A last minute detour

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gutersloh......Where the hell is Gutersloh?!?!  I had little idea myself, and probably wouldn't have been able to find it if it wasn't for my GPS.  It is actually a little town that was not too far out of my way on the route to Berlin.  One of my penpals that I had made contact with shortly after leaving Honda, was a girl by the name of Mareike.  She lived in this small town and by luck, she had received my email while in Frankfurt that I would be passing through.  Other than to pay a quick visit here, I really didn't have much of a reason to stop.  But I figured when will I ever be this close to meeting this person ever again, so why not?!  It is also nice to put a face to the name of someone I had corresponded with on and off for so long.    I arrived at her place after 4 hours of driving, in still wet miserable weather.  Not exactly the ideal time to visit Germany.....but that is my style I guess.     Mareike invited me in and we sat down and chatted for some time.  It's always a little bit of a new feeling when meeting someone you have been writing to for so long.  We exchanged some stories and decided that we would meet up with one of her friends from town, Annie and all three of us go out for dinner.      We went to a local restaurant where we had agreed to meet.   When Annie finally arrived, she was all excited to be using her English.  It was funny to see, she was talking a mile a minute.  The two ladies described to me somethings around town, but apparently there isn't a whole lot going on in Gutersloh.  But that is exactly what I liked about it.  People always seem to think that they have to impress me or show me some amazing time when I am with them in their neighborhood.  I was just happy sitting and having a normal dinner and enjoying my new friends company.  After dinner we walked around the "downtown", getting soaked in the process.  Quaint little shops on every corner, its a nice change from back home with all the monster Home Depots, Walmart and shopping centers.  It is one thing that I wish we had back home....it just gives a more hometown kinda feel.  Another funny thing that I noticed about Germany, is that people are usually referring to their villages.  But the funny thing is that most "villages" still have like 5000 people living in them.  That is about the same, if not more than the town of Tottenham I have lived in for the past 10 years.  Just a funny little observation.      Since I was not in a hurry to get to Berlin because I had not yet heard from any couchsurfers, I thought I might stick around for one more evening, trying to figure out my plan of action for the big city.  However that night Mareike had her mom's birthday party to go to and wouldn't be home until quite late.  Annie being the super generous person that she is, offered to let me stay at her place within 20 mins of just meeting me.  I thought that was amazing of her to just put such a kind offer out to a complete stranger, even if her friend did vouch for me.  I was touched.   Of course I took her up on her offer.  When I went to re place, I found out though that she had literally just moved into this new apartment days before.  She was still in the process of organizing everything, but she still felt it was her duty to be an amazing hostess.  She had gone to the grocery store to buy all kinds of chips, meats, candies, pops...you name it.  She had bought enough food to feed 4-5 people, and I was only going to be there for 1 night!!  Thank you Annie, you were far to kind.   My only regret is that I never got a picture with my gracious hostess.      My final night in town before taking off, I went back to Mareike's place and the two of us went out for a farewell dinner to Pizza Hut.  I was feeling like some good old fashion greasy goodness.  It was actually a little bit of a shame that I was leaving so soon, because I think that we were just starting to feel comfortable around each other, making the conversations flow.  I really enjoyed my short but sweet time in the middle of nowhere Germany (not an insult! :)   Thank you so much to both Annie and Mareike for showing me a nice time and being such great company.  I wish you two the best, a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks for the chocolate too Mareike.....you didn't help with my weight loss program :p.  
    Now it was time to pack up the car and get heading to Berlin, the capital city of Germany which I have heard so many good things about.  Plus I had to get that rental car back soon.  I was looking forward to reuniting with my good friend from Athens, Mathias as well.  I have a feeling, that good times lie ahead!  
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