After a memorable final day and evening, I was up by 5:30 to complete final preparations prior to being picked up by a shuttle that would take me to the Frankfurt airport directly. It was a calm and beautiful morning, with plum trees in full bloom, birds singing, and the sun not yet making an appearance above the mountains that surround Heidelberg. My heart was in my throat as I got in the van, driven by a man with puffy, dyed-pitch black hair, sort of 1950s style. No sooner did we get on the high-speed freeway linking Heidelberg to the rest of Germany, traffic slowed down and was backed up for many kilometers. There were two women on the van and both were mostly asleep the entire way, missing the gorgeous morning scenes of sunlight streaming through groves of trees beside the highway, castles and forts atop hillsides and promontories, and dazzling fields of yellow mustard plants.
The scenery of the highway to be traveled to the airport, however, was anything but tranquil. 3 lanes of vehicles were crawling along, which our driver found unacceptable and so, to my astonishment, pulled onto the shoulder to the right of the slow lane and began his end-run maneuver. He did not creep along but accelerated to 70 kmh and would weave in and out of the slow lane whenever he felt like he had made progress. Thus, the trip that took me to Heidelberg in 40 minutes at a terrific and terrifying speed, now deposited me at the airport in around 70 minutes, giving me precisely 90 minutes to go through security, buy a gift or two, and have plenty of time to calm down and reflect.
More about that later on.
Thus did the very long day of April 8th, designated long in advance as the completion of my 27,600 mile round-the-world passage to the Far West, come to a happy conclusion. My dear partner Miko had prepared the house with streamers and a couple charming drawings to welcome me back. And although I rode the Bart train from the airport to the nearest station, there were no incidents or weirdness to jolt or disturb me.
So now, as a friend remarked, it is a matter of “landings” into the territories and configurations of the life I left behind. I will get to these issues in a few days, but will dedicate my next entry to “acknowledgements” of all the components, people, and opportunities that made my “passage” possible.