By Pat Loftus
Cologne, Munich, and Salzburg, oh my!
After landing in Amsterdam, my wife, Nancy and I eagerly anticipated meeting our friends Harry and Shirley Roskoski at the airport around 8:30 am, Friday, April 8. We took a 1st class train to Cologne, hoping to plan our day and catch some sleep. Unfortunately, it was a QUIET ZONE, and our adrenaline-filled loud voices were tamed by an annoyed businessman.
We arrived in Cologne, Germany at the Hilton and were greeted as special guests. Less than two blocks away was the majestic Gothic Cathedral, which had been severely bombed during WWII. My longtime friend, Rowaldt greeted us there and gave us a quick tour through the Altstadt along the Rhine River and then to a new section of Müheln Kölsch, a restaurant, serving local dishes and serving a variety of beer, which they love in this area. Another friend, Birgit joined us early in the evening as we enjoyed food and drink and then retraced our walk to the old part of town and saw the colorful lights, bridges and thousands of people enjoying the nightlife. Needless to say, we were very tired with virtually no sleep after being awake for over 30 hours.
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On Saturday morning, Nancy and I had a filling buffet breakfast, which included an American and German-style breakfast, full of fresh meats, cheeses, jelly, Brötchen, and bread. There was no shortage of coffee, juice and mineral water. Our friends slept through breakfast to catch up on sleep. No jet lag for me.
As arranged, friends, Axel and Jörn treated us to the pregame festivities for FC Köln soccer fans, at the Gaffel Restaurant. And to our surprise, several old friends, some I had not seen since 1998 and 2003, was there as well. We all had such a great time indeed. We all went to see the FC Köln-Mainz soccer game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Both days were sunny with 70-degree weather. Afterward, most of us ended up in a post-game establishment as Nadine joined us to finish the game time tradition with these loyal and vocal fans.
Later that evening, Peter Kuntz (L’Anse Creuse 1975 graduate) and his wife, Jutta, from Düsseldorf joined Rowaldt and us and treated us to dinner at an outdoor restaurant along the Rhine River. It was surreal to see these special people again. Laughs and tears were abundant.
Early Sunday morning, we decided to take the Intercity (IC) train to Munich and onward to Salzburg, Austria. We took a tour of the city, went by the Mozart residences, the Doppler house, the Sound of Music places and heard historic facts about the past history.
We indulged in chocolate pastries afterward. After a few hours, we headed back to Munich and then took the S-Bahn southwest to Wolfratshausen.
I awoke early Monday morning, walked through the Bavarian town, rallied the troops, had breakfast, headed for the Munich Rathaus to see the Glockenspiel. The weather was fantastic again. Harry, Shirley, Nancy and I decided to relax while two bicyclists peddled us around Munich for a personal tour of Munich’s interesting sites to hear about past history. They were fun and engaging.
We then had a traditional Bavarian meal at the Augustiner Inn and then met a former CETUSA exchange student, Johanna (JoJo) Kitzbichler. It was incredible to see some additional highlights near the Marienplatz from a delightful 17-year-old. We ended our day with a brief meal at the ..1, 2 g’suffa..!
Patrick J. Loftus, a native from Mount Clemens and a 1976 graduate of L‘Anse Creuse High School, has lived in Port Huron since his marriage to Nancy in 1988. He graduated from Western Michigan University and earned teaching certification in 1984 in German and History. His profession took him to Carlyle, Illinois and East Detroit. Besides instruction, he coached soccer, tennis, Quiz Bowl, German Quiz Bowl, and Debate. Patrick had an enthusiastic German Club and took students to Germany in 1985, one of 5 trips he made mostly to German speaking lands. Mr. Loftus closely follows state and national politics. In his spare time, he follows and watches sports. He follows FC Köln and looks forward to his 30th Wedding Anniversary in April of 2018 to Cologne, Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Patrick places international exchange students at CETUSA (non-profit) in St. Clair, Macomb, Sanilac and Lapeer Counties as a Local Coordinator.
Travel is often a passion shared by many — meeting new people, seeing the sites and learning about the history and culture of various places, the list goes on and on. What could be better than sharing this passion with others? We raise our glass to you, Patrick, for reminding us of the health benefits that come when you follow your heart and soul. Here’s to your blue water healthy living!