Days 35 & 36 (2.17 & 18.17): Grosch Point Blank

This weekend we headed west from Munich to the city of Mannheim to visit our German friends Marcus and Britta, as well as the four Grosch kids: Christoph (16), Samuel (16), Hannah (13), and Miriam (8).  It was about a four hour drive, most of which was on the autobahn, where there are no speed limits.  It sounds cool when you’re a kid, but when you’re driving with your family at 80 and someone passes you at 160, it is more than a little unnerving.   We made it to Mannheim unharmed, and Julie and I were glad to relax with a glass of fantastic German wine.

The next morning, Marcus, Christoph, and I went for a run while the girls relaxed it Marcus’s very chic apartment.

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It’s worth noting that Marcus’s ancestor Clara Grosch painted the painting of sun flowers on the right.  Marcus has an amazing art collection…

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…and the girls managed not to deface any of it — woohoo!

Next we went to Mannheim Palace, a large baroque palace modeled on Versailles and built in the 1700s.

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The palace was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but parts have been preserved or rebuilt.  The parts that were remade were intenti0nally left white to show what had been lost.

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That’s right.  The palace was both broken and baroque before we got there.  Still it was great to spend some time with our German friends.  I was so excited I think I dislocated my shoulder stretching to put my arm around Marcus in this photo:

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We had a great time exploring the palace.  It was Christoph’s first time there, too.

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While we were there, some German girls were apparently training to be the next generation of aristocrats.  The girl at the middle of the picture called me a “dirty peasant.”

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She was pretty much right, so I let it slide.  From the palace, we went back to the car, but on the way I got to peek into the district court in Mannheim, where many German patent cases are filed.  #swoon

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By this point, Lydie and Cassie had taken just about all they could, so we headed off to Britta’s place to find Marcus’s daughters Hannah and Miriam.  Marcus, Samuel, Christoph, and I watched some soccer, and Samuel was glad that his favorite team (Dortmund) won, but my newly adopted team of Bayern Munich only tied.  While we were otherwise occupied, the girls got a little silly climbing trees.

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I think watching soccer was more fun, but the girls apparently had other ideas.

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We ended with Marcus and I playing soccer in the back yard with all of the kids until it got dark and then headed off for a wonderful dinner in nearby Ladenburg.

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The Grosch kids speak excellent English, and Lydie and Cassie speak the international language of silly faces.

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It was another fantastic day in Germany.  We are getting worried that when we move to the UK in a few weeks that we will miss many things about Germany, not the least of which is having some good friends nearby.

-Will

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