_ It might have gone unnoticed, but I managed to escape the computers for a little over 24 hours. I visited old friends in the area where I used to work, about 200 kilometers east of here.
The first thing I noticed was the weather. This has been the warmest November in memory (only the year in Vietnam was warmer), which I have been enjoying. I do not miss the usual cold, damp, gray misery. Of course, the beginnings of a drought are showing their first hints. The Rhine River is so low, that shipping is being restricted.
One good aspect of November is that there is less traffic on the Autobahns. Less is a relative term, because there is always traffic. The highway I took is now plagued with construction, as it is being widened. This will take about ten years, because German highway construction is rather complicated and complex...and keeps employment numbers up.
I was not in a hurry, so I drove slower than I have been know to drive on German Autobahnen (that’s the plural of Autobahn, for anyone lacking grammatical skills). It is less stressful and let’s one enjoy the scenery. For example, I noticed that people are starting to erect entire hillsides with solar panels. Someone is planning for the time when the German government turns off all nuclear plants.
I also noticed the increase in number of McDonalds and Burger King outlets along the route. I recall days on none and many years of a single fast food restaurant between Frankfurt and Munich (which I used on many occasions). When I took trips with the family, finding a McDonalds was not unlike searching for water in the Gobi (no, I did not forget the word desert, because Gobi means desert...how’s that for a bit of pedantry?).
It was nice to catch up with old friends. Distant and other commitments tend to reduce the frequency. But, these are the ones that are worth keeping track of. Nice weather, light traffic, and time made the trip rather pleasant.
Now, I’m chained to the computer again. I must finish the next bloody novel before the end of the year...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.