Surprise, surprise and no surprise

August 24 – September 14, 2020; 3110 nm and 543 days after departure from La Rochelle

No surprise 😁, but yet important to mention. We won the final 1:0 against Paris St. Germain in the champions league! We still feel a little sorry for our French friends though.

Corona makes all plans go messed up! Nothing new anymore but it was still very annoying and sad! My mom turned sweet 80 this August. Her wish and plan was to fly with my dad to the Canaries and spend two weeks with us. Everything was already booked in late February, the flights, the airbnb, we even had a berth for Altimate in Puerto Morgan where we wanted to stay together. We were all very excited and looking forward to spend two whole weeks toghether.

me leaving San Sebastian

And then came Covid 19 and all our plans were evaporated to nothing. After the lockdown and coming back to the “new normal” a thought jumped into my mind that it might be possible at least for me to fly to Germany for my mothers birthday. One challenging part was that we didn’t know what my mothers plans would be. A little party at home or maybe just a little holiday in the Netherlands or somewhere else close by? Due to the virus it was an up and down and back and forth. Around 6 weeks before her birthday the world seemed quite corona relaxed so I booked a flight and as the kids also wanted to surprise her, Jana booked a train coming from Paris. We all wanted to meet in Aachen and then travel to Alkmaar/Netherlands where my parents finally decided to be for my moms birthday. Coming closer to the departure time Corona was very present again. The numbers rose in every country. Spain including the Baleares and France were already announced as risk countries to travel to from Germany so a lot of flights were cancelled. How frustrating! One day Jana and I thought we won’t make it and the other day we were excited to see us soon. It was an up and down with our feelings! Fortunately in the end it all worked out. 💪

Brigitte and me in Adeje, somewhere in Tenerife


August the 24th I took the 11o’clock ferry to Los Christianos/Tenerife. I had a long time to wait for my flight to leave but by accident I realised that an old tennis friend (Brigitte) was at the same time in Tenerife. She picked me up in Los Christianos and we spent some hours catching up in a nice beach cafe. Definitely not enough time for us but the plane to Germany was calling and Brigitte took me to the airport. Thank you 😘! I’m sure we can continue to catch up soon as we’ll probably stay in the canaries for the winter. Just let us know when you’re back in your apartment.

The first couple of days in Essen I spent with our dear old neighbours and friends Kissy and Alex. That was sooooo nice and comfortable. I could sleep in a big double king size bed in a huge room with my own bathroom and floor. OMG coming from the boat it seems, each year the rooms get bigger and bigger😉. En plus, that all included breakfast with loads of coffee, lunch, dinner, nice talks, walks and of course good company. Thank you guys again for being such great hosts and friends! Wednesday Jana arrived as well and mom (me of course) was veeeeery happy to see her. We enjoyed our little time together and prepared for being my moms surprise. And then it was the day of the days! Thursday! Kissy took us early in the morning to my parents place and we could be presents.

training for being presents
preparing for the real entry

It was a big surprise! Mom was happy and completely mixed up😁. (I forgot to mention. My parents plans to travel to the Netherlands were also obsolete – guess why. The new plan was to visit a good friend of my parents who lives in a beautiful quiet area district of Borken around 50 km north of Essen.) “How can you be here? But we’re going to see Gerti. What do I do now?” was her first concern after realising we were there in person. We could calm her immediately when we told her we had contacted Gerti and that we fitted all in the car so all was good. Happy family! Yeaaaaahhhhhh
We had a lovely day out in the country with a nice lunch in an impressive little village named Raesfeld. It’s landmark is the water castle at the edge of town, built in the 13th century.

Gerti, the birthday kid, my dad, me and Jana in front of the castle

The weekend Jana and me we went to Aachen to see Luis. (He did not join us as being a present for my moms birthday as he had an exam to write that day.) It was sooooo nice to have the kids around and since a long time we were almost all together again. Of course El Capitano was missing but at least I had the joy of family feeling. By the way he was busy looking after Altimate shortening the never ending to-do list. Luis made us dinner when we arrived, a super delicious home made pizza. We spent the evening talking and enjoying our company. Saturday we went downtown, had breakfast, did some shopping, met my nice Sarina who is also living in Aachen and visited the new family member of our clan. Sarina is the proud new owner of a quarter horse foal. His name is Scooby and he’s soooooo cute!

Of course the weekend passed by much too fast. The evening we treated us with an Indian cooking delivery service and further catching up. Sunday morning Luis presented a beautiful German yammi breakfast with perfect sunny weather on his balcony. The only disturbing part were the annoying millions of wasps steeling our salmon and ham and whatever they could get. We tried to fight them with burning coffee grounds but that only worked a little…in the end Jana was stung by one of this monsters. Jana’s train was leaving somewhat after 4pm so we decided to have a walk to stretch our legs before sitting in the train and car going back to Paris and Essen. We walked through Aachen-Burtscheid and a forest and because the kids were so good mummy spoilt them with some ice cream.

sweet little kids deserved an ice cream

It was soon time to head back and say goodbye to my little girl and boy. I very much do hope that the kids will be able to visit us soon again! Shitty Covid! A little sad I headed back to Essen. The upside was that I would spent a whole week with my parents and that I would see Luis again the coming weekend. We did not do anything special this week but again it went by just like this. Catching up, walks, some shopping, listening, playing (still with the old 😉) rummikub, baking a completely failed bread and just being together.

my cool parents close to the “Gruga Park”

At the weekend we all headed to Leipzig to my brothers place to celebrate my mom’s birthday with the rest of the family. Well that’s what we all thought but then we celebrated another event. Nope, not a baby! Sweet young Sarina shouted out her happiness. She almost burst as she didn’t tell anybody for a couple of weeks, because she wanted to tell her parents first. Here it comes. Her boyfriend asked her to marry her and she accepted! Congratulations young lady! The celebration of moms 80th birthday was a little stolen by Sarina’s big surprise, but that was definitely ok we were all very happy, especially Nonna (the birthday kid). The weekend was very short and as always not enough time to catch up with everybody but it was great to see all of them. Luis and me we headed back to Essen and Aachen Sunday morning, unfortunately in different trains.

the two happy girls and Nils

I spent my last evening in Germany with our dear friends Agnes and Peter. They invited me for a “Currywurst” (my wish) in a good old “Pommesbude” and the next morning Agnes took me to Düsseldorf airport. This airport is usually busy as a beehive. That Monday I had the feeling there were more people working than passengers. A safe place to be when you’re afraid of Corona. The same in the plane. Including me we were only 17 passengers. It was a long travel day but I arrived tired but happy at 8pm local time in El Capitano’s arms. Reunion 😊.

almost back in San Sebastián

It was nice being back but it was also time to leave as we spent already two month in La Gomera. We got Altimate ready to sail and bought enough groceries to survive for a few days without the need to go ashore. Friday the 11th of September we checked out of the marina and sailed to the beautiful anchorage Los Gigantes in Tenerife. Since then we’re enjoying our freedom at anchor and especially the freedom not to have to wear a mask.

Los Gigantes

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