Tuesday began with a hearty breakfast at the home of Ella’s relatives. There were meats and cheeses and donuts and bread and coffee. Jo had even purchased a USA Today newspaper and the global version of The New York Times. It was a very nice touch. Once we had eaten it was time to meet Rudolf Maier, the Mayor, or Burgermeister, of Amberg.
We were also greeted by a journalist from the local newspaper and two professional photographers. (Good thing that I wore a nice dress!) I was showered with gifts from the city: a special sweet liquer, a barrel of ten different kinds of beer, all brewed right in Amberg, and a bag filled with information about the city. The Burgermeister and his staff were gracious and friendly hosts. I told them that they are all welcome to visit Milwaukee anytime.
Jo had hired a professional photographer named Alex Viebig to record the day’s events and for a two hour photo shoot at picturesque spots around the city. We posed before city hall, in front of the eyeglass bridge, near the four gates that lead into the city, and many more spots. Glasses were on our minds, so we visited their close family friends. They were incredibly nice, giving me a free pair of stylish sunglasses and an espresso. (As Jo keeps saying, “We only hang out with nice people.) I’m fairly certain that Oma Ella and I are now the most famous people in all of Amberg.Optik Millies, a shop owned by Ella’s
Ella is a devout Catholic, so visiting churches has been part of most days’ events. These large cathedrals are stunningly beautiful and it is touching to watch oma show her reverence for each house of worship. We trekked up to the Mariah Hilf Kirche, a large church overlooking the entire city. We also visited the church of St. Antonius. Ella and her two sisters donated money to repair the roof of the building. Ella’s mother is also buried in the church’s cemetery. We stopped to pay our respects and Ella starting softly crying. You never really get over the loss of your parents.
I then spent some time exploring Amberg on my own. The central market square has some chic restaurants with outdoor seating. I wrote a few postcards while relaxing at Cafe Zentral. I bought a nice quilted Burberry-style coat at Gerry Weber and I warmed up with some goulash at Scholderer Brau. Jo picked me up outside of one of the city’s gates and we drove to the charming small village of Kallmunz. Three kids were fishing in the city’s river as we parked our car. They had caught a large carp and Ella was eager to touch the fish’s smooth skin. She is always curious and excited about the small surprises in life.