Engbrocks!Posted: May 13, 2011
And so we arrive at the small, luxury hotel called “Engbrocks”! A pit stop of the finest degree. Not a hotel of course, but home of Arturo and Birgit.
Arturo and Birgit have become firm friends, firstly through conversations at a couple of dinners at La Villa Ski Resort, and more so by a continued electronic stream of correspondence, advice, suggestions and help generously given by both of them during the 3 months inbetween.
We have so valued and appreciated their well traveled and thoughtful suggestions, and assistance in many ways. (All our bank correspondence has arrived in the German language – thankyou interpreter Arturo!) We were not surprised to be greeted so warmly and into such modern, gorgeous and sophisticated surrounds! A modern style home, bright and stunning, looking out to a manicured garden and the Azaleas that held on to their white bloom for our arrival.
Birgit is a superb cook; quality and delicious ingredients presented on each plate like a work of art, at every meal we share! Local salmon, prawns and white asparagus, only available for a short, sweet 6 week season. Birgit makes all her own pasta and fluffy light gnocchi that were part of the treats we were served. (Classic Black Forest Cake on arrival of course!!) They have heard my crys of sedentryness, sitting in a camper for far too many hours of the week, and have arranged two brilliant days of exercise seamlessly included in sightseeing. I’m afraid my crys have not been for no reason, the recent photos are not just a result of a wide angled camera lens but a growing presence of both of us!!! Birgits scales confirm we are both up 3 kilos! Not so much a problem you might think, but imagine, one kilo a month!!! 18 months later – ISK!!
The first day we ride our bicycles along the Rhine River into Dusseldorf and enjoy the lovely atmosphere of the city. The second day we paddle for 3 hours, downstream, in a canoe. Something Antonio and I have never done together. It’s great fun and a wonderful way to sight-see and move the muscles. We also visit a pretty village near Weeze, finish of a pilgrimage to a small chapel honoring Mary! We follow this on the way home with a visit to one of the furthermost northern Roman settlements at LVR-Archaologischen Park Xanten. (www.apx.lvr.de) Its incredible to realize the Romans settled this far north, creating a sizable town. Picking up and replicating the Roman lifestyle in this German outpost.
The friendship and generosity shown to us by Birgit and Arturo has been heart warming and will not be forgotten.
In my mind I have already planned an outline of a 3 or 4 month trip to Australia we will help them plan when we get home. Including a 3 or 4 night pack saddle horse ride – an Aussie adventure for these 5 star loving Germans!
I cannot overstate the kindness of being told to “make ourselves at home” when our home at the moment is our Camper! Feeling comfortable to do 4 loads of washing, and iron it!!! Having constant access to high powered WiFi and power, room to clean out and resort the Cubby. Have a native German ring our German bank, help interpret airline bookings, and continue to impart travel itinerary suggestions. “Hotel Engbrocks” has been an oasis for us, coming at the end of our first 4 months, and on the cusp of the next and very different leg of our journey.
As a small token and appreciation we invite them into the Cubby for a farewell lunch of Pasta alla Antonio. Where upon Birgit presents us with two long stemmed roses. We have both completely forgotten that May 2 marks our First Wedding Anniversary!!!!
Ever the consummate host, mentioned once to Birgit, not forgotten.
Thankyou Birgit and Arturo.