August 15, 2006. We left for Munich, arriving the next morning. The flight over
was a good one. Dirk met us at the airport with the his friend Gerhardt and his
red 1961 NewYorker with the new taillight we had sent him from America. It was
exciting to meet him and sometimes we spoke so quickly that Dirk told us to slow
down a bit. It was also a funny joke that our luggage matched his car. It was
beautiful and meticulous in every way. The tree guys talked the whole way back
to Rosenheim. They were like school boys at Christmastime! We would later have
dinner at "Gretels Steakhouse".
The next morning we left for "Pendling."
A much higher Alp than we climbed in May of 2005 (Kufstein). Dirk, Anthony,
Gerhardt, his dog Nicky and I began our climb. Nicky was the mascot for our
whole trip. We only stopped once to rest. At times, I got a little fatigued, but
I never let on to the guys! The air got a little thinner the higher we went.
What gorgeous views. God's great handiwork was evident all around us.
reached the summit we had lunch and drinks. Anthony asked for Coca Cola of
course, which was laced with beer. I met the owner, who had years earlier
carried a pregnant woman down the mountain. He didn't speak English, but Dirk
interpreted. He seemed to enjoy having Americans in his establishment.
As we made our way around the top knob of the mountain to start our descent, I
spotted a single, wooden cross rising so majestically. Gerhardt took mine and
Anthony's photo with the cross. It is one my favorite photos. We also saw
several airplanes flying down in the valley below us.
Friday, August 18th. Leaving Rosenheim for Father Manfred's in Meggenhofen
Austria. We stopped at Burghasen Austria and spotted the most beautiful castle
on the next hilltop. It was huge with multiple turrets. The next stop was a
shrine where we all pulled off the right side of the berm. Food and champagne
We arrived in Rosenheim and our group brought our cars into
the "Rose Garden." A special place. The parish house was a hub of activity. When
he saw Anthony and I, he lit up and ran to us. Anthony got a handshake and I got
a kiss on both cheeks and then on the lips!
Oh, how the Parishioners talked!
He had also instructed his assistants to charge us
nothing - we were his American guests. Later on, with Dirk driving and
Anthony and I in the back seat, Dirk to me to "take care" for the way we were
going to Manfred's house as we would be staying there as his guests. Father
Manfred's house is still new and he doesn't live there. Very nice, his
flowers needed watering so I watered them.
R.E Olds, The Founder of
Saturday August 19th. We
drove the Imperial up the hill toward the Parish grounds where the rally was
taken place. Then we turned left to got Dirk and Gretel's Bed and Breakfast
to have breakfast and to pick them up. We then drove to the Parish grounds
for the rally. Once we arrived Father Manfred leaned in the window and asked
Anthony; Where in the hell did you go? As other cars
drove in, he gave a dissertation on the cars. He had done it for the
Imperial and then we turned the other way and left and went to the B&B.
Later on the rally started, when it was our time to depart,
Father Manfred announced us ... and we had come
all this way to see Meggenhofen. Later on a lovely reporter would also
Sunday August 20th. Father Manfred used a high lift to
perform the blessings. Father Manfred had also started Austria's Land Rally
year ago and the Church did not like the use of the Church properties for an
old timers rally, but could not stop him for his rank. Franz Hoffer would
arrive in his 1903 Oldsmobile and would show all photos.
(In June of
2009, we would attend a vintage car show in Columbus Ohio, whereas we met
the great-granddaughter of R.E. Olds who founded Oldsmobile. She told us of a man she had met in London who was infatuated with the
fact that she was the heir of RE Olds. At the same time we said Franz Hoffer. She was taken back. What
a small world we all said. Years after that Franz would set a well
publicized record as being the oldest car to ascend Grossglockner).
We would get the gifts
we brought Manfred out of the Imperial and we all went inside. We gave him
the gifts one by one. He seemed to enjoy the photo album and the coin album
I had been filling up for him of American State Quarters. He also smiled
when he opened up the Star Spangled Pen. We would also take a walk to the
local Church where we noted how central the church was to the community.
From birth, marriage to children and yes death.
Monday August 21,
2006. We got to Frau Mair's house to meet D&G for breakfast by 8:30. We
purchased 2 jars of Herr Mair's homemade Honig (Honey). We then made it to
Manfreds. He took us to Bauernmuseum in Waizenkirchen. The museum held many
artifacts going back to the 1400's. To travel Europe in 2005 and now
in 2006 with Father Manfred was a joy. I mean how many has the
to have a guide whose words brings history alive as though you were
Museum & Official Restoration
August 23, 2006; The
Daimler Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. We arrived at the Museum and the staff
had us park both Imperials near the flag poles at the entrance to the
museum. We were met by a greeter who was expecting us. The museum tour began
on the 8th floor and then spiraled down. I especially liked the Popemobile
and Princess Diana's Mercedes. We finished at the Museum around 2:30 P.M and
it was time to go to the Daimler Mercedes Official Restoration facilities.
We entered the facilities and were taken back to where the King of
Spain and of Jordon were having two cars repaired. We later learned that
they had ceased operations and that we had been provided a private tour.
Laffen & Future
We would arrive at our next
stop. A Guesthouse
and Winery in Laffen Germany. It
was a beautiful place with a back patio with a huge meeting and breakfast
room and beautifully appointed sleeping rooms.
That evening, we went to Alte Weinstube Sonne
Restaurant. But before arriving, we would get into the transportation of Eierhard. I went to the back seat and Dirk said I was to sit in the front
seat to see the old city and to not to worry Valerie "No white gloves here." The restaurant was housed in an old building of oak and rock. A bottle
of wine was brought out. After eating a meal with a fish with its eye
looking at me, (I covered it with parsley).
Dirk always noted the grandeur of America and what she had achieved in just
500 years. Often stating; Can you imagine? While at the old Pub, he asked Anthony when was
our country discovered?
Anthony answered 1492. Dirk told him that the
oak bench he was sitting on was made in the early 1400's. Long before your
country was discovered, people were sitting here drinking ale! He asked; Now do you understand
how great your country is? Dirk was finally able to bring the point home.
He then informed us of Hungary and what he had found there after the collapse of the Soviet Union
in 1990. Since then, the change over to a democracy was impressive. The Hungarians were
quite the capitalists and were very happy with their new found freedoms, especially the
young and we needed to see it.
Plans had been made to travel to Hungary the following year in the
1959 Imperial, as only Americans could drive such a car there, for
it would be bad form for anyone else to do so.
of 2007 was over, we would then ship one of our cars over in 2008 to
drive to Anthony's ancestral home in Italy. The successful
descendant of an Italian immigrant returns to his family's ancestral
home area. A great story for sure, he said!
Friday August 25th, 2006. Dirk took us sailing
on the Chiemsee. A lake that adjoins King Ludwig's Herrenchiemsee Neues
Schloss, (New Palace). A castle that was originally envisioned by King
Ludwig II to rival Versailles.
Dirk and I had a big talk about how as
a 4 year old boy, playing in the rubble of Berlin after the bombings of
WWII. He spoke of one day when a black man arrived in a tank. The man took a
liking to Dirk and took him for a ride on the tank. Feeding him chocolate,
etc. I believe it was then when his intense love of all things American had
We would fly home and would write Father Manfred, but
would never see him again. We had to cancel Hungary 2007 and reschedule it
Life simply got in the way. Our hopes to bring Father Manfred to
America would also fall through as would Anthony's returning to
Italy in the fashion described above.