It is the 5th day in Nordfreisland for the Pope, my interpreter and me. This is northern Germany where my interpreter was born. It is the polar opposite from Berlin. Here we have vast, open green fields with thousands of sheep grazing. (Joy of joys, it' lamb season!) Little hamlets of pointed-roof brick houses. Narrow lanes that pass for 2-way streets. The ceaseless wind off the North Sea. Fish, fish and more fish.( Smoked eel and herring salad are surprisingly good.) Bicycles with baskets in front and back. Modern windmill farms everywhere. And an endless supply of phenomenal bread.
It appears I am related to everyone in this area to one degree or another. And they have all taken it upon themselves to invite the 3 of us to meals. (Breakfast continues to be the King of meals.)
Our first full day up here was at the home of Önkel Franz and Tante Dita. Breakfast lasted for 3 full hours. Önkel Franz is 90 and speaks not a word of English, but we shed some tears upon seeing each other. I did my best to follow conversations throughout our 12 hours together, but after 3 hours, my head was spinning. Tante Dita speaks the northern language of Platt Duetsch (low German) and Önkel Franz speaks Hoch Duetsch (high German). She would speak to him in low, and he would answer in high. My interpreter was doing double duty. The Pope grew terribly fond of both of them.
We visited Önkel Thomas and Tante Marlis in the Baltic Sea city of Flensberg, Germany on Saturday. Had a huge breakfast on Sunday with Tante Adele and family. Fed the belted Galloway cattle with Cousin Holge on Sunday as well, and later spent the evening with he and his lovely wife ,Anita. Monday was a 9 hour bus tour, with meals, around all of Nordfreisland with my interpreter and her highschool class reunion. (I believe I have now seen every sheep in existence here.) As soon as we were off the bus, it was over to Tante Ilse und Önkel Otto's for Abend Brot( the evening meal) where I had my first likable taste of sauerkraut. Then back 'home' to have a nightcap with cousin Johannes and his son, Tobias. This morning it was breakfast at Silke's house, who is an adopted member of Johannes' family. I believe tha makes her related to me somehow. Then into the nearby city Of Husum for lunch with my interpreter's friend, Erica, and shopping.
I am now in a state of collapse. It has been a social marathon, being Miss Popularity. I have drank more black tea, and eaten more bread, cheese, salmon and cake than ever in my life. But my congeniality banner is a bit tattered and my cranky pants were about to be hoisted up over my ankles, so tonight we are canceling plans to have a calm meal at a lovely restaurant where English will be the primary language spoken.