Here I am eight hours into the flight to Zurich, wondering as I usually am at this time in the trip why the hell I am doing this. A year ago when the opportunity first arose, I never so much as questioned whether I should go or not; at this moment, a cup of coffee in my garden accompanied by classical music would seem to make much more sense if relaxation is what I want. It’s time for a vacation, though, I have been losing any further accrued vacation, because I have hit the six week limit.
Sometimes I have difficulty separating work and play, and this trip is a perfect example of that. The trip begins with a meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association in the city of St. Louis, France, which lies at the border of Germany, Switzerland, and France, in a region along the Rhine River known as Alsace. I simply added another week onto this to do whatever it is that people do when they vacation, such as visit castles, churches, museums, and the like. I could, in theory, spend the second week in any of the three countries, or all of them, or for that matter, any other nearby European country, and part of being the WWT leads me to keep all of these options open as long as possible.
The flight was a long one, almost twelve hours. I decided to fly all the way to Basel and get it over with, so I had a two hour layover in Zurich. At this point, I added a new rule to the WWT handbook.
Rule number 17: When traveling in foreign countries always carry a few dollars in currency for every country you may pass through. A cup of coffee or even a drink of water would have been a great source of pleasure. All of the exchanges were closed.
It happens that by now I have made many friends in France and Germany and one of my favorite ways to vacation, when I am alone, is to drop in on friends, especially when they are in a different culture. I have found this to be especially rewarding, pleasant and even efficient when one does not know the language, and when one has not had time to research the trip. One simply dumps oneself onto his friends and takes whatever they offer; it’s usually exquisite. I put the word out and started building an agenda. I identified and contacted friends in, Alsace, Cologne, Munich, and Bavaria, all being in the southern regions where I hoped the weather would still be tolerable.
I had hit pay dirt with friends offering............... no,.... insisting, that I visit them while in the area. So I set up my usual WWT (loose) plan and let it develop in real time. I had a few hard points in the trip, mostly at the beginning and the return from Zurich.
At the beginning was the annual meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association (ARA), a group that my company, MetroLaser, had just joined. I knew little about it except that it was 35 years old and had quite a few potential customers as members. Also, this meeting was being held at the Franco/Deutch Institute at St. Louis, France (ISL), a world class R&D cooperative between Germany and France that was organized shortly after World War II. I had visited twice before and had made professional friends. On each visit I had learned some extremely valuable technical knowledge, so I was looking forward to renewing some old friendships.
The ARA is a story in itself (or should I say, a phenomenon).that I must tell about separately. Basically, it contains a core of die hard weapons builders and testers who operate and support aeroballistics ranges throughout the world. These guys have worked together so long they are like a family, and this meeting was an annual social for them. Indeed, most of them brought their wives along, and after seeing so much camaraderie, I was not surprised to find that all of the wives knew each other.
Alsace has swapped owners several times in its history especially with Germany and France claiming ownership from time to time. Loaded with castles, vineyards, medieval villages, and beautiful countryside, one could spend a lot of time just wandering around here. The first night included a reception at ISL with plenty of food and drink. I met up with a few of my old friends that night. On top of jet lag, I heaped a few glasses of French wine and slept much better than expected. It was the next four nights that got me, including receptions by the mayor, a medieval dinner at Haut Kornigsburg castle, a wine tasting (better termed a ‘wine drinking’), an awards dinner, and dinner with my French friend, Paul and his wife all of which went into the wee hours of the morning.
The talks were scheduled to take about half of the time, starting at 9 AM. I knew I was in for an unusual meeting when my lunch table of six put down three liters of wine the first day. In addition to the scheduled talks, I had arranged for a few unscheduled meetings with people I suspected may have some interesting knowledge to exchange with me. The meetings easily paid for the entire trip, in one case leading to some new knowledge that I could use in my crystal growth project to save months of work, thousands of dollars, and would result in a better design.
As always when I make such trips I rediscover how illusive practical knowledge can be. In the case of my friend Gunter Smeets, a German scientist, I had his publications, had read them, had even been impressed with his work, but only when face to face with him standing in his lab playing with the knobs of the mirror mounts and seeing laser beams bouncing back and forth did I realize the significance of what he had developed. It truly had application in several areas of my own research that I would have missed had I not come to be with him in person..
We stayed in a small village, named Blotzheim. Walking around the village, I was intrigued to find in its center a square that had been named "Hillary Clinton Place". I stayed in The Hotel Captain, and unlikely name for a French hotel. I wondered if that name might sound elegant and foreign to a Frenchman. At the beginning of each night, I considered staying in the hotel and resting. Each night I ultimately opted to go along on the next event, being afraid I would miss something really neat. I was right every time. This group had somehow managed to arrange a takeover of a very special place each night. For example, they bused all 100 of us to Ribeauville, a medieval village at the base of a mountain, where we walked for about an hour through streets that were built before Columbus was born. Behind Ribeuville lay a mountain on which we could see a beautiful castle, Haute Kohnigsburg. The bus wound its way through brilliant vineyards up the mountain and the castle was ours until midnight. We were served a typical medieval dinner and even entertained by jesters. The weapons group of the ARA seemed especially intrigued by the weapons museum that sport some of the scariest looking steel gadgets one can imagine. To imagine two grown men charging each other equipped with this stuff with killing in mind is terrifying.
On another occasion, we took over a German winery where we were served dinner and six different varieties of the wineries produce. By the time we all remounted the buses, most of the participants were totally enebriated. I would not have wanted to be sober with that crowd. As I recall.........there was little danger of that.
On the last day in St. Louis, my French friend, Paul, took me for a city tour, that ended at his home, where we had dinner prepared by Marie, his wife. Paul is my Knight-brother, in an international organization known as the Order of Holo-knights. There are now six of us. Paul had knighted me in San Diego in 1995 at which time I had shown him bits of California. He seemed determined to outdo me in hospitality. And I guess he succeeded.
By Friday I was glad the meetings were over. I was saturated with new ideas, funny observations, unusual experiences with the "old farts club", and with both French and German wines. I wanted to go somewhere and be alone for a while and sleep for about three days solid. I had planned next to join my astronaut friend, Ulf Merbold in Cologne. At the last minute he had to make a trip out of town and apologized, hoping I could visit him later in the week (which we did finally arrange). I was almost glad for the unscheduled free time.
During the week I had heard a number of conversations about things to see. One of the closest was Freiburg, a university town not far from St. Louis. One of my American friends at the meeting, Steve, offered to drop me off there on Saturday. I accepted. I used my usual walk and look method for locating a hotel. Hotel Victoria, near the station fit my needs perfectly. My original plan was to take a nap immediately, but the lure of the village won out and I headed for Aldstadt (old town).
In Germany, a few translations are extremely useful, as I pointed out in WWT Series 4.
Stadtmitte: center of town (almost always where the main train station is located)HBF: Haute Bon Hauf or main train station WC: Toilet Damen: Women Herren: Men I should add to these Aldstadt: The old or original town. Dom: cathedral (always worth seeing)
I love to walk the towns of Europe by night or day, and the Europeans apparently do also. Their towns are set up for walking with always something to see. Right in the center of old town sat the huge Muenster (a class of Dom). A famous statue on this cathedral is a golden angel blowing a horn. Okay, where is the angel? I walked all around the building, inside and out........no angel......Well at least not THE angel. (There were a million angels of other types). Finally I worked my way up the 500 steps of the tower. The stairway spirals up and is so narrow in some places that sweezing by oncoming traffic gets downright personal.
At the top, a narrow gallery surrounds the tower providing a striking view of Freiburg. Having walked almost around the tower, I encountered about ten Japanese tourists who could not decide whose photo to take next. Getting by them would be impossible, so I paused for a look over the edge. Climbing upon a bottom rim of the wall allowed me to look over and almost straight down. And when I did, I saw her, standing just below me, proudly blowing that long horn. I could have sworn she winked at me, and I realized that I had found Synchreau, my angel of syncronicity, right here on the top to the Freiburg Muenster. She seemed to be pointing to something below. After some straining I could just barely make out the name of the restaurant she was pointing to, "The Goldener Engel"; she was telling me where to have dinner the next night (which I did). Later, from the ground I could barely make out the shape of this sculpture, and I realized why I could not find her before.
After climbing the tower I was ready for sleep. I crashed for the next twelve hours.
Sunday: While walking the streets of Freiburg, I began noticing the numbers of concerts available on practically any day or night. Since I needed a concert for the course in music appreciation I was taking, I decided to choose one and see if I could get in. Okay, there’s one that looks good, Bach’s Brandingsburg Concertos (which I knew well), presented by the "Frieburg Barocksolisten" (I was not completely sure what that was, but later learned that it is a world class chamber orchestra with several well known recordings.). The only problem was that since it was Sunday, everything was closed (a curious German custom) and I could not buy tickets. I could figure out with my limited German that the ticket office opened about an hour before the concert.
The concert was held in an old restored 14th century market building (The "Kaufhaus"). When I arrived, the only person present was a man tuning the harpsichord.. When finally someone showed at the ticket table, she spread out a large sheet of paper with seating arrangements. She asked me where I wanted to sit. "What ever is the best seat I can get." was my reply. For a moment it looked like the best thing left was a corner rear seat, which was okay with me since it was a small room with seating for less than 200 people. Then she said, "Wait!, did you say just one? Then there is a single seat in the front row, center." I had lucked out" and wound up practically sitting in the lap of a gorgeous violinist.
The next two hours may have represented the most exciting, eye-opening, insightful moments in my new quest for music appreciation knowledge. I think that I must have read just enough of the course textbook to be able to appreciate what I was seeing. From the program I could see that the "Lietung", Gunter Theis, whom I guessed was the conductor also was an oboist. There were sixteen instruments, including oboes, violins, violas, cellos, horns, flutes, a "querflote", a "faggot", (which later I figured to be a basoon) and a "cembalo" (which I later figured out was a harpsichord). The group took seats after a brief applause and with little hesitation after a silence fell over the audience began to play (concerto in F, number 1046), first with the lead oboe.
I realized that Gunter was not only playing the oboe, he was directing the group with his body language and the sound from his oboe. Immediately I could hear the different instruments talk to each other, first the oboe, then a response from a violin, repeating what the oboe had said, but with a different voice, then second and third violins joining in. I watched and listened to these dialogues between instrument pairs followed by group conversations between all of the instruments. The base provided a background of up and down sounds around which the sounds of all other instruments danced. The sound of the harpsichord was so delicate that it could hardly be identified except in pauses between other instruments. As if out of respect, the other instruments would purposely fade into the background occasionally for the harpsichord.
The second movement was concerto in D number 1050, a concerto especially for the "cembalo" and "streicher" (I learned later that "streichers" includes all of the strings that were played with bows). The concert is mostly upbeat beginning with an allegro, followed by an "affetuoso" and ending with an allegro. The allegros are designed to let the harpsichord go wild, with everyone else sort of taking a break while this musician (who really seemed fantastic) worked up a real sweat. He appeared as though he was in ecstasy.
The third movement (concert in G, number 1048, was primarily for violins, and the last, (concert in D, number 1047) featured a funny looking trumpet (curled in a circle). At the end of the last movement, the audience was so excited (including myself) that we applauded until our hands hurt, and finally convinced the group to return and replay parts of the last movement. I had never gotten so much into applause before and was starting to feel like one of those screaming Beetles fans, as we continued applause to bring the group out for three encores.
I had been in conversations before where the value was discussed of one type of recording over the other, how CDs, disks, tapes, and different orchestras made such an important difference upon the true enjoyment of music, how 100 watts and subwoofers outdid 50 watts and conventional speakers. As I watched the communication and excitement between these musicians, the body language of the conductor, accompanied by his wiping oceans of sweat from his brow, the smile of the violinist, the intense dedication of the harpsichordist, the teamwork and camaraderie of everyone in the orchestra, the excitement of the audience, the ever-present goosebumps on my on skin and an occasional welling up and chilling inside, I suddenly realized how trite such conversations are. Such a quantum leap existed for me in going from sitting in a living room listing to a CD as compared with sitting in this 15th Century Kaufhaus with the orchestra, that the experience was not even in the same league. A few days later, in Munich, at my friend Hans’ home I listened to a top recording of the Brandenburg Concerts on a high quality stereo, and hardly recognized it as the same work. Maybe the recording was better. You don’t have to ask me which I liked best. The music held our attention for a few minutes before falling into the background of our conversation.
(Upon returning the US I did discover that I have a renewed excitement for recordings of the Brandenburg concertos as a result of this experience. As I drove to work a few days later, I found myself hoping I would hit red lights to give me more time to complete the concerto on my way to work.)
I had communicated with a student at the University of Stuttgart who could be an employment candidate for MetroLaser. Since I was headed in that direction I decided to stop over for the night and see if I could meet him for dinner and check out the possibilities. I usually pay attention to coincidences and syncronicity and the timeliness of my passage through Stuttgart seemed to be to much of a coincidence to pass up. Speaking with him briefly on the phone worried me a little because his English was a little weak, but I was now committed.
I began to check out the possible train routes. I noticed that my train to Stuttgart was passing not far from Strasbourg, France, a city I had been hearing about for several days, primarily because of the spectacular cathedral there. I determined that I could hop off the train at Oldenburg and make a side trip to Strasbourg. Leaving my bags in a locker at Oldenburg, I was on a train for Strasbourg 5 minutes after leaving the first train.
Some of the cathedrals in Europe such as the Strasborg cathedral are mind boggling. Considering that the structure was begun in 1048 and is still not completed (a thousand years under construction) it should not be too surprising that its massiveness, detail, and abundance of sculpture and art is overwhelming. The mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque, combined with the 500 foot climb to the tower, made my three hour 8 dollar side trip well worth while.
When I arrived back at Oldenburg, I had a brief panic when the lockers where I left my bags had disappeared. Before concluding I had wound up in a different station, I realized that I had gotten off in a different part of the station. That’s not the first time I had made this mistake. (In Bremen, I had followed the locals out the rear of the station). I was on a train headed for Stuttgart five minutes later.
Stuttgart violates one of Trolinger’s European travel laws and proves that all rules have exceptions. I was not the least bit worried about finding a hotel when I walked out of the front of the station. Panic set in when I saw no sign of a hotel. (Well there was one IN the station but who wants to stay IN the station (besides.........it was booked up). I hit the streets in a light rain. After walking a kilometer I found a hotel.........it was booked. The lady told me my only chance was to go to the tourist office.
This is the first time I had ever gotten a hotel from a tourist office (Please don’t tell anyone). The only way I could get a hotel in Stuttgart was to learn to ride the subway to the outskirts of town. All ended well with a good nights sleep in a quaint old Gassthoff located above a restaurant. Actually, the whole affair was sorta fun.
The meeting with the student went less well. I was surprised to find out that he was Chinese, not German, and I hope his German was better than his English. I’m afraid it was not. To say the least we had a struggle communicating simple thoughts. I had a hard time explaining that I needed his resume. Actually, it didn’t matter anyway.
Tuesday: Ulm/Munich/Prien at Chiemsee
After hopping on the Stuttgart U and riding a few stops, I had just enough time to stop in a grocery in the station and pick up a couple of bottles of "Trollinger" before running for my train to meet my friend Hans in Prien. The region around Stutgart is the region from which my forefathers left to come to America in the early 1600’s. Having come here from Tyrollia, they were called "The Tryol Linger (Tyrol people)" which eventually was shortened to Trollinger. They had left their name on a grape in the Wurttemburg region near Stuttgart and a lot of the best wines are "Trollingers". Unfortunately, they drink most of what they produce, so one must come here to get a Trollinger. I had heard rumors of a "Trollinger Castle ruin in the region and wondered if some day I would find it. I had even heard of one of the Trollinger wine labels that featured a picture of the castle, and I had hope to bring one back. Just as I was racing by the window of a grocery, I glanced back and saw such a label but I was out of time and I assumed I would see this bottle again. I should not have passed up this chance.
The trip to Munich and Prian took me through a lot of cities and beautiful countryside. The trees were in their full fall color and even some of the vineyards had turned a blinding yellow. Somehow I felt a familiarity with the region unlike any other part of Germany. I could easily see why my forefathers may have chosen North Carolina in which to settle, since the countryside was quite similar as is the climate. I wondered why they had left such a beautiful place.
Riding the train gives one a good view of countryside, and since trains always pass through the center of the cities, one also gets a quick look at the city. One striking example is Ulm. As soon as we approached the city, I could see the towering Dom cathedral. At this point I had no knowledge of a spectacular Dom at Ulm. I grabbed my camera, opened the train window and waited for a good shot. Just as we crossed a river bridge at the edge of town, I got a spectacular look at the Dom and the town skyline. (Also a good picture). This Dom is so spectacular, it must be written up. I checked out the tourist guide. "The Dom at Ulm has the highest tower in the world and was on of the most important religious structures in the old world," the book said. It continued, "The best view of the Dome is from the edge of town looking across the Danube river. One of the great pleasures of being the WWT is to truly enjoy a random discovery then find out later in the tourist guide that it is not to be missed. I had just done this in Ulm. But I must go back now and climb this tower.
When I dismounted the train at Prian, my plan was to look for the "Yachotel, Prien, which Hans had reserved for me. To my great surprise I immediately ran straight into Hans and his son Mathius. How on earth did they happen to be a the station at just the right time? I had just happened into Han’s plan for me which I had not understood before. The Yachotel was located just at the edge of the Chiemsee, the largest lake in Bavaria. In the distance I could see the Bavarian Alps. Hans drove me around the lake showing off the local scenery which included a few Bavarian Villages, a monastery, old churches, and his own home which lay on a hillside overlooking the city of Amerang. The Bavarian region of Germany is the most beautiful part of Germany I have seen to date.
I was struck by the Russian look of some of the architecture. Hans, an avid historian explained to me that the architectural form was in Bavaria before it appeared in Russia.
I have been attempting to help Matheus find a temporary job in the U.S. and Hans and Matheus were without limit in showing their appreciation. The weather cooperated and I had two beautiful sunny days to tour the area. Bavaria is, indeed, the most beautiful part of Germany.
I just realized that the German lady sitting across from me on the train has been talking non stop for the last 45 minutes. The gentleman sitting next to her occasionally throws in a "ya Ya", or even a sentence now and then, but honest to God, she even interrupts those. Fortunately she is not too loud, so it’s funnier than it is irritating.
Fooling around on the trains of Europe always makes me suspicious about the reality of my world. This morning, after convincing myself that I should not lay in bed all day, I took a taxi from the Yachhotel to the station. At the station I bought a ticket for Munich on a train that would leave in three minutes. I still had not made a plan for the day, since I was waiting to see what weather would permit. By the time I arrived in Munich, I realized it would be a perfect day for walking around Munich for a while, so I got off the train, shoved bags into a locker and hit the streets.
Munich is a beautiful city, and the interesting walk begins at the station. A portal opens the way to a wide pedestrian street that contains a mixture of all variety of stores and public buildings, a cathedral, and even a Dom that I could see in the distance. I had no particular objective here except to see some of Munich then head on to the Bodensee early enough to meet friends in Friedrichshaffen. In this kind of walk one really does not need an objective. There are so many interesting things to see, all one needs to do is wonder around and keep ones eyes open. Just for kicks I decided that I would look for a grocery store or wine shop to see if I could buy one of the Trollinger wines with the castle on the label. This led me to a strange observation. I saw candy stores, barber shops, two Woolworth’s, three erotica stores, about 10 tobacco shops and a McDonalds. But no grocery store or wineshop.
Then I ran into the famous glockenspiel clock along the terrace where the men walk around and strike the bells, knights ride into jousts, and jesters dance about. I had seen this clock in story books all my life. I had no idea that I would see it today. The time was 11:00 AM. Just as I walked up the action began. I stood around and gawked with five hundred other tourists.
After walking for two hours I headed back for the station, bought a ticket and within five minutes was on the train headed for Lindau, on the Bodensee. I did not even have time to visit the WC. But I did have time to pick up a sandwich and water on the street. I had learned my lesson with the eight dollar sandwich on the train from Stuttgart. Even then I couldn’t resist the two dollar cup of coffee. Lindau was the closest city I could find with a direct train, being about 15 miles from where I wanted to be. As usual, I figured that I would do this serially, figuring out how to get to Fredrichshaffen after I got to Lindau. That brings me back to the German lady across the isle; she is still yacking away.
Thursday and Friday: Lindau/Friedrichshaffen/Meersburg
Lindau is a beautiful island with a medieval town on an island in the Bodensee. I had just time to walk out of the station and see that I wish I could stay here a few hours. My best move was to get back on a train for Fredrichshaffen leaving in 10 minutes. I had agreed to meet friends at a company called Dornier before days end. Time was getting tight........three o’clock already.
Freidrichshaffen was 20 minutes away. At this point I stumbled onto a Europcar rental place and found that I could solve the remainder of my travel plans with my own car by renting a car that I could drive back to Zurich, which was only an hour and a half away.
By the time I had reach Dornier, my plan had taken on a change. Ulf Merbold had left word with the guard gate. One way or another we were going to get together. The people at the gate were all excited that THE Ulf Merbold, Germany’s most famous astronaut, had actually called and they had spoken with him. (He had set the European record for space time on the Mir space station in 1995). That night at the hotel, I asked if I could reserve another room for a friend who would arrive the next day. The lady told me that she had only one room left that was small and facing the street. After telling her it would do, she asked me for his name. As soon as I said "Ulf Merbold" she perked up. Oh.....Oh.....for Herr Merbold, we must find a better room." The hotel suddenly grew some new rooms in prime locations.
I picked him up at the Friedrichshaffen airport the next day. He had flown his own plane from Cologne. Our original plan was to go back up and fly over the area for a while, but the heavy fog in the area made that rather pointless. Instead, we headed off by car. He had grown up in this area and he seemed excited about showing it off to me. I could see why.
My wish to see more of Lindau had been granted. We drove back and walked this fourteenth century island town where most of the structures were built before 1500. Ulf insisted on buying me a bottle of what is his favorite "Trollinger", a spretsal (a German pretzel) and then off to Meersburg. By now I had inadvertently acquired more wine than I could carry. I begin to wonder if I should jettison some clothes. Ulf is one year younger than I. Although much of our talk was about scenery and local history, we also spent several hours discussing what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. We came close to deciding that Ulf should do at least one more space flight. I learned for the first time that he had escaped East Germany one year before the wall came down.
Meersburg is even more exciting than Lindau featuring its own castle and a winery where the farmers were still unloading the grape harvest of the day. We talked with them for a while and they explained that the price they get for the grapes depends not on volume alone, but also on sugar content, which is measured on the spot by an optical tool that is based on total internal reflection. We wandered about the city ultimately winding up in an old "weinstubb" for dinner. We learned that the building had been the center of a fire in 1500 that practically wiped out the town. The nickname "Hell" had been given to the structure. I wondered how long it would take for someone in the town to recognize Ulf. It finally happened in the restaurant, when someone sitting across from us made him. The cat was out of the bag, and everyone wanted to say something to him. Ulf was extremely nice to each one, and after a few minutes disruption we were able to continue our conversation. When finally we left, everyone, including the chef wanted to shake his hand.
By this time I had observed a pleasant custom of the region. People actually speak to each other, even strangers. When one walks into a restraint, he greets everyone in the restaurant, and when he leaves, everyone, clients and employees shout out a friendly "auf Wiedersehen". Again, I noted a custom much like that in my own home town, a custom I had long since given up since moving to the big city.
Saturday: Zurich and back home
I dropped off Ulf at 8 AM and headed for the Bodensee (Lake Konstanz) ferry. A light rain made driving a little hectic and the view from the ferry was quite limited. I felt a little nervous about this operation. I was to drive from Friedrichshaffen Germany to Zurich, Switzerland and be on a plane at 1PM. Ordinarily, a trivial matter. In such a case I realized that I was counting on being able to find my way through whatever communication obstacles exist to prevent this from happening. I made it to Konstanz, across the Bodensee without a hitch. Here I made the mistake of following Zurich signs instead of looking for the Autobahn. I should have followed the autos that left the ferry in accordance with the WWT DoWhaLDo principle number 5 (When in doubt, do what locals do, no matter how stupid it looks). Apparently, the Swiss think that if you want to get to Zurich fast, then the obvious goal would be to find the Autobahn. It’s so obvious that they don’t even need to tell you. What I discovered is that following Zurich signs was taking me on the not so obvious back roads. Although that definitely is the most scenic route, I wasted half an hour before realizing my folly. What finally gave it away was coming upon two signs to Zurich, one green, one blue.......in two different directions. Since the signs I had been following were blue, I decided to switch to green. Five minutes later I was doing 150 Km/hour on the autobahn. I was in the Zurich airport in 20 minutes with time to burn. Only two U-turns and one mild panic for the day left me feeling I was either getting luckier or planning too much.
Once again I had verified the WWT principle of mature bureaucracies. When a bureaurocracy becomes mature, it attempts to convey so much information that it achieves transformation of almost no useful information.
Nevertheless, in the entire trip, I had not been seriously lost a single time. I seem to be violating my own rule which says "When you’ve been in a place long enough that you no longer find yourself getting lost, it is time to move on." I began to wonder if I should rephrase this rule. Maybe there really is no meaning to the expression "getting lost", since I always seemed to find good things to see whether I was lost or not.
I forgot to mention, that while I was visiting Hans’ home, my friend Werhner, from Bremen called and invited me to come to Bremen next October. "Of course", I said. " I’d love to!"