2001 USA-Germany Travel Record

October 19, 2001: Back to Herford

We will be back to Herford, from which I have started the travel in Germany. The weather is cloudy, but not rainy. Klaus took a picture for us at the canal after the breakfast. He said the place would be crowded with many people who enjoy beer halls here.

We started the hotel around nine and soon got on an autobahn. We crossed the bridge just behind the hotel and head straight west.

We took a break at a rest park. Klaus said the place was quite bleak because it was in former East Germany. While I was enjoying coffee, a sightseeing bus arrived and many tourists got in the restaurant. The room was quickly filled with smoke, yes; there are so many smokers here in Germany compared with USA. I got familiar with a doll in the shop. We were soon smoked out.

People say there is no speed limit on autobahn, because drivers run on their own responsibilities. That is not always true, however. On a foggy day like today, the signs indicate a speed limit like those, only 120 Km/hr. Outer lane is for trucks, left for passing lane, and center for cruising lane respectively.

On an autobahn, traffic signs are written in white on blue background. My husband checks the map in the assistant driver's seat. When Klaus turned the car radio, my favorite classical music of Bach and Brahms flew out. I was really moved to listen to them in the very land they were born. Yes, I am now driving in Deutschland!

"There still remains the Wall." Klaus pointed out. I could spot it and an old watchtower. What tension filled the place before the Wall was fallen down?

After four hours or so, we got out of the autobahn and entered an ordinary country road. Open rural landscape welcomes our return to Herford.

Haiku: "Wild chrysanthemums swing in an endless spread of a rural landscape"

We are looking for a good restaurant for lunch. This unusual traffic sign warns drivers to go slowly as kids may play on the road. We found a nice spot on the road.

We have many things to do here in Herford in the afternoon. First, we said hello to Kaeko's husband Mr. Witte. He is very frank and says he wants to show us his hang glider. The motor-driven hang glider already stands by at his "private runway" on the grass.

After a round flying, he asked my husband "How much do you weigh? OK, we can fly!" Before I knew, my husband was tied up at the back of Mr. Witte. The hang glider started to roar its bike engine.

The bird soon soared up and melted into the deep blue sky. The green landscape is so vast dotted with farmer's houses.

Klaus and I were waiting for their return with a little bit anxiety. The merry bird soon came in sight and landed on the grass. My husband said he was very happy just as if he were a bird by over viewing field, forests, and houses. Yes, this is his first experience to "fly" by not-a-commercial-jet.

Witte asked my husband "Can you drive a car? If so, please follow me." Witte runs on the bird and my husband slowly drive his state-of-the-art Benz sport open machine. Klaus and I followed them down to the hanger.

The machine is just arrived a few days ago. My husband is in high tension, but looks very happy, saying "The machine can drive more than 200 Km/hr on an autobahn." Oh, my God!

The hanger is a stall that occupies a half of the house. It harbors four gliders in total. The wing of a glider is tilted when parked.

Mr. Witte is a professional adventurous traveler who loves isolated places few people go. Kaeko had once traveled with him from Germany to Nepal passing through Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Witte demonstrated how to set up the room by one-touch button. Thank you Witte for a pleasant adventurous time today.

Next stop is a supermarket in downtown Herford. I found a sign like this that reads "Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement." Kaeko Witte's name is on the board. A lady in Yukata costume welcomed me with a smile.

Today, Kaeko wears Kimono and demonstrate the flower arrangement. A teashop in the supermarket sponsors the event today. Kaeko is elegantly teaching flower arrangement and tea ceremony to the guests. There are many Bonsai and flower arrangement around the corner. Japanese tea was also served to them. The teashop owner explained me in German about Yame tea, which is produced in Kyushu Island on which we live. .

A beautifully arranged flower pod makes a lady delighted.

On the table, I taught the guests and clerks how to fold a piece of paper into the figure of a crane. It was not easy to explain how to do it, but some of them could do it very skillfully. I explained in Japanese, but German ladies could understand, I believed, what I said. I was very happy.

In the evening, Klaus introduced us to his good friends Mr. Helmut Grief and Mrs. Lisa Grief who live in a wonderful house in a calm residential area. They were waiting for us today.

Helmut played piano for us, and Lisa prepared black tea for us. Helmut soon discussed many items on the future of Germany and Japan with my husband in rapid-fire tempo of questions and answers in English.

Helmut is too young to say he is 79 years old. He kindly takes us to a bad this evening. This is the very place we stayed the first night in Germany, Bad Oeyhausen. We were guided by Helmut who kindly taught us how to take bathing.

We changed to bathing suit and took shower first. There are many pools inside of the Bad. The temperature ranges from 20 to 35 degrees C. Helmut said they usually enjoy here more relaxed for a longer time, but today we could enjoy just the essence of the Bad.
In the evening, I was invited to a wonderful pub for dinner. The Griefs, Kaeko, Klaus, and we all enjoyed a wonderful tasty dinner in the cozy atmosphere pub restaurant. I have had a very busy and very pleasant one day today.

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