Sunday, June 6, 2010

When in Rome.

I’m going to go into my next story even though I know it’s going to put my mom’s blood pressure through the roof. This story is going to sound irrational, irresponsible, and insane. But don’t worry ma the risks were strongly taken into consideration, as well as a lengthy opportunity cost analysis. Hahaha I know you’re still thinking, “ya ya don’t give me that boy!” Well be what it may I’m alive and well, and still able to share the story! I love you mom! Without further adue:

My buddy Chris, who I talk about fairly often, was down at the river journaling and reading. He sat down on a bench beside a man named Norbert. Chris began a casual conversation with the man that lead into a whole life story. An hour into the conversation Norbert invited Chris and one of his friends to go out to eat with himself and his wife that night. (That was last night). Anyway, I was the lucky friend. Chris said, “Trav are you down for going to dinner with this guy I met today and his wife?” I said, “Okay, keep going…” Then he said, “Yeah, I met this guy today at the park and he invited me and a friend to go to dinner with him and his wife. His name is Norbert and he owns two businesses here in Heidelberg. He has traveled all over the world and knows like 6 languages. He said he’ll pick us up at about 8 in front of the hotel in his black convertible car.” After thinking about it for .5 seconds, I said OF COURSE! We said a quick prayer out loud that God would use this night to speak to our lives and theirs and of course to keep us safe.

There I was at 8 o’clock, meeting Norbert and his wife Patricia, and getting into his foreign black sports car. We all started talking and I got the background of both of them. Patricia was from Ecuador and spoke, Spanish, German, and English. Norbert grew up in Germany, but also spoke those languages and a few others. He owned two real estate companies here in Heidelberg. He said that he often travels and he enjoys his experiences so much more when the locals reach out to him and share their culture. He was just trying to pay forward the kindness. By the way, Chris met Norbert in the park because Norbert is training for his 8th Marathon and he was just sitting down on that bench after his daily run. Anyway Norbert explains that he’s taking us to a festival about a half hour away. The only reason it was a half hour away is because he went over 220 Kilometers an hour on the highway. I guess you’re allowed to do that here. Yeah… NBD. We drove and ended up driving to where the farm fields met the mountains and came to a town that was tucked back in between the two. It was by far the prettiest view I’ve ever seen in my life. The sun was setting behind the mountains and there was wheat and vineyards as far as the eye could see.

We get out of the car and start walking toward the crowds and crowds of people. We found a little restaurant and Norbert showed us two authentic German dishes that were a must have. One was liver and sauerkraut and the other was pig stomach and sauerkraut. I know it sounds disgusting but it really was quite good. A very nice couple asked to sit down beside us and we began to talk to them. They also spoke a few languages. At one moment during dinner there was three languages being spoken, at our table, at the same time. The man that was sitting by us ended up being the judge of the highest court in Germany. It was pretty random, but I guess normal considering the story as a whole. There at the table you had Chris and I who met each other about two weeks ago, Norbert and his wife who met Chris and I a couple hours earlier, and the judge and his wife who met all of us at the beginning of the meal. We sat there for about an hour just enjoying each other’s stories and company. It was surreal to say the least.

We said our goodbyes to the judge and his wife and kept walking. Soon we found the live music and German dancing in the middle of the square. There we spent the rest of our time enjoying conversation and watching “veterans” as Norbert called them, enjoying themselves dancing the night away. They played classic German songs that everyone else sang a long to, and then it happened. Sweet Home Alabama came blaring through the speakers! No way! Everyone started screaming just like they do back home, and said the famous line “Turn it up!”

We left the festival around mid-night and enjoyed a beautiful star filled drive back to the hotel. Norbert gave us his business card and we said our goodbyes. When they pulled away, I looked at Chris and said, “What just happened?” Neither of us had an answer other than a shrug of the shoulders and a smile bigger than our faces. “When in Rome”, right?

Today we visited a castle and it was an awesome experience. I’ve always heard about castles growing up but assumed they were just a part of history and long gone. They are still around! It was absolutely beautiful. We had a tour guide and he shared all of the history. The castle that we went to was constructed around 1534. It made it through many battles and attacks. I’m not very good at explaining what I saw all that well, but don’t worry I have plenty of pictures.

I love and miss you all.




  1. Travis, I'm speechless. It would be a awesome story if it weren't my son, but it does send my blood pressure through the roof that you're riding off with total strangers!!!! They could have been serial killers who prey on foreigners!! Thank God that you are alive to tell the story!!! I love you, Mom

  2. Wow Trav that place is beautiful! what an adventure you are encountering! I'm so jelous tha God loves you more than me because you have seen mor great and beautiful places than me and I'm 49. Just kiddin but you are very blessed to see the beauty of our Creator and to rub shoulders with the suprem court judge wow. If you get a ticket he's a great guy to know ha ha. I love you keep on being you, Pops

  3. Eeeek! How fun.. and you're right in Europe drivers ARE crazy. NBD :) lol

  4. Trav! You are crazy! I want to see your pretty pics of castles :)

    p.s. this may be naive of me but what is NBD??