Isaiah and I were again tagging along on one of Owen’s business trips. This time he was visiting one of his company’s plants in the charming town of Bretten, Germany. Many of the his colleagues lived in or near town and coming here was a little like a business reunion. Isaiah and I were accustomed to camping out in our hotel room, frequenting nearby parks and strolling through town. Part of the routine often included Owen participating in business dinners with visiting customers, so we were comfortable fending for ourselves. At times reservations had been made before our trip began and we knew which nights Owen would be away, but lining up our evening wasn’t always easy, as many times there was no set plan of “when and where.” Since I didn’t have an international cell phone, the only way Owen could get in touch with me was to meet back at our hotel or call the room, but if Isaiah and I were out exploring we needed to be flexible with our dinner plans.
One afternoon the baby and I returned to the room for his nap. By the time he woke up I knew Owen would be coming back soon, so I didn’t want to head back out. To pass the time I took out the crayons and paper I had packed. There was a perfect little desk in the corner for coloring shapes and practicing our colors. Isaiah was sitting in a chair and completely content, so I thought it would be a good time to run to the restroom. I left the door open so I could hear him and dart out if he started to move, besides I just going to be a minute. Right as I was walking out, I saw him standing on the chair and losing his balance. I couldn’t get there fast enough and he came crashing down, catching the side of his face on the corner of the desk.
My heart sank as I rushed to comfort him and inspect his injury. All of the sudden I felt home sick and helpless. I had no idea where the nearest medical facility was located, and no car to get me there anyway. Thankfully there was no bleeding, and I was able to get a wash cloth of cold water to sooth his wound and help with the swelling. It didn’t take long to see he was going to have a black eye. By the time Owen called to say we had been invited to his co-worker’s home for the evening, I had calmed down a little. After explaining to him what had happened and expressing my concerns about being good company, Owen and his friend convinced me that going there was the best option since his home had a medicine cabinet and some basic supplies, not to mention he was an asset as a translator if need be.
When Owen picked us up from the hotel, Isaiah and I were doing better. Owen was quick to put my mind at ease, professing (as I think many dads do) “it’s not that bad.” We arrived at Martin’s home and were greeted by his welcoming family. It was their custom to eat a large lunch and not very much for dinner, but they did put out some homemade bread, cider, and jams, a slaw like salad made from their very own garden vegetables and a few kiwis. The night was very comforting after the upset we had in our hotel room. Martin’s wife practiced her English with me while his daughter played the piano for us and his son brought out a box of building blocks for Isaiah.
The night had been just what I needed and the next day I was again feeling relaxed about our stay (as opposed to trying to book the first flight home). I had even decided I would take Isaiah out for the afternoon. Owen had told me about a restaurant I should try at the square around the corner from our hotel. This was my favorite part of town. The brick paved thoroughfare was really for pedestrians only (although occasionally there would be a random car parked in front of a shop). The path was lined with quaint little stores, one sold chocolates, another sold kitchen wares, a couple sold clothing, etc. Owen had explained that a particular restaurant, the second one with outdoor seating on the north side of the road, had a pizza type dish that he thought was pretty good. Trusting his recommendation, I made it our quest of the day.
What I am about to tell you next is as serious as I can be. I had never tasted anything like this before. One word, flammkuchen. It wasn’t really like a pizza or flat bread I’d eaten. It was amazing! It had a thin crispy crust, there was some sort of beautiful white sauce, the cheese was mild and flavorful, the onions were soft but firm and sweet, and the bacon, oh the bacon; it was perfectly salty, crispy and chewy all at the same time. Together the combination was out of this world. It’s not to say that I had tasted flammkuchen and had a standard to measure it by, but I’m pretty sure I hit the jackpot! Life changing. Honestly it’s worth booking a vacation over.