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2006: Pendling & Kufstein...

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.

When we 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.
Leaving Rosenheim
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 this time.

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 Oldsmobile    
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 interview Anthony.

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).
American State Quarters    
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 opportuni
ty to have a guide whose words brings history alive as though you were there!
Daimler Mercedes 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 Plans
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.
The Cheimsee    
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.

Once Hungary 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 been kindled.

We would fly home and would write Father Manfred, but would never see him again. We had to cancel Hungary 2007 and reschedule it for
2008. 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.  

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