July 11 – August 09, 2022; 8901 nm and 1237 days after departure from La Rochelle.
It was a loooong trip to Europe! Caused by a 10 hour stopover in Bogotá. Our mistake, as we booked two separate flights. Not the best decision we’ve ever made, but we thought we might stay a couple of days in Bogotá before heading to Germany. Well, we didn’t. Instead we got to know El Dorado airport by heart. After 6 hours walking around with our small luggage 🙈, we knew every corner and seating in the pre check-in area. We can assure, there was not much to see! When we were finally able to check in our luggage we could enjoy the gate area without luggage and only 4 more hours to wait. A nice interruption came from Columbian guy which we met at a bar at the airport. He kept us entertained with interesting chats about business, life and sailing in Colombia and the bordering regions. A fun guy who definitely shortened our waiting time. And suddenly after 10 more hours of flying we arrived safely in Paris. A good night of sleep at Jana’s place helped a lot to recover and was a nice break in between. We continued our travel the next day and finally arrived in Essen and were warmly welcomed by my parents.
As everybody can imagine, it was great to be back home to see family and friends. Lots of excitement, emotion and caching up. One thing was for sure, it was a very intense trip. Seeing so many friends and trying to catch up, sometimes only for a few hours, can be very emotional and exhausting. It was wonderful and strenuous at the same time. The first weekend we even went to the Netherlands with our friends to admire their new second home. We had a fantastic weekend in the south west of the Netherlands in Nieuw-Haamstede. A beautiful area at the seaside with amazing dunes and long beaches.
Until the wedding at the end of the month, the days were filled with spending as much time as possible with my parents and meeting our friends. That worked out well as most of our (poor) friends still had to work and could only meet us in the evening. So during daytime I had the pleasure to enjoy my parents and in the evenings we could catch up with our friends. As a matter of course we also went up north for a day to visit El Capitano’s dad. That all of course went by pretty fast and soon the wedding day approached. We all jumped in the car and headed off to Aachen where the wedding was celebrated. Here we finally had our family reunion, yeahhhhh. Jana and Benoit arrived from Paris, we came from Essen and Luis was living in Aachen anyhow. As Luis was still living in his student apartment with other students we felt brought back to our student times. A crowded small kitchen with focus on adult beverages…
And then the big day finally arrived. It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather conditions and a beautiful party location. The marriage ceremony was held in the middle of beautiful historical town of Aachen at the register office. Lucky for us, we were important enough to join the ceremony as only 20 people would fit in the chamber. All the others had to wait outside, but of course were happily waiting for the bridal couple to come outside being married. The registrar did a wonderful job. She used thoughtful words what marriage meant. She explained the big picture of love with all the ups and downs yet always found a way of telling it in a fun and very entertaining way. I’m sure the whole audience including the bridal pair enjoyed listening to her speech. Thirty minutes later the ceremonial was over, the important signatures were done and the bridal couple left the building as a married couple. Tataaaaaaa
Seeing that picture I wonder why the registry office was located in the only new and fairly ugly building in Aachen? That not being enough, why the hell (excuse language) does there have to be a “Sparkasse” Atm right next to the entrance of the important building? Or, why didn’t I take a better picture..?
After some sparkling beverages to toast the freshly married couple, there was some time until the big party started. Some of us used the spare time to get redressed, some used it to have some lunch and others just to have a short nap. We kind of had a mix of all. At 4:30 pm we all slowly gathered together at “Gut Hebscheid”. A truly beautiful manor only a few km south of Aachen, which was build in the middle ages as a fortified farm. There, the bridal couple were receiving their guests to celebrate their special day which started with a typical German “Sektempfang”. Friends and family got connected and after the food has been eaten the party got started in a more active way. The bridal couple opened the dance floor with an unexpected amazing dance performance. And then the party was on! It was sweet! The bride was beautiful, the groom was proud, the ambiance outstanding, the weather just perfect, the guests amazing, the food delicious and the atmosphere great. Or short: it was a wonderful party. For me the best part was to see the happy dancing couple and to enjoy the whole family.
The rest of the weekend was dedicated for our kids. Special family time! Unfortunately due to our lifestyle we do not often have the opportunity to spent time being all together. Even more important to enjoy the precious hours! Next to a lot of talking we went to Maastricht, a beautiful Dutch city close to Aachen and the kids even did a long walk at “Hohes Venn”. A unique highland moor landscape at the German – Belgian border. Again time was flying. We shortly went back to Essen to spent a few more days with my parents and then again headed off to Aachen to visit Luis for a few days. Our last days in Europe we spent at Jana’s place in Paris. At all places we had a lot of fun but we also sadly had to say goodbye again. Always the downside of visiting family and friends. Fortunately we can look forward to having the kids aboard Altimate hopefully around Christmas time.
A huge thanks to all our hosts!!! It was, as always, most comfortable and a great pleasure staying with you! You guys are amazing!!!! THANK YOU!