December 23, 2001 – Dörrenbach:
After settling in my room at Vogelweh lodging in Kaiserslautern,
meeting my co-workers and getting a (tiny) Mercedes rental car,
learning a few local roads after work, I finally got myself on the
road and set out for Dörrenbach, the land of my ancestors--the Weiss
clan (my mother’s family).
I woke quite late (almost 9am) but managed to get out by around
10:30am on December 23rd. I hadn't shaken the cold that had plagued
me the past few days, and my head still hurt from sinus congestion.
The drive was much longer than expected, but I didn’t get too lost.
I made six wrong turns and six additional right turns (to correct
the six wrong turns). The problem with navigating in Germany was
that they didn’t tell you if the road was heading east or west. You
just had to know which city/town you were headed for. So every time
I’d turn off I’d stop (when I could find a place to plow into a snow
bank) and pull out my enormous European road atlas to see if I was
headed for the correct city. This atlas was huge, and contained
Switzerland and Austria too, which could've led to some temporary
panic attacks if I'd opened it to the wrong page.
The local radio stations were cool, playing the older music I
loved, and skipping rap and hip-hop. I hadn't heard Ballroom Blitz
in a long time, and they played it often. I drove south to
Pirmasens, east to Annweiler, south to Bad Bergzabern, and west to
Dörrenbach. Three photos below were shot in Annweiler, and the
bottom two show the Burg Trifels (I think Burg means 'castle' in
German--which may explain why the movie "Ice Castles" confused many