Ain't family great
We reluctantly departed in the morning and drove through Freiburg to meet my uncle Helmut. I had no idea what to expect, only that he spoke very little English and that the lunch may be slow and tedious.
Instead, what we got was a very dynamic man who spoke very passable English who brought along his very charming wife Carola and we were greeted like long lost relatives - well, we WERE long lost relatives. Helmut is my biological father's brother. I have met my biological father once since he split when I was two years old. Helmut has not had any contact with him for over 40 years and had lost touch with the rest of us. So when I had rung 4 days ago he thought all his Christmases had come at once.
We spent the first hour catching up on all the family gossip and I showed him pictures of all the new additions in the last 40 years. We had an excellent lunch and Helmut explained that although we hadn't arranged it, he had expected us to stay the night and that Carola had cleaned the "guest" area. We had had a vague plan to stay at Bonndorf (more childhood memory dredging) for two nights so we agreed to stay with Helmut and Carola for one of the nights.
They lived in a place called Oberrotweil, which is in the middle of the Kaiser Stuhl wine region and very close to where we stayed last night at Europa Park. It turned out that my uncle was the engineer who designed and built the Colosseo hotel and all the pools and fountains etc.
The house was a beautiful, 100 year old mansion set in a little village surrounded by vineyards - so peaceful and serene. The "guest" area was the 3rd floor office (more stairs) and after we settled in, Helmut and Carola took us for a drive to France. We crossed the Rhine River and spent an hour weaving through all the pretty villages in France before coming to Colmar. Another divine little village with beautifully restored old houses and a canal. We wandered around the town for a while and had a drink in the main square before heading back for a tour of the Kaiser Stuhl region and dinner in a fabulous local restaurant. I ordered the chicken and what turned up was literally 1/2 a chicken with french fries. I could have just gone to KFC.