Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Previous post: Lunch in Berchtesgaden

We are in Berchtesgaden today because the one thing my dad is a big World War II history buff and has always wanted to go to Berchtesgaden to see Hitler’s Eagles Nest. I have booked us on a half-day tour that will take us up the mountain to the Eagle’s Nest with a stop along the way to tour a portion of the extensive tunnel system the Nazis built into the mountain.

The temperature right now, in this valley, is probably in the low 60s and is likely to drop as we ascend the mountain. Past experience in various caves and the Maginot Line indicate the temperature inside the tunnel system will be about 50 degrees and damp. We are already wet from our dash through the rain – did I mention it was pouring? And, of course, Delta had not yet delivered our luggage by the time we had to leave Salzburg, meaning that we are still wearing the clothes we had on when we left Minneapolis. . . while neither of us are wearing shorts and tank tops, we aren’t exactly dressed for this outing.

I can tell the folks running Eagle’s Nest Historical Tours think we are morons (although they must see a lot of those, since the tour information specifically references “warm clothes” in several places) so I reiterate a number of times that we are victims of lost luggage. (Although I don’t admit that it never occurred to me to add an umbrella to my shopping list when I was out buying replacement items yesterday afternoon.) I even run back through the rain to the train station in search of sweatshirts and umbrellas, to no avail.

One of the women working for the tour company kindly loans us her very large umbrella. Still, I fear it is going to be a very miserable afternoon.

And then she returns with a bundle in her arms – a large heavy sweatshirt for me and a beautiful warm jacket for my father. She claims they have been lying in the back of her car for weeks, waiting to be delivered to the German equivalent of Goodwill. Her only request is that we do NOT return them at the end of the day.

I am so grateful for kind and generous people.

Next post: The Mountain

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