iiiiiAugust ii September ii October ii November

October 13 - Bad Kreuznach, Germany

After a five-day hike high above the Rhine and Nahe rivers I have arrived at the city of my birth - yes, I was born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. I guess it is quite fitting, that on a soul searching adventure such as this that I should return "home". I believe, however, that I came here, quite honestly, to experience some of the sights that my parents shared when they were "courting" - a pre-birth experience - per se. I have no memories of this beautiful town in my conscious mind, and everything I sought out was but experiences/locations shared by my loving parents. My dear mother spent the years of World War II here - the Nazi "occupation", the bitter cold winters of the war and the allied bombing (Christmas Eve and New Years Eve!). I knew the address where she once lived, and while most of the town was quite destroyed, I sought out Baderallee 2, to see the spot where she once lived. Much has changed, and I spoke to many of the older citizens in the neighborhood to get their recollections of the way things were. I stood there on Baderallee, and thought of my mother - what an experience this must have been. After the war she met my dear Dad, who was stationed here as a young soldier in the U.S. Army. Homesick, he told his mother how things were, and she told him to find a nice German girl and marry her - which he did. My sister, Kay, and I were both born here. I confess, I was not overwhelmed with the return home, as my heart is still in Heidelberg, Germany, where I spent my formative years. Still - this was a wonderful experience - thanks Mom & Dad - for everything! All my love to you from Bad Kreuznach - And happy anniversary - October 10!

So - my trek along the Rhine River - that brought me here - was an arduous but beautiful walk high above the river valley. Years ago I tried to walk this same path but lacked the proper maps and experience and cut it short - opting instead to walk along the river in the valley below. This year, with confidence, I managed to find my way through a maze of trails through the beautiful woods and wine country. Managed to sleep two nights in some huts in the woods, and pitched a tent in the rain on the third night. By the fourth day the horrible rain had subsided, and I walked beneath blue skies - still quite cold at night. Opting for a "frei-zimmer", I spent this night indoors, as I wanted to see the final match of the women’s soccer world cup - Germany won in over-time over Sweden - watched the match in a Gasthaus in the village of Spabrucken - stayed in the only "hotel" in town. The trail itself took me along the upper ridges of the Rhine valley, and only an occasional trip down into the quaint towns along the river. Managed to descend to the village of Boppard, which is most typical of the tourist magnets along the Rhine - beautiful, quaint and romantic, but almost like a Hollywood set - almost surreal.

Having made my way to Bad Kreuznach, I had planned on continuing on to Worms - another great cathedral town on the E8. As I am to meet my cousin's husband in Metz, France on the 18th for an extended walk in France - part of the Saint James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella - I had to re-think my schedule. I do not believe I can complete the next leg to Worms, comfortably, and still take the train to Metz, so I believe I'll stop here, take the train to see my aunt in Karlsruhe, Germany and venture forth from there - via Heidelberg - once again to my cousin's home in Flossdorf. From Flossdorf we will catch a ride to Metz together, and I feel better going with him, as opposed to trying to meet up with him in France. So - its off to Karlsruhe - I need a new pair of shoes anyway - have walked through this pair - literally!