Wednesday, Dec 14
A good, busy morning. Packed up out of the hotel. I walked over to the hospital in the dark, and my favourite waitress came by with her German mastiff so we walked together. Helped Rylan get around with everything he needed. Dr’s changed his bandages and declared his incisions in good enough shape to take a shower. Hooray for feeling like a human again. At 9 o’clock I met Roberts, Rus and Dalen in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Taxis picked up the international patients at 11, and their guests/relatives a few minutes later at the hotel. A bumpy ride into Bremen while I wondered if it wouldn’t be a good idea to make sure these taxi drivers had been through major back surgeries themselves. To be clear, the roads here are in good shape, but there are many streets of brick or cobblestone.
The Park Hotel is described as the city of Bremen’s parlor. The building was constructed in 1872 and became a 5 star hotel in 1956. It overlooks a large pond and 500 acre city park. Our room is spacious and soothing. A wall of floor to ceiling windows that open let in all the natural light we could want, and we look down on multiple trails that disappear into the woods. If you’re an armchair traveler you can see more of the Park Hotel at https://www.hommage-hotels.com/en/parkhotel-bremen/more/about-us.
We had barely checked into our room when Hans, the massage therapist, was knocking at the door. He is a jolly giant, full of information and good cheer. Hans has been working for Enande surgical team for 22 years, exclusively treating their international post-op patients. He tried retiring a few years ago but said all he did was sit in the corner and wait for evening to come, so he started back up again. He loves working with people, and it’s obvious. He chatted the entire time he worked on Rylan’s back. Shortly after Hans left, Marcel the physiotherapist was at the door. He worked with Rylan about 30 min. Stretches while standing, laying, and everything in between. Nothing extreme, but gently working at loosening the lower back and leg muscles and getting his body limber again.
After a bit of rest we went down to the dome room cheesecake and coffee. Roberts showed up shortly after that. The guys set up office with computers, monitors, and smart TV’s and Jan and I walked down to the markets. The hotel is a 5 min walk from Bremen Hauptbahnhof (grand central station), and from there it’s a 15 min walk through winding brick alleys to the main Christmas market. We met up with Rus and Dalen in the crowds, so that was further reassurance that yesterday was not just a dream. We found the Medieval market along the river, another 10 min of walking. The vendors in this market are literally dressed up in medieval costume. This market has more hand craftsmanship booths and less food. Blacksmith, pottery, a lady sewing baby clothes, leather works, skins, hides and furs, nautical ropes, and more. We found a booth we had been looking for: huge copper cauldrons of steaming brew and it comes in darling glazed clay mugs without handles. I really can’t tell you what exactly it is. Let’s just say it warms one up. I would like to bring home a clay mug for each of our girls and us, so.. I dunno. What would Sarah and the girls say?
Robert and Rylan picked us up and we drove back over to the Medieval market. Rylan unfolded himself up and out of the Golf and he and I went strolling. I was a nervous wreck that someone would elbow him in the gut or in the back, or knock him off balance, but it worked. A couple of times I stretched my mother hen arms around Rylan to make a protective circle and put a ferocious glare on. That worked too. If I look like a crazy lady, that’s ok. I’ll never see them again.
Roberts picked us up at the far end of the market. Zipping around in the dark we managed to go the wrong way up a one-way, take the sidewalk for a shortcut, and get chased by a polizei all in the space of 2 minutes. It’s all fun and games, let me tell you.
Everyone gathered in our room for coffee later. This is so much more relaxing than in the hospital. I cracked a window open and fell asleep to the sound of feet crunching on frost covered trails.