131.August 23

Spring Grove, MN

Thank you to my mother Sharon for this book, she's always taught me to write my memories down, and tell her them while we sit in her living room chairs. If it is morning it would be over coffee, but her mornings are now always before mine, because when I visit her, she goes to work, regular schedule, and I stay up all night because I enjoy her house, and it's quietude, stillness and the buzzing of the screens with summer bugs. I drink the cool well waters in defiance of the plastic bottles of unwanted beverages in the refrigerator. It's wonderful just to lock myself behind a wooden door and know that I can lay there all night without disturbing or being disturbed. I like a room alone.

My journey won't start tomorrow, but probably Friday. At noon, I'l leave and drive to Chicago. What shall I look for? First of all, I simply wish to see a friendly face. I wish all along the journey I would run into people I know. But, remember Wales, when I met people and made connections that I was too complacent to pursue later. I could still fulfill some of those contracts of sometime friendship if I would simply write more letters. As a writer, letters seem to be practice for real writing, but not real. Every word is nothing but the passage of time, and strength into it.


London, UK to Frankfurt, Deutchland

I was already planning to meet Kate at 10:30, half 10, as she called it. I had a leisurely shallow bath and got dressed in my most german attire, which was topped off by a black turtleneck, and lugged my 25 kg bag onto my back and headed off for Angel. I took the train one black from Malcolm's flat and headed to Highburry Islington. I arrived at 9:50, found my way to her flat at 10:00, and decided to get my hair cut at the place I went last time, after New Years this year. Probably the same barber. By the way, they keep their money in the freezer.

I rang Kate's flat at 10:30, and we went to breakfast at the Giraffe Cafe, just around her block. I had the vegetarian sausage breakfast with tomatos, fried eggs and mushrooms. It was nice. I had a machiatto with that, which I think has the nicest name and look of all coffee drinks.

We discussed setting up a Canoeing trip through the BWCA next year the 3rd week in July. That way they could come to my play, stay at my house, then head off to adventures in the nether regions of Minnesota. Probably not in Canada, for they have no toilets dug.We did stop back at her flat, where I showed her the Ye Olde Opera House web site and checked mail. We had tea. I had chamomile and she had peppermint. We said our goodbye’s, and I was off to the bus stop on the corner to catch the 73 bus to king’s cross station, where I was informed that there was no train to Stansted running from there, I’d have to go from Liverpool Street.

I was like lightning on the tube and got to the 13:00 departure of the Stansted express in plenty of time . It took 45 minutes and there was no line for check-into my Ryan Air flight to Erfurt. I had to transfer eight kilos from my checked luggage though it would have only cost 4 pounds extra to leave it in there. I tried to use up some of my pounds by buying a cheddar and marmite sandwich and ½ liter of water . I arrived at my gate and ate.

Then the gate changed, the plane was delayed, so I got on the Internet to alert Lars. I threw some books away, ripped apart the Eastern Europe book to keep only Germany and lighten my load , because this bag was supposed to have no more than 10 kg.

I wrote my only mass letter so far to my “friends” group, and described my journeys briefly thus far. I guess I’ve done enough for the time I’ve spent so far. Paris would be nice but hardly necessary, maybe some other French city, or Switzerland, if desperate. Spain seems too distant at the moment.

'I have left both Norway and England and am moving on to Germany during my travels.

My plane has just landed, it is late, so I'm killing a bit of time before getting on Ryan Air Flight 1901 to Erfurt, Germany. I waited a bit too long to go straight to Frankfurt, and now I have to add a three hour train ride to my evening. I like trains. I have a great book to read. I've finished Philip Pullman's "His Dark Material's: Book One: The Golden Compass" and am now moving on to book two on this flight. I don't think I'll mention the name because it is one of those words you shouldn't say while in an airport. It's too subtle, and that's a hint.

I had an absolutely lovely time in Norway, and maybe I'll just say that while there for 4 days, I drove 1134 km in a Getz Hundai. Over hills, mountains, dales, but mostly mountain cliffs along the fjords. I met up with Tova and we journey past Storeli, which is in Hallingdaul, and stopped to see some family, then jumped down to Oslo for dinner and her flight the next day.

I drove into Hardingerfjord the next day, spendt a night a ski resort hotel, and then took the ferry back to Bergen Airport. So goes Norway.

I returned to London, where I'd begun my travels, and went back to Malcolm's, where I stayed my first few nights before going to Norway. He was gone most of the time I was there, but had lent me a spare set of keys for the week. So I had a leisurely tour through London. I saw a few shows, one about the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a Minnesota boy, and his wife Zelda, who was from Alabama. It helped me prepare for the next play, Dracula in Dixie, so I listened intently to the accents.

I also saw Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was absolutely amazing. You'll have to ask me why, to explain, but all the actors were the orchestra as well, and they were fabulous. Sparse set too, it was amazing. This is a show that I would love to direct sometime, so it was nice to see it again and so simply done. But the music is a beast.

Oh, time to go. I also saw Iphegenia, a Greek drama. At the National theatre. '

When I arrived in Erfurt, after they checked my passport, I waited impatiently for the bus, but finally I just decided to grab a cab for 13 Euros and 2 extra for the tip. I purchased my ticket and reservation at the train station, and reached the platform in plenty of time to take the train. I was supposed to sit with someone with a laptop who was watching the show about the Green Ogre and the donkey but I sat across from him until a pretty girl wanted my seat. Then I made him get up and I took his. So I arrived, and since then I’ve been reading the whole train ride (“The Subtle Knife”). I couldn’t focus my eyes very well.

Lars and the Mueller’s weren’t there when I arrived, so I went to call him, and the strange smelly woman who wanted something but on the second attempt I revealed that I couldn’t speak German undt she gave up.

We took the S ban to his station, which is to the west (it begins with Horsch or something) and we drank beer and I had a sandwich and talked about myself to the Mueller’s family, who were terribly behind the times as far as my history was concerned. We discussed Norway, for they’d been to Fagerness as well.

After I tried to eradicate Lars’ 23 German viruses from his computer, he asked me to please go to bed so he could sleep. I then realized that we were indeed sleeping in the same room. I condescended to sleep.


After a few hours of work, Llew arrived after getting a ride with Rhonda, who is showing off her new puppy to everyone in the continental breakfast, and we drove in the Nissan to Ossian at 1400 for 18 holes of golf. We started out as partners, and shared clubs. On the second round, Linda B. was my partner, and we had a great time catching up after a few years. My team got 3rd place in the best ball competition, and we got our entry money back. I also won a hat that says "DEER PREDATOR". When I arrived home, I sat out on the porch with Julie, Rachel, and Kirsten and talked until the next day was well underway.


We cleaned in the morning after a late start and a nice breakfast Rachel prepared. I washed clothes today, and let Beth borrow our Mercedes for a bachelorette party that she is hosting today and all night in Winona. Oh well, she is a trusted friend. I got that ready for 7 people, and then started the laundry. I hung out with Eric, getting a ride in his Mercedes G-Wagon to the farm. John joined us after he fed the kids. Rachel was working at the gallery, and when she got home, we went to Mary and Lane's house for a Black and Tan party. It was great fun with amazing Irish recipes and beer.


After noon, I headed home, picked up a burger and filled the gas tank, and repacked my luggage into larger bags. I picked up Sara and she drove our Rogue up to the MSP airport Terminal 2, where we awaited our flight in the Northern Wings bar, and the started our flight to Franfurt, en route to Zagreb to meet Rachel.