Those of you who have been reading my letters for a few years might remember me writing about Ilka and Jurgen, the German couple we met in Langkawi, Malaysia. Being more sensible than us, they arrived in Malaysia by plane and were staying in a Five Star Resort. We met them at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. Gene and I had been to the dining room several times at this point and were trying out different things on the menu. We thought that whatever they had ordered looked great so one of us butted in and asked what they were eating. Rather than telling us to buzz off, they offered us a taste and some wine. The four of us ended up spending about a week exploring and dining together and we have kept in touch via email over the years. They have even spoken to Grampa Miles (my Dad) on the phone a few times. In one of their emails to us, they signed off as ‘Your Germans’. We loved that and have called them ‘Our Germans’ ever since.
L-R Gene, Jurgen and Ilka
When we met them, they were living in Sri Lanka. Ilka’s mother lived there so when they took an early retirement (Ilka wasn’t quite 40), they moved there. One email we received from them told us that Jurgen had come down with a particularly nasty type of Dengue fever and was told that if he got another bout within a year, it could be deadly; they decided to go back to Germany. Ilka had also decided she was too young to retire and wasn’t happy with the somewhat aimless life retirement in the out-back tropics offers. They are both very happy now and living in Drensteinfurt. Ilka is back to being a school principal and Jurgen is a consultant. When they read that we were in Rome, they decided to come and see us. We offered them a berth on Peregrine, but they really wanted a vacation. (Gee I don’t know why they didn’t like the sound of a freezing walk to the shower and facilities!) A little pampering sounded good to me, so we decided to stay where they would and have a vacation too.
They emailed us that they had their tickets—arriving on Dec. 21st and departing on Jan. 4th. They found a holiday special at the Marcella Royale, a small ‘boutique’ hotel, and had arranged rooms for us. We would stay there for four days and would plan our next step from there. We had tentatively planned to spend time in both Rome and Florence (Firenze).
I was really looking forward to seeing them and getting off the boat for a bit. We hadn’t seen much since we arrived and Jurgen and Ilka have been to Italy many times, so we knew we would have some great guides. Ilka also spent quite a few holidays in Tuscany with her parents as a child and knows Florence quite well.
Enough for now, next—Roma with Our Germans.
Happy New Year to You All,
Sue and Gene