 2.8 to the initiated) to demonstrate, and Marcelina had no idea how close the picture would be.

Both Wolfgang and Marcelina enjoy gardening. For someone that actually likes plants (us), but unfortunately seem to have brown thumbs (not green), it is always impressive to see this much well tended plants. With the heat Europe has had this summer, that takes some watering.

The bedrooms: Far left is the bedroom Øyvind and GI were given. Here are more potted plants - they were everywhere where a window gives light for growing.

The kids slept on the top floor, which is Wolfgangs study, but he could work on his laptop computer elsewhere while we stayed there.

The next day we went sight-seeing in the afternoon. The goal was a town called Michelstadt - a town full of buildings built in an old style. But before we got there, we made a couple of stops on the way. The first one was in a nature park in Bergstrasse - Odenwald.

The next stop was by a lake, a dammed up portion of the river. Here Øyvind brought out his big glass again, to take pictures of the unsuspecting Wolfgang and Marcelina.

We found a place to park the cars, and then went walking around Michelstadt. Lots of old buildings, very well kept. The streets were set with cobble stones matching the old buildings.

The 'Historicher Rathaus' is a landmark in Michelstadt. It was built in 1484 in a late gothic style.

Saturday Wolfgang let Ivar and Tricia try rollerskating. Ivar used Wolfgang's, and Tricia Marcelina's. There is a story to that: Marcelina had used the roller skates only once, the skates having a mind of their own left the ground, and upon landing Marcelina broke her wrist.

Later that day we went to Hemsbach, the next town north of Weinheim. There an open air market, a kind of flea market, was arranged. This was something that was arranged only once per year.

Sunday we went to church in Weinheim. After the mass we went around taking pictures. Paula fell in love with the small cherubs, and I had to take several pictures of them (as if I wouldn't have). And afterwards, we had ice cream.

That afternoon we went to Heidelberg to see the Schloss (Palace). This is one of Germany's finest examples of grand Gothic-Renaissance architecture.

Known history of the Schloss starts in 1155. In the following centuries, the Schloss is expanded and destroyed repeatedly, sometimes by lightning, sometimes by war. In 1693 all the fortifications were destroyed by the french troops. In 1764, during rebuilding, a lightning destroyed other parts of the Schloss, causing the work to be discontinued.

After seeing the Heidelberg Schloss, we went down to the Neckar river, and had a picnic on the river bank. After a while, we attracted a number of swans. We had some sliced bread that had started going moldy, so we fed it to them.

On monday afternoon, we went to visit Ulf Moning, a friend of Wolfgang. Ulf runs a business that caters to the lovers of HiFi. Now he mainly makes speakers, but he also builds cd players (based on a Sony Playstation I). He also builds tone arms for record turn tables. He used to make turn tables also, but the market is not large enough, so he gave up that.

That evening we had dinner at an outdoor restaurant in another ruin. We were actually chasing the sunset to see the sun setting from this restaurant, which had a nice view. Alas, we were too late for the sunset, but dinner was nice.

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