Our next destination will be Vienna, where we are visiting family. Most Europeans would make this trip on the train. When we looked into it, we got the impression that two train tickets would cost about the same as one rental car and a car gives the flexibility to start and stop wherever one wishes. Getting to and from a train station can also be pricey, but driving a car involves fuel costs and gas here is $$$. Being Americans we chose a car. At home we shopped around online and made a reservation with Budget. Imagine our shock when we traveled back to the airport on the light rail to pick up the car and discovered that Budget has gone out of business in Germany. The first rental counter we tried quoted us a price double what we had expected. Our hearts sank. Then we tried Avis who was expecting us. Budget had transferred our reservation to them, but no one had told us. Heart attack averted. With the GPS and Hartmut in the back seat, the drive back to Munich was quick and easy.
In all our visits here we have come to know and enjoy Hartmut's children who are now young adults with families of their own. Barbara lives in the Olympic Village in Hartmut's old home and has been hosting us every evening. Her son is still somewhat shy with us, but their two young cats have provided us with hours of laughter and cuteness.
Today we traveled to Rupert's home near the Oktoberfest grounds to meet the rest of the family once again. Four grandsons and all but one of the spouses gathered around the table and much conversation flowed. All but the tiniest members of the family speak English, although the conversation careened back and forth between the two languages and Ken was occasionally left in the dark. It's great to see these fine young people well established with their careers and family life. Hartmut is justifiably proud of them all. Rupert's home is large and the little ones left us quickly after the meal to play loudly and gallop around. Occasionally we were in the action and Ken used his two German words - "Why?" and "Really?" to great effect when the little ones talked to him. When I spoke German one of the boys looked at me quizzically. He had never heard such a strange accent before! We are far away from home, but felt right at home today.