Copyright 2002 - 2007 I Text and Photography by Dieter Rolf Fischer, unless indicated I Above photos: Telstra
9. A walk in the Black Forest
When Elsa and I said our good-byes the next morning, I felt genuinely sad that the wonderful days in Berlin came to an end. My expectations of Berlin, the world-class, re-born metropolis, had far been exceeded. Having had a friend, who gave such wonderful hospitality, made it even more memorable.
I had purposely planned to travel the long distance from Berlin to my home town Esslingen/Wuerttemberg on Saturday. Trains were much cheaper. I didn't mind travelling only on regional trains. It made the pleasure last so much longer.
I almost missed the 8.17am train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, due to track work on the S-Bahn, between Schoeneberg and Potsdamer Platz. All passengers had to transfer to a bus. Lucky my first train was 5 minutes late. I would have missed it.
Technology made travelling so much easier. With the push of a button I had a complete trip plan printed out. I knew exactly what time and which platform my train would be arriving, and when and where my next one would be leaving from. Having seven different trains was therefore no big deal.
It was totally relaxed, reading the free on-board magazine, writing my diary or just looking out the window, admiring the same pretty yellow fields, I had seen from the air, before my plane had landed in Europe.
Germany in late April - endless fields of Canola
The Deutsche Bahn Magazine, Mobil 05/07 Edition, on pages 48-49 ran a 5-question quiz: Wie hiess die erste Frau im All ? (Name the first woman in space).
To find her 11-letter-name, the reader first needed to find the answer to 5 questions and use certain letters, numbered 1-11.
The answers to the quiz were:
1. Star: MADONNA AO
2. Author: MARQUEZ RE
3. Sport: TISCHTENNIS TCH
4. 50 years-time Tunnel: WANNSEE WS
5. Inventions: ALFRED KRUPP EK
The first female austronoaut's name: TERESCHKOWA.
The creator of the quiz had put much thought into it all, if you pardon the pun. In question 1 the letters AO, were extracted from the name MADONNA - the 9 & 11th letter.
And how could I not have seen the number 1963, the year Tereschkowa circled the earth 49 times. It was in the first line on the page. Later, when I googled her name, I found out her date of birth - 6.3.19 37.
In question 3, shown in the picture above, was a spelling error - ledoglich. It should spell lediglich. At the time I did not see the other three possibilities of codes. Only while preparing this chapter did my brain dig a little deeper:
Look at the word Hosen, the 1st word in the 5th line. Change o to i to arrive at - His en.
His en includes all letters to create heissen, meaning "to be named". (Just now I see more: Heiss is German for hot, so his en is also a hot en).
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Fast forward to 9/7/07 for a Madonna link. Cycling home from the city I found this fantale candy wrapper.
Regular reader will recognize this as our third Fantale candy wrapper in my books. Isn't it amazing ... 5. Madonna ... 1 of 7 siblings ... 15 albums ... 11 number one singles ...
Somebody must have read this and known my code. But for me to casually cycle by, see it and then pick it up, is truly amazing. (Old dog - old tricks).
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My older brother, Gerhard, picked me up outside the Esslingen Railway Station, when my suburban train dropped me just after 7.30 pm. The railway square, and the area surrounding the Bahnhof, looked a little sad, as we walked around, licking an ice-cream, making use of the daylight on this beautiful evening. The whole precinct was being totally re-designed. In my youth, in the ten years prior to migrating to Australia, we lived in the nearby 13th century Pliensauturm.
While living in this ancient building, I spent many hours just looking out the window, watching trains from all over Europe roar by at high speed, on their way to Munich, Innsbruck or Vienna. In an article about the Pliensauturm, the Esslinger Zeitung (newspaper) once quoted my mother in a bold headline as saying: "Wenn der Schnellzug durch rast wackelt die Bettlade".("When the fast train races through, you feel the bed shaking").
When they were not arguing, my late mother and father had a wonderful sense of humour.
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Esslingen am Neckar is one of the few towns in Germany, which survived the Second World War undamaged.
Top: Bahnhofs-Platz, Pliensauturm, built in 1286, in the the background.
Bottom: Esslingen skyline is dominated by the Esslinger Burg, first mentioned in 1314.
Since the whole Neckartal is home to specialized industries (cars, machinery, electronics etc) Esslingen never had a need to promote mass tourism. The little known gem, may prefer it like that ...
Right: My parent's grave, WILHELM FISCHER, died 1982, and PAULA FISCHER, died 2003. My step-sister Christa, who died of cancer, is buried in the same grave. (The way LA IER 03 came out was total fluke).
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During an early walk the next day, Sunday 29/4/07, I made an interesting discovery, magic timing. The grave yard, where my parents were buried, was within walking distance of my brother's apartment, where I stayed. I had a little trouble locating my parent's grave, since somebody had planted a small tree right in front of the headstone.
At the time of pondering over the grave, it should have come to me, the date. But it only came a few minutes later. I had continued my walk to check the noticeboard of the Hohenkreuz-Kirche (translated - High-Cross Church). Reading about the various upcoming events, I was forced to think: "What is the date today?" Then it came, April 29, my late father's birthday. He was born in 1902, so this day was his 105th birthday. God's incredible timing.
But there was more. One upcoming meeting on that noticeboard I found equally amusing as well as amazing. I learned that a special speaker, an author, was to come and speak about her book. The advertised date was 10.5. The lady's name, keeping in mind she was an author, was Wortmann, translated Wordman.
On my way back to my brother's apartment a vehicle stopped right beside me. A young man asked for directions to the Burg. Little did this driver know that a stranger, from 15 thousand kilometres away, was able to tell him exactly, where he had to go.
When he drove away, however, I read the registration plate of the bike trailer he was pulling ...LL 51. Maybe this driver knew about the stranger ....?
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Parking ticket dated 23/4 found in Esslingen. Start reading the time backwards 3 1 6 ...
Visiting the district in Oberesslingen it came to me: Before moving into the Pliensauturm in 1960 I had, for the first ten years of my life, lived in Plochinger Strasse 136.
The building has long made space for a car dealership, selling SMART cars.
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The Volksmission, the church of my youth, had ten years prior to my 07 visit moved from the city centre of Esslingen. Their new premises were located a stone's throw from 136 Plochinger Strasse. It was a beautiful walk that Sunday morning of my late father's birthday. I walked to attend their service. Nobody knew, I was coming, so I looked forward to just quietly slip in the back, sit down and enjoy the service.
However, some chatty parishioners, sitting one row behind me, kept talking, even after the service had started. I found this distracting, so I moved just a few rows forward. Without thinking I sat down two seats away from an old friend, Rose. It so happened, it was also her birthday (not her 105th, I think).
During the service, as I sometimes do, I counted the seats. Why I did this, I'm not sure, but my brain can listen to a sermon, as well as count seats. (Not on that day, but there have been occasions, where counting the seats was more stimulating than the sermons). That morning I had changed to Row 7, the 5th seat across, (if I only counted the middle section - the sermon was about Romans 7, Verse 5 .... just kidding).
After the service I talked to a few brothers and sisters. I felt that some had hardly changed in 4 decades.
As one faithful soul once testified very proudly (please don't take this too seriously): "I became a Christian and started my walk with the Lord in this church over 50 years ago. I have been in the way ever since."
Rose invited me to her birthday gathering that afternoon. At her house, in the same street as the Hohenkreuz-Kirche, I met more of my old-time friends in a surprise, happy reunion.
Another friend from my youth, who I had kept in contact with, happened to visit his son in the Stuttgart region that weekend. We had arranged that I could travel back with them for a few days in their beautiful home, in the heart of the Black Forest, near St.Georgen.
While waiting to meet Juergen and Gertrud, outside the Bahnhof in Bad Cannstatt, I enjoyed a friendly chat with a blind, young man. I find blind people fascinating. They usually have a sharp mind and are very engaging to talk to. Many blind people I meet perceive more of the world than the average sighted earth-dweller.
I am writing this in a mildly agitated state, after one close family member, once again, told me to forget about my writing and get a life. I sense this person still sees me and my writing (without having read it) as mentally ill. I admit, I had been out of control, but that was 8 years and 6 books ago. How many books will I need to write, how many overseas trips will I need to take, before I am released from that prison?
Let's introduce a new subject for university studies: The meaninglessness of life; scholarships available; prerequisite a firm understanding that everything in life started with a Big Band, sorry big bang, x-trillion years ago. All what followed was and is purely co-incidental, without any intelligence force responsible for the wonders of the universe.
Blind Freddy doesn't believe that! Send him to university and they will soon work on him ...
It only took a little over an hour in my friend's Skoda, via Germany's superb autobahn system, to reach our destination. How can anyone believe all of creation, the way it all intricately works together, is nothing but co-incidence, without any intelligent, creative force behind it. It's easier to believe the motor car all started after a big bang. (Actually, that would be more believable - when an engine backfires, it makes a big bang).
As I had experienced so many times, my friends showed superb hospitality, both when inviting me for meals out and at their home. That Sunday evening I was spoiled with a lovely meal at an Italian Restaurant, il David, in the town of Koenigsfeld.
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My friends Juergen and Gertrud.
Top: Walk in the Black Forest - 1/5/07.
Look how J & G still look into each other's eyes, after 35 years marriage!
April 30th 07: Bike ride to Villingen-Schwenningen, notice more yellow fields of Canola.
Villingen, together with it's twin city Schwenningen, is the regional centre of the Schwarzwald-Baar Region. Both the Neckar and the Danube Rivers start their long journeys near here.
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My hosts had duties to attend to the next morning. I took the opportunity for a long hike through the forest. The calendar still showed April, but as I walked in the warm sunshine it could easily have been June or July. Briefly looking at the map I decided to hike to the next village, called Buchenberg.
My diary says it was heaven on earth - just walking carefree among the tall trees, smelling the sweet scent of pine needles. To complete the picture of the Happy Wanderer, I picked up a tree branch to use as a walking stick, singing along the way: "Das Wandern ist des Mueller's Lust..." or "Muss i denn muss i denn zum Staedtele hinaus und Du mein Schatz bleibst hier (...must I leave the town and you my treasure stays home).
Just as well my treasure had stayed home. Would she understand, why I translated Buchenberg - N Book Mountain? Would she let me pick up a tiny white paperclip, because I saw it had been bent to make the letters L & J?
Neither would she appreciate, why I took special notice of a lavender coloured lolly paper on the footpath. I picked it up to decorate my diary. The German word for lolly is Bon Bon. Bon is French and means good in English. (On the day of writing it is Indendence Day in France, July 14th. We shall visit France, quite unexpectedly, in the next chapter).
Buchenberg was named true to it's name, a picture-book village with a Gasthof (Hotel-Restaurant), numerous Bauernhoefe (farmhouses), all neatly built around a central plaza, in front of an impressive church and a water fountain, water flowing freely. On the ground, near this water fountain, I spotted the paper clip. The shape L & J did it. At least this is what I perceived, when my eyes fell on it:
Diary: April 30th 07, Found, paperclip, right by the fountain at picturesque Buchenberg.
Found: Dr. Soldan Em-herbal Bonbon (candy) wrapper.
From Buchenberg I walked beside a road for a few kilometers. My diary records a few details of what I had spotted:
Eismann, Nutz, Rego ... 177, Novabronch Zitronenmelisse (zuckerfrei), (Lemon diet ...), IT teases me...
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Below: OAL KA 177
Another rego 177 I came across later.
It was during an early morning walk, approx. 2 weeks later, when I saw this: The phone number, if read backwards contains two numbers 228 and 1963.
The company Antes & Huber (how more Da Ninci can you get?) I found out, had closed 3 years prior. The car dealership I enquired at, displayed a toy car - Rego No.53. This made me think - above was no fluke, I had been led once again.
If above was just a fluke - the car with my code all over it, in a lonely car park, by an Alpine Lake (ALPSEE), where I happened to cycle to, then my whole six books are indeed, like life itself, meaningless.
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Another observation in Buchenberg lay dead under the tourist map I was reading - a dead bird. A scripture comes to mind (slightly adapted): "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet, neither a paperclip nor a sparrow will fall to the ground, apart from the will of your Father."
By the time I had reached my friend's house again, I had walked briskly for about two hours. Since it had been a tough morning, hard work physically and mentallly, I needed some relaxation in the afternoon (just kidding).
After a brief snack and German brewed coffee, Juergen and I cycled to Villingen, the next big town east. (See photo above. The next major train stop after Villingen, for those interested, is called Rottweil. The dog breed Rottweiler is named after this town).
All over Europe on May 1st is Labour Day. The occasion is celebrated around the world, nobody works. (As I write I notice, that I am writing about 1/5/07 on 15/7). On public holidays, such as the 07 Labour Day, Germans are out in large numbers, hiking, cycling, camping etc. The finer the weather, the more sun and fun seekers emerge.
My friend Wolfgang, and his wife Ruth, joined us for a long Wanderung (hike) from St.Georgen to Hornberg. It was such a glorious day, the rolling meadows, bathed in yellow flowers, isolated farm houses, nestled beside dark green pine forests, and wonderful company to walk along with.
How could I spoil the atmosphere and bring up a sombre subject, like an alleged paedophile, innocently locked up in a far-away jail? My friends knew about my passionate campaign. We had been in email contact. Here was their chance to find out, first hand, all the details what I had uncovered. The subject came up briefly. I can't recall how, only that it was quickly replaced by another topic.
It made me think, did they all know the details from my writing, which was possible, or were they simply not interested? Either one would explain the silence.
Later that evening, dining in a comfortable Italian Restaurant, la Galleria, despite us booking a table for 6, our table had been set for 7. The conversation turned briefly to the unpleasant subject. Again, it was a conversation killer.
Likewise, the numbers game; where would I start, explaining that God spoke through number 228 and 301, or 153, 316 and 4860; and it all makes sense?
At one point, some years ago, I had thought (and written) that numbers were moving into the background, slowly fading out of the picture. Not so. Since no number in itself has a meaning, but must be applied in conjunction with another factor, I don't think numbers will ever be superfluous.
If you play Lotto and are using certain numbers, they mean far less on a bus time table than on the screen after the Lotto draw on TV. When I see 963, I get excited, because digits were linked to a story full of drama and magic, which led me to Psalm 96, Verse 3: "Declare His glory among the nations, His wonder among all peoples."
This is my motivation behind this, my autobiography, to tell the wonders God is doing, with and without numbers, and that HE is worthy of our devotion our surrender, our love. What better place than to spread this message than the world wide web.
Little wonder, I got excited during this week. In the mail came a leaflet with my beloved 963 (plus 1.000). As soon as I opened the mail, I recognized it, and thanked God, there must be a sub culture out there, hidden on the internet, who follows my weird reasoning, yet still plays the game with me.
It makes me think, someone, somewhere take me seriously, because they know it's all true; not just my numbers, but my message that comes with it.
Even without numbers, I could tell a FAN was behind it all.
If I had not understood it, dining with my friends in the Italian Restaurant in the Black Forest, I do now: There are burdens, a man has to carry on his own. I had experienced this at home, why should my friends, be any different?
When speaking to people about my mission, I get the impression that those who hear me, feel sorry for me, friends or family, it makes no difference. However, the last thing I want people to feel is pity for me. Or they class me as loony, one who lost his marbles, as the saying goes.
Actually, talking of marbles, earlier in the week, on 9/7 ( ! ) I found some marbles. Cycling back from the city, where I made some ground-breaking discoveries, (God willing, in a future chapter) I saw marbles on the ground, four of them. It was not far from our house, straight after picking up above Madonna candy-wrapper. If I tell you, what else I found, and how I saw it, you may think, the marbles I found, were those I had lost.
Pictured below is a piece of cardboard. It had been on our front lawn for a few days. My wife commented on it, as we drove into our driveway one evening. Hours before writing this I finally picked it up and looked at it. Could it be linked to the marbles, which were lost and found? I thought so, because the numbers added up.
101 Glass Marbles, Made in China
4 marbles found as I cycled home from the city. A trailer was parked nearby, registration number 404.
Having found the 101 Glass marbles packaging, the whole thing makes sense: 101 - 4 = 97, the date I found my marbles, which people think I'd lost, was 9/7.
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I don't know what my friends really thought, after we had dined in that Italian Restaurant on my last day in the Black Forest. If they could not see the similarity between the number 486 and 4860, how would they have reacted had I tried to explain the address of my host in my Da Ninci code:
No.9, 115ANG&T or the town, where my other friend and his wife lived: Thorn AN IT?
Anyone for a game of marbles? Please bring yours, I only have four.