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Yesterday morning, we enjoyed another “lie in”, then packed up everything for the relatively brief trip home to Wiesbaden. I’m glad we went to Heidelberg. It’s not far from where we live, but it has a different feel. It was nice to leave Hesse, even if we were just over the line. I could have used another day, to be honest.

I didn’t take pictures of yesterday’s breakfast, which was much like the one before it, although we had it inside instead of out in the courtyard. I mentioned that it was my birthday and was hugely surprised by a special gift from the kitchen…

This was a delight! I truly wasn’t expecting it.

After breakfast, we brought our own bags down to the reception desk. They greeted me with a “Happy Birthday!”, having noticed it on the paperwork. All told, our extravagant weekend ran us about $2000 or so– including two nights in the junior suite, a couple of trips to the bar, breakfast, parking, one dinner, and a couple of bottles of wine. Yes, it was very expensive, but we felt it was well worth it after such a difficult and strange year. For us, personally, it wasn’t as difficult as it’s been for a lot of people… but it was definitely weird. I’m hoping for better and less odd days in the near future, as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. We choose to enjoy life while we still can… and splurge when we can. Bill’s latest TDY per diem will be paying for this trip.

Since we couldn’t pick up the dogs until 6:00pm, we decided to go home a different way and spend a couple of hours in Speyer, a town in Rheinland-Pfalz I had heard a lot about but never had a chance to visit. On the way there, my German friend shared this adorable happy birthday video with me.

Bwahaahahahaaha!

After we parked the car, we started walking toward the picturesque city, when I spotted this…

We decided to just stroll through the town and take some photos, since we were really full from breakfast. Founded by the Romans, Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities. It’s the kind of place where it’s just cool to be there. It has a unique look and a different vibe. After our brief look, we’ll definitely have to go back for another visit and perhaps an overnight or two. Parking was cheap and easy in a huge lot near the downtown area.

After an emotional visit to the Dom, we strolled through the park, where there was a small fest going on. I kind of wanted to hang out for awhile, but Bill only paid for two hours of parking. Bummer… we will have to go back. This cute little festival was a nice reminder of what was, and what hopefully be again. Gotta keep the faith.

The dog was enjoying watching the kids on the ride!

We got home in the afternoon, just enough time for me to start the laundry and this travel series. We picked up Arran and Noyzi at the Tierpension Birkenhof 6:00pm. I could hear Arran all the way out to the car. He has a very distinctive bay! I’m happy to report that the boys did fine… When the caregiver opened the gate, Arran came right out to us.

Noyzi needed to be redirected. I’m glad to see he enjoyed his accommodations at the Tierpension Birkenhof!

Noyzi got confused and went back to his “room”. It actually took some convincing to get him to come out to us. Both dogs said goodbye and were relaxed and happy as we loaded them into the Volvo. I felt good about that. I didn’t expect Noyzi would have any trouble and he didn’t disappoint. I think the lady who watched them fell in love with Noyzi, which doesn’t surprise me, either. He’s a very sweet, gentle, easy to handle dog.

Arran says hello before he had his accident in our backyard.

My birthday would have ended up on a great high note, if not for Arran’s exuberance when we got home. Once we let him off the leash, he took off running outside. At some point, he must have careened under the bushes at a high rate of speed. He and Bill were having a reunification bonding session when I noticed blood on Arran’s shoulder. I took a closer look at the fresh wound and realized that he’d torn a big gash open, with a flap hanging down. It wasn’t bleeding a lot, but it was kind of deep.

So poor Bill had to take Arran to the Tierklinik Hofheim for debridement and stitches. Sadly, a lot of people were having pet emergencies last night, so although Bill got there at 9:30pm, he didn’t get home until 4:30am, about 825 euros poorer. The vet clucked sympathetically over the cost, which was pretty high… but in the United States, it would have cost a hell of a lot more than 825 euros to get emergency stitches for our dog in the wee hours of the morning. So while we wish the accident hadn’t happened, we’re grateful the clinic was available and Arran’s situation wasn’t worse. Bill said he counted three people who lost their pets last night. 🙁

Arran seems no worse for wear today, except for the stitches. They loaded him up with antibiotics and painkillers, and I suspect the forced rest will cramp all of our styles a bit. He jumped up on the bed at 4:30am, gave me a kiss, and went right to sleep. He’s been napping all day today. We’ll be taking the hedge trimmers to that bush in the backyard. This is the second time Arran has cut himself on it.

Well, that about does it for my birthday celebration for 2021. If you’ve been following along, thanks so much for reading. We really had a great time. I guess if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that travel is a wonderful privilege that shouldn’t be wasted or taken for granted. And every once in awhile, it’s a good thing to splurge. I suspect our next splurge will be when we book our long awaited dentist appointments in Stuttgart. That will probably be next on the agenda… and after that, maybe a real vacation! Dare to dream!

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