“This is it – death by wild animals!”, Erfurt, May 12th , 2012

Michael Jackson was a fantastic artist, I always admired him. But he also had his strange, his funny side. His final tour name “This is it!” fitted right into that as it was it before “this is it” ever happened. At my stop over in Istanbul I observed various German tourists and thought “yes, this is it!” – German culture I have not been exposed to in a while. Well prepared travellers having bred with ham in Tubberware, always target oriented people walking straight and crisp, highly organized relationships leaving nothing to coincidence – “Heinz, you go to the toilet, I wait here!”  and a slightly, just a little arrogant attitude – “Gerda, I do not think this works, this is Turkey.”. I am only observing, not judging, but it did make me realize that I am on my way to a special country, Germany.

Landing in Frankfurt – this is it – no, not just yet. I still have a couple of weeks travelling ahead of me. So I called it my soft landing and was happy to have it. Sitting in that full plane of Turkish Airlines was certainly one of the most intense feelings of my life. 300 people right next to me, still I am alone, nobody has an idea where I come from, what I have experienced and how I feel. However, I do not know anything about them either, maybe the women next to me is returning from a unsuccessful cancer treatment, a funeral or maybe her greatest holidays ever, having fallen in love for the first time. What does this mean? Are we all alone? Is it easier sometimes to be alone as nobody would understand or care? Or should we share, should we care? I think it is both. That is life with all its tragedy, glory and emotions. Life is great.

For the next 5 days I was visiting friends in Germany. “Nice to have you back.” and welcoming hospitality made it not just easier but actually fun. I have friends, good friends and I am proud of them. As we are in our mid 30’s their lives have moved on significantly more than mine in the last two years. Houses have been built or bought, weddings have happened, career steps taken and new life has been created. The latter point united almost everybody no matter how different they may be. “Its an investment”, “think well about it” or “it changes everything” was what I heard regarding children but also “we would not want it any other way” or even “a second, third one is in the making”. Well then.

After Frankfurt and Freiburg I took a train to Geneva, Switzerland, visiting Andre for a full weekend. It was great, good talks, good walks, fun and a nice tourist plan he had worked out. Visiting Montreux (Freddie Mercury died here), one time around the Geneva lake and a guided tour at the European UN headquarter, all in perfect weather, fantastic.

Then it was time for my last flight on this world trip, taking me to Rom. I spent 4 weeks with my mom in Canada, Thomas visited me 6 weeks in South America, Gabor and I tracked 3 weeks the Himalaya mountains, I lived with Danny in Buenos Aires, David gave me shelter on and off in Singapore -- all quality time with important people only possible through such a world trip not being trapped by a job, simply having time and flexibility. Now it was time for some special days with a special women, my sister. Astrid arrived on time for 5 days in Rom. As ordered, the sun would only  be away for a great night sleep, during the day she was there for us. So was the St. Peter’s Basilica which we walked up all the way.

The pyramids are the only remains of the ancient 7 world wonders, I have seen them. Then in 2007 and 2011 the 7 new wonders as well as the 7 wonders of nature have been appointed. I have seen them all except for one, the one closest to Germany. But hey, Wednesday May 9th I complete this collection, the Colosseum. Besides slaves also criminals and enemies faced their final minutes here. “Death by wild animals!” was often the punishment in the old roman empire, executed right here for the amusement of its people.

Rom is my grand final and I have to admit I did not expect it to be so impressive. What a great city, what character and what a charisma. I really recommend visiting it, probably better with your girl or boyfriend, husband or wife as it a romantic city too. But Astrid and I got the most of it as well. For hours we walked along the avenues or through the small alleys, eat ice-cream whenever we felt like it, talked about our child hood, our lives, our happiness and worries and came to the conclusion that there is almost nothing to worry. Thanks mom for making us such optimistic, life loving people.

This is it, for the last time I pack my rucksack. As always on my journey I enjoy it, listening to REM. As with my mom, I also have a over night train ride with my sister. On time in Munich, on time in Fulda, on time in Erfurt, welcome to Germany. In Frankfurt it was friends who made it easier for me, this time it is family, my pillar in life. My nephew happy to see me (his school friends interested in my stories), my mother and him having prepared a sign and poem, but most of all my grand ma. Being 89 years old she promised to wait till I am back and she managed. Thanks so much for not “disrupting” my journey. Now we need to set new goals to keep you going, grand ma.

Saturday, May 12th 2012, on my 555th day since I left Germany I return back home to Hannover, to Angi. This is it, my trip is over. I am not sad, rather melancholic but with all my friends, my family and Angi I conclude: This is it, a new phase in life starts. I am looking forward to it………..         .

(Further publications will appear here like cemeteries or fun stories as well as highlight photos and so on. Please come by every once in a while and help keeping this site alive.)

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  • Gabor says:

    It’s not over until it’s over.

    Welcome home and enjoy your time.

  • Els says:

    Thanks for sharing all your experiences and wisdom!
    Enjoy being home with family and friends.
    Although wherever you were, they travelled with you.
    Will keep following you (your site) from time to time.
    Take care x

    • frank4444 says:

      Hi Els,
      thanks a lot for your words and your frequent appearance on my site. That was so nice. If you want to spend another 35 Minutes watching my summery video, I just uploaded it. Take care. FRANK

  • Jan says:

    A beautiful story of your last weeks Frank!
    Also enjoyed your video compilation: what an experience!
    “Dreams don’t work, unless you do”.
    You did it!!!
    Take care,

    • frank4444 says:

      thanks Jan for being a regular reader and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it. There will be a little exhibition and a presentation at some point in Hannover and you will get an invitation. Cheers. FRANK

  • Achim says:

    You probably often hear that but most of your pictures are more than just good, some of them are really breathtaking. I’m impressed and touched even/in particular with your words.
    Thanks Frank, good to have you back (in one piece..) :)

    • frank4444 says:

      thanks Achim. I hope I can fulfill your expectations on the exhibition and presentation as well. getting nervous. smile. FRANK

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