Sometimes all it takes is a few brief letter exchanges as teenage pen-pals 50 years ago, a brief meeting for a couple hours while on vacation 30 years ago, and then you are invited for Abendbrot and spend an evening talking about life, faith, raising children, careers, and somehow it seems you have known each other forever.

In Jr. High School German class we were set up with German pen-pals. I exchanged a handful of letters with a student in Albig, Germany in the mid-1960s. In 1970 she sent me an wedding/engagement announcement. In 1979 when we moved to Germany, I used the information in that announcement to find her address and send a letter. She responded and still remembered who I was. In 1980 we visited her and her husband in their small village in the Rheinhessen area of Germany. They owned a vineyard and a winery. In 2018 Cathy and I visited them in their home at the end of this trip to Germany and Austria.

We spent the night in the village of Albig at the lovely Pension Anna Held. The next morning was the first day of grape harvest and we were invited to participate in the harvest. That was a fabulous experience! About noon that day we drove directly to Munich, checked in the rental car, checked into our hotel. The following morning we were on the plane back home.

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Video clip of grape picking


Video clip of emptying picked grapes into the trailor


After some hand picking, the big grape harvester makes easy work of it




Gary and Cathy Martin