So after arriving back in Germany following our whirwind tour of the US, I find myself once agina counting days until I leave a country. I began the process of clearing the military installations as soon as we arrived back and also started trying to squeeze in all those things that we said we would have to do before we left Europe. Good luck with that.
One thing that we did manage to do was finally get to a home game of 1FCK, who are trying to work theur way back into the top flight of the Bundes Liga after gettign bumped out last year. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, the bear was cold, and the fans were boisterous, and although the game ended in a tie, the experience couldn't have been any better. The game did coincidentally fall on my birthday and the C-17s that frequently whined over Fritz-Walter Stadion on their approach to Ramstein were a constant reminder of a birthday recent past where I endured incessant harassment from my staff in FOB Salerno, and reminded us also of those still spending important occasions far from home and in harm's way.
Friday night found us at the opening night of the Lauters Kerwe, the annual spring festival in Kaiserslautern. I paid 3 Euro for ten chances to bounce a ping-pong ball towards a large display of beer steins and much to the proprieter's chagrin, ball #10 rattled home into a stein in the back of the top row. Now the proud owner of a limited edition Zoller & Born beer stein, the next logical step was to try it out. So after shouldering our way to a table near the band in the fest tent, Pam promptly received lessons for the proper hand and arm gestures for the music, something to do with cowboys, a lasso, and totem poles (hard to believe that its a German folk song).
We have had BBqs and dinners with friends, CPT Parrish, whose departure coincides with ours, will be having multiple parties before she leaves the active Army in favor of grad school at Georgetown, and we will be able to squeeze in Memorial day weekend at the Bodensee on the German, Austrian, Swiss border.
So while we may not complete the "Everything We Wanted to do in Europe" list, I'm sure that by the time we are wheels up for JFK we will have completed enough items to be satisfied with tucking the list away and calling it a win.