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By and by we know the trip south - at least as far as Hannover, our first stop along the way. Departure from Århus at 12 noon, change trains at Fredericia at 1 o'clock, 20 minutes' break in Padborg around 3 in order to strech legs and water a few plants, and then arrival in Hannover at 7. Because of the Expo, Hannover's tramlines had been upgraded and the network extended, so we could now take a tram directly from the main station and on to Mellendorf, and this is exactly what we did.
We arrived in Mellendorf around 8 and were picked up by Iris. We didn't see her coming, because she's had a new car, but fortunately she was able to recognize us. And Milloup threw himself jubilantly at her - she does smell deliciously of fourlegged damsels..
As soon as we were approaching the house, Milloup started squirming and making noises. He was fully capable of recognizing the place, and he raced in the door as if he hadn't been away. Here he was greeted by his friends from our last visit, Coco and Clara. Sadly, old Diva had died in the meantime, but instead a new member had been added to the family, Easy who is Coco's daughter. This gives Iris a line of three bitches, granddam, dam and daughter. And Milloup fell for Easy the minute he clapped eyes on her. She's softer than Coco, and she doesn't as yet know all the tricks that Coco does, so Milloup got away with playing the "Macho" with her - something he cannot do with Coco. Henceforth he stuck to Easy like glue, sly bugger that he is..
We spent the evening catching up on each other's news, but we went to bed early. Iris and Jörg had to get up and go to work next morning, only I was on holiday. Milloup and I were to sleep in the lounge where all the hunting trophies adorn the walls. We fetched a mattress and a sleeping bag and blanket, and as soon as the bed had been made Easy and Milloup played a lively game of "come and get me" on top of the sleeping bag. And it wasn't the last time they did that.
Of course, we also had time for a couple of strolls in the fenced-in garden to allow Milloup to stretch his legs after the long journey.
The next morning I saw to it that neither Milloup nor I got in way when our hosts were going through their morning routine. There's nothing as annoying as having your everyday morning ritual interrupted by others, when you know to the minute how long you need to perform all tasks.
Once Iris and Jörg had left, Milloup and I had plenty of time to get up at a leisurely pace. We took a morning stroll in the garden and greeted the girlies who were having a good time in their kennels at the back of the garden. They greeted us noisily. After breakfast I sat down in front of Iris's computer with her collection of German Teckelstammbücher. Those books had - until one week before - been in my possession for a long time, also longer than anticipated. Iris had been supposed to visit us in connection with a working stay in Denmark, but she didn't have the time after all. But now the mailman had finally brought the books back where they belong, and in return for the loan I had promised to check her database and see, if I could find any new pieces for the ancestry charts of Clara, Coco and Easy. And I did manage to dig up a few pieces for the puzzle.
|Milloup was having a good time. He was relaxing after the trainjourney of the previous day, but suddenly he decided that something must happen. So he went exploring around Iris's fish pond. Strangely enough, the fish didn't want to come and greet him, and at some stage I feared he was going to climb in to say hello. But he contained his fascination and stayed on firm and dry land.|
|Around noon it was time for another little walk. We set off for the local super market, and Milloup had an experience to his liking when he was left outside the fishvendor's booth outside, while I went shopping for a few items. From this position he was able to enjoy the smell of smoked herring and whatever else was on sale from the booth.
Iris returned from work late in the afternoon, and now things went fast. We were going tracking. And it wasn't any old trail either, that Iris had made for Milloup. No, this was a new discipline - for us at least - it's called Fährtenschuh (scent shoes).
|Usually, when we do tracking, they are made with blood dripped from a bottle. It is in this field that Milloup is such a specialist. But with Fährtenschuh the scent is made by strapping the feet of a deer or other game to the scent shoes. The trail maker then walks the trail wearing these shoes. Additionally, a little blood is dripped, but only a total of 1 dl for a 1000 meter trail. Iris says that this corresponds to a drip of blood every 10 meters or so (in comparison we use 2½ dl for 1000 meters, and drips are made at intervals of 1-1½ meters).|
|Coco was brought in from the kennels, and we packed the two dogs, boots, tracking lines and the hide from the first wild boar shot by Iris into the car. The hide was to serve as "game" at the end of the trail. We decided to let Milloup do his bit first. Iris popped into the woods to position the hide, and then she took us to the place where the trail started. When Milloup saw the tracking line he was over the moon. Since I am at present suffering from the most "delicious" slipped disc in my back, we haven't done as much tracking as Milloup would have liked to do. But NOW, at least, he was to be given a free rein..
Iris had made a short trail of about 300 meters for this first attempt. Milloup started in style, but after a little while he left the trail. We brought him back and showed him the trail, and now he seemed to understand what was expected of him. For a while everything went fine, but then we reached a patch carpeted with something that had once been tiny dandilion-like flowers. Now they were just shedding all their cotton-like seeds, and the seeds clung to Milloup all over his front, some even entered his nose. He didn't like this at all and had to be helped a little once more.
After this experience everything went fine until we reached the end of the trail and found the hide. Under the hide Iris had placed a tiny container of dogfood, and Milloup devoured his just deserts with pleasure.
His pleasure was not as big, though, when we got back to the car and he discovered that he was to sit alone while we went tracking with Coco. In fact his displeasure could be heard at quite some distance from the car.
|After the tracking outing we raced home. Iris and Jörg were going to a venue that night, and Milloup and I were invited to come along. But my back was playing up after walking the woods, so I elected to stay behind rather than having to disturb the lecture, should I need to get up and walk around - which was very likely to happen.|
Instead Milloup and I made tracks for the field behind the house, and then we sat down on the sofa to watch TV.
|Iris and Jörg returned around midnight. It had been a good, but rather long meeting. Before bedtime Iris just had to practice on the piano, as she was to play at a church service for the new kids starting school the next morning. And the tunes had arrived by fax only that same afternoon. But soon everybody was sleeping peacefully.
This wasn't like the time we visited our friends Per and Akemi in Copenhagen. Per worked nights and returned home at 6 am. I woke up to see a wildly barking Milloup crossing the floor to intercept the "intruder".
A rather embarassing thing, as dogs aren't really allowed on the premises where Per and Akemi live..
|Once we'd had breakfast Iris drove us to the tiny church in the middle of the woods where she was to play. Iris disappeared into the church, and we sniffed around outside and watched the fledgling schoolkids all dressed up and holding the hands of their parents. All the kids were carrying their "Schultüten", large cardbord cones containing - so I was told - sweets and fruit. It is a German tradition for parents to give their kids such cones for their first school day.
Once the service started nothing more was to be seen outside, so instead we went exploring in the woods around the church. We walked to the outskirts and traversed the field beyond before heading back when we reached a road. We much preferred staying on the footpaths where Milloup could run loose without his lead on.
|Once the service was completed we must hurry on, because Iris had to visit a saddle maker before closing time. And then we went to her parents' house for a quick visit. Our first visit had been in March when the garden wasn't in full splendour. But it certainly was now. There were flowers everywhere, and Milloup sniffed around and did a spot of exploring.|
|Iris's mother greeted us warmly, and she was happy with the tiny gift we'd brought her. I walked around admiring all the flowers, and Iris's mother offered me some seeds for later, but sadly I don't have so much use for seeds living in a second floor apartment as I do..
Our train was to leave at 14.06, so we didn't have much time left. However, I did have the time to admire a few huge fuchsias that had been standing on the landing of the staircase looking depressed during our last visit there. Now they were all blooms and smiles.
|Then we hit the road again. Back at Iris's place I called our Stuttgart hotel in order to make final arrangements for our arrival and get directions on how to get there.
Our train was to be in Stuttgart around 8 pm, and we then had to find our way from the city centre to the suburb of Zuffenhausen. As Stuttgart is not the smallest of cities, this might just cause a few problems along the way.
|While I was making my phonecall Iris was making us pancakes. That is, she called it pancakes, but it was more like what we call omelettes at home. They were delicious!
And then it was time to say goodbye. We crammed our belongings into the car and Iris took us to the station in Mellendorf. She wished us a safe journey and lots of luck in Stuttgart, and then we were off on our own.
Fortunately, we had plenty of time when we reached Hannover train station. It turned out that this newly redecorated and refurbished train station did not seem to possess a basic necessity in the form of a billboard giving information on platform numbers for departing trains. I found one for trains arriving, but as I had no idea from where our train was coming, this was no help whatsoever.
It was approaching 14.06, and we'd made several rounds through the station without finding any directions. Furthermore, not a train attendant was to be seen anywhere, whereas I'd seen plenty the day we arrived. Panic was about to strike, and I picked a platform at random. Luck would it, that this was indeed the right one, otherwise we would have missed our train.
Such a nice train station to go with such bad directions to the travelling public. Too bad, Hannover!
Opdateret d. 28-12-05