After dropping Jessica and Nick off at the airport early Sunday morning we returned to our hotel room and went back to sleep for a few more hours. We had planned to meet Holger and his wife Katerina at their home in Bonn and so drove back to that city later in the day for brunch. Holger was our exchange student when Chris was in high school, like Andrea was a few years later with Jessica. We have also kept in touch with him and his family, mostly through Christmas cards and email and so it was nice to see him again after 12 years. It was almost 20 years ago that he came to the states as a young boy and now he is married, a teacher of mathematics and physics and a father of two young children, Paula is a sweet and intelligent 3 year old and Carla, just 7 months, a chubby, happy baby. We spent a lovely few hours with them and had the opportunity to play "grocery store" with Paula who is just one year older than our Kyla and I imagined that this might be the kind of play we will do when we return to the states and we can spend time like this with our granddaughter.
After a little walk in the park near their house, we drove back to Cologne for a visit with Holger's parents who welcomed us warmly and had prepared cake and coffee in our honor. Holger's mother is a glass artist and creates some very beautiful, modern stained glass pieces, exhibiting in a gallery in Cologne. She is very talented and we enjoyed seeing what she does.
Then goodbyes all around, promises to visit again and back to our hotel in the city to find a place for dinner and to watch the final match of the World Cup. We decided on a little Irish pub, I ordered a hamburger and fries which was really good. Bob had ordered a roasted chicken dinner only to be disappointed to learn they were out of chicken and ended up with a not so good fried fish dinner. We watched half of the game on their big screen TV outside and then returned to our room to watch the end, sprawled out on the sofa, more comfortably.
We were torn between wanting France to win so that Vincent would be happy and cheering for Italy, our temporary adopted home. Since we really never have followed the sport it's not fair to say we would have been happy or sad either way but you really get a sense of how important this is to these fans and how interesting it is that this competition, which happens only once in every 4 years, like the Olympics, is really a world competition. Unlike our baseball "World Series" erroneously named such. It brings home the fact that we think Americans tend to think they ARE the whole world, which, I'm sorry, we are not.
When the game ended we were happy to have Andrea & Vincent stop by once again to say goodbye to us and we promised to see each other again soon. We told them about Emily's invitation and they suggested perhaps they could meet us in France if we go and we said we would be in touch. Hugs and kisses all around.
(to be continued - A few days in Regensburg)