Frau G. and I sat in front of the box of photos and papers from my time as an intern in the German Bundestag, when I was assigned to MB Dionys Jobst of the transportation committee in parliament. I was selected for the program due to my unique ability to make significant contributions to German-American relations and my deep understanding of the US highway system.
Thank goodness a sample of my important work had been preserved, for which the German and American governments had expended significant scholarship dollars to bring me and my family to Germany for one full year.
Of the many subtleties I had mastered at the Bundeshaus, none was more important than knowing what to do at 10:30 each morning–eat chocolates, have a bit of cake, and drink a fresh cup of coffee. Government was important but tasty snacks every day even more so.
After leafing through the photos I decided that I absolutely had to immediately get a couple of bicycles for our bicycle tour.
“They don’t sell bikes there.”
“Sure they do. It says so on the Internet.”
She shook her head. “In more than fifty years of shopping at Aldi I have never seen a bicycle there.”
“Trust me, I saw it on the Internet.”
“Do you want to go now? Or do you want to visit Bad Godesberg?”
Bad Godesberg is where we used to live and there were several good coffee shops and cake shops there. “Let’s go to Bad Godesberg and then buy bikes at the Aldi.”
“Okay,” she said.
We drove to Bad Godesberg and got out at Rheinallee but I couldn’t find our old studentenwohnheim. Woodrow was extremely excited to see an old apartment his parents had occupied years before he was born and where they had hung out dirty laundry and such.
The walk down memory lane ended up more if a stumble through a construction site, as they had torn up a section of road and our shoes were now covered in mud.
I poked my head into an office and asked if anyone had ever heard of the old Studentenwohnheim Rheinallee. No one had.
Before giving up completely I tried one last stop, a senior citizen residence. If the senile folks couldn’t remember it no one could. An old woman perked up. “Of course. It’s just around the corner on Herderstrasse.” It hadn’t changed at all except they made a few renovations and sold them off as luxury apartments. I showed Woodrow the balcony from whence we used to hang my underwear, he was duly impressed, and we went to the town square for coffee and cake.
“We don’t sell bikes,” said the clerk.
So I found H&S Discount Bikes and we went there; they sold bikes. I used my thirty-plus years of cycling experience to carefully select the most appropriate bike from among the hundreds on offer. “What’s the cheapest bike you’ve got?” I asked.
“It’s our Bike of the Week, for 399 euros.”
“We’ll take two, with pedals.”
Since the BOTW were in crates we couldn’t actually see them or try them on so I paid and we agreed to pick them up the next day. Then we went and had some more cake, which did not spoil our appetites because Frau G. took us over to the home of Herr H., a master chef who prepared the most amazing meal of homemade pizza and salad I’ve ever had. It was extraordinary beyond belief.
I had a second and a third slice of the amazing pizza, which we enjoyed in Herr H.’s kitchen that he had hand-built from stone and brick. Afterwards we had some cake at a cake shop and came back to Frau G.’s. “Do you want to take a shower?” was her polite way of saying that our expiration date had passed, so half of us got cleaned up and the other half went to bed.
Tomorrow the big bike ride begins and it will be interesting to see what we actually bought. Tschuss!