Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 6 ALL IN HIS HAND I Archive: Book 1 I Book 2 I Book 3 I Book 4 I Book 5 I Index Copyright 2002 - 2007 I Text and Photography by Dieter Rolf Fischer, unless indicated I Above photos: Telstra
10. La Rose d' Alsace
Every time I say good-bye and thank-you to friends I had stayed with, I invite them to visit Australia. Juergen and Gertrud knew I meant it. Were it not for the long distance, I am sure, they and other friends would come and enjoy our hospitality.
My entire luggage for the three nights in the Black Forest was my small backpack. This proved to be a good move. Without suitcase to pull along, I had great mobility. A thought came to me. If I were to purchase a "Baden-Wurttemberg-Ticket" I would be able to travel the entire rail network in this state for less, or not much more, than the cost of a one-way train ticket back to Esslingen.
This opened many possibilities. One was to visit the French city of Strasbourg. This is what I did. My train from St.Georgen, on May 2nd, was leaving just after 9 am. I insisted that I walk to the railway station, about 45 minute's walk away.
On the way, apart from the wonderful green hills, interspersed with red roofed Black Forest farmhouses, I saw the usual incidentals: a glove, which I placed onto a nearby fence, car registration numbers, 999 or 9999, plus one by the ZG company, rego number ZG 51. This vehicle also displayed a sign on the windscreen: I Y Paul.
It may have been the freshness of the morning air, why I saw so much. I had to refrain from taking photographs. Once my camera was ready to photograph graffiti, the word TALIDIN, on the wall of a building at No. 7 .... Street, near the railway station. But I put the LID ON IT. (As I edit this - including an e, I could read: LIED A N (is) IT.
Modern technology surprised me once again. At the train station I was able to purchase my train ticket from a machine, paying with my Credit Card. (I was nearly going to write Visa card, but someone will think I am getting a kick-back for free advertising).
The RE Regional Express didn't take long to reach Offenburg, in the Rhein Valley. Before my next train to Strasbourg, I had about 1/2 to stroll around this place. In a small park I admired a statue featuring a local celebrity, Lorenz Oken, a naturalist born near Offenburg in 1779.
I think, but don't take this as gospel, he invented, together with King Ludwig, the art of nude sunbaking. That's what naturalists do, don't they? The four letters of his name Oken, I found interesting. A local high school is named after him, so he must have done something good, something useful besides.
What I did next was useless to anyone else, except an outside the box thinker, who wanted to have fun. I happened to walk along a street and noticed a parked motor car, registration No. ...115. My diary doesn't say when, but near this vehicle I picked up Parkschein, either before or after seeing 115. The details:
Location: Im Pfaehlerpark 1 (Pillar Park No. 1); Ankunftszeit (Arrival Time): 11.57 am.
One day, if I ever was to be eternalized as a bronze statue, I hope it will not be because I picked up parking tickets, which matched car registration plates. Still, better than being totally forgotten.
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Find on the way to the St. Georgen railway station. A page of a law-book - AO 1977, Paragraph 183, Page No. 6101, 78 a.
Not until writing this chapter did I try and work out the code (14), if indeed it was meant to be one: 1977 - 14 = 1963.
14 + 6101 + 78 = 6193. (For another magic 1963 read further in this chapter).
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Strasbourg is situated on the Rhein, the river which forms the border between Germany and France for quite some distance. What the castle Sans Souci is to Versailles, Strasbourg is to Paris, a small version of the real McCoy. I had been in this French metropolis during an annual school excursion. When I was 14 or 15 we travelled by bus to Strasburg. Every year I looked forward to these trips. They gave my young, adventurous mind a taste for travelling, since my parents never owned a motor car.
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Maison Kammerzell, one of Strasbourg's most famous buildings (on the right), was built in 1427 and is now a Restaurant.
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One of the most significant roles Strasbourg plays, it is the seat of the European Parliament. The city's other claim to fame is the impressive Cathedral, which at 142 metres, was the world's tallest building from 1625 until 1847. According to Wikipedia, the first stone was laid in 1015. (Can't get away from 115).
Once again the weather was perfect for exploring this picturesque town on foot. I followed a sign to La Petite France and another to St. Louise Eglise (church). I had no specific plans, or even a decent map. I just enjoyed the French atmosphere, soaking up all I could in the few hours I had.
But please remember, even as a tourist on holidays, a Christian's life involves being active 24/7. (Hey, that's the day of uploading this, 24/7). If he wanted me to do something specific, I was ready.
Of course, we ought to walk with God, even while being a tourist. But is the following going a little too far? Yesterday's church bulletin, under prayer requests, reminded us to pray for Bill and Jean. They were away - on a South Pacific Cruise ...
Me? Pray for them? While they're cruising the South Pacific? They ought to pray for those staying back in freezing cold Adelaide!
If I was led again, or indeed there were folks placing items into my path, specifically for me to notice, I do not know. It was either this, or what I saw on the footpath was pure co-incidence.
After a brief look (outside only) St.Louise Church, I turned the corner back toward the Canal. On the footpath stood an empty, clear glass bottle. In passing I read the label. It was interesting. Since this was not a walk with my dog at home, I could not collect it. Wine bottles only hold a 1 cent refund anyway. I walked on. But the letters on the label bothered me - starting with Al and ending in ace.
Since the bottle was too big to collect, at least I could take a photo. I let you, the reader, judge if what I read on the label was madness or magic.
Rose d' Alsace
The label revealed enough to find the winery's webpage online, months later, in preparation for this chapter. After briefly surfing I noticed an obvious mistake. The webmaster of the winery, south-west of Strasbourg, off route 35, had spelled their own name incorrectly: Willly Gisselbrecht et Fils 5, Route du Vin. (Willy had 3 L's not just 2 - now I get it - Ls ace!!! It came to me, just on editing. Makes sense).
I emailed the winery on the date of writing this chapter, making fun along the way: "Did your webmaster have one L too many and one drink too many?
Reading their website, their English translation may also need improving: Winegrowers from generation to generation, since the 17th century it is in 1936 with Willy Gisselbrecht that the Winery began to win its notoriety, and further with his three children.
If I had doubts initially, if indeed I was led to this bottle and website, I don't any longer.
Here is the other 1963 observation in Strasbourg (Magic or madness, it's fun either way):
Sitting beside a canal in Strasbourg watching the water go by, my eyes fell onto this building. The thought process took only moments to conclude:
1 window was open, 9 windows had 6 panes each, 3 windows above. It deserved a photo.
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Four hours was far too short to fully appreciate the delights of France. There was little opportunity to practice my very limited knowledge of the French language. Even if I had found the European Courts of Justice*, I would not have known what the words innocent, jail or framed etc. meant in French.
*This reminds me of another timing incident, where the date matched perfectly: The International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, Netherlands. Earlier in 07 for the first time ever, I had had the thought of whistle blowing for the first time to this court about my man in jail. I sent them an email that day - Fri 2/3/07.
When I googled their details online, the timing surprised me. Their phone number consisted of only the digits of that date: (070) 3023232. (Hey, the date of writing this - 23/7 ... (TUM - totally unplanned magic).
Crossing the Rhein again, returning to Germany, I promised to come and explore France further another time; another wish on the long list of 50 things to do before I die. (My long term plan is this: Once I have 50 things on my list, I shall use up all my energy, time and money to complete - 49. Then take it easy at home ever after...)
As my train was cruising north along the Rhein towards Karlsruhe I had a thought. The widow of my nephew, whose graveside in Southern Alabama I had visited only 2 weeks earlier, lived in Karlsruhe. But this is all I remembered. Searching through my backpack, what surprise, I located the piece of paper with her address on it.
With the help from a lovely lady in the Karlsruhe tourist office, I got directions to the suburb of Neureut. Within 1/2 hour of leaving the tourist office (my train ticket also included locals trams), I was knocking on the door of Manuela, Ricky's widow.
After establishing who I was, she invited me into their apartment, the same one Manuela grew up in as a child. We spent 20 minutes, just talking, while the children played. The topic was the sad events, surrounding the death of her husband in 2006. Her three young, fatherless children, must have wondered, who that strange man was, who just came and talked with their mother, then disappeared as suddenly, as he had arrived.
I left a Christian Gospel tract with Manuela, without saying very much. Why I felt slightly embarrassed, I do not know. All I knew that if a grieving person turns to the heavenly father, honestly, without holding back, HE offers to be of greater comfort than the most compassionate earthly friend. If Manuela were to pass on to those fatherless children that they have a heavenly father, who loves them, more so than their earthly one, their future would be secure. Her oldest boy is around nine years old and called Nathan.
On the way back to the city in the tram I remembered something. I had forgotten to take a photo! How silly! I would be arriving home with a photo of an empty wine bottle on a footpath, but no picture of this small family, distant relatives.
By now it was evening, the best part of the day to take a long walk. I purposely exited the tram at the Europa Platz, enjoying a German city on foot. From memory I don't think I had ever been to Karlsruhe, but recognized certain buildings. The pyramid-shaped structure outside the town hall, was one of them.
I had just bought myself an ice cream, when I saw a motorbike, parked on its own on the wide footpath. The brand name stood out: Royal Enfield. The registration number was ...V 71.
A little googling revealed some interesting facts, about this Indian made brand of motorcycle. Their models are called Bullet. There is the Bullet 500, the Bullet 350 and the Bullet 55 etc. The Australian distributor happened to be in Redesdale Road in Kyneton, Victoria. (By sheer co-incident I had sent an email to a politician in that town on the day before writing - details next chapter).
The distributor's name was Nelson, PO Box 705, which may or may not be of interest. Another link to motorbikes must be mentioned. In Holland I came across 5 scooters, brand name Aprilia. I had written that the name Aprilia is displayed in large letters on Adelaide's Main North Road, outside a motor cycle dealership.
The same dealership is listed on the Royal Enfield website. It is located within Adelaide's Enfield City Council area, not far from our church, where my Nfield saga has its roots. (Wasn't life simpler without the research capacity of the internet?)
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(Interrupting or journey to return to Australia for a moment).
Much was happening at home after my return. This is one of the reasons, why I am over two months behind in publishing my travel stories. What is taking place daily, the wonders I see happening, take time to live, to record into my diary and to publish some, eventually, onto these pages.
In the month of July 07 two days come to mind immediately, where I experienced God at work rather beautifully. On July 1st my friend Dave and I took my Suzuki for a drive to the holiday town of Victor Harbour, about an hour south of Adelaide. (In Book 2, Mind, Chapter 12 I had also reported about a trip with this same friend. I had considered slipping away among the crowds during a festival, and disappearing again).
How times had changed! No more thoughts of disappearing that day. On the way to Victor Harbour, I had told Dave, I wanted to attend a church, one I had heard good reports about. We found it rather easily and sat toward the front. The people were very friendly and relaxed in their worship, just as I had expected.
It brought tears to my eyes, when I realized the song they were singing: ...you lived, you died, you rose again on high and you open the way, for the world to live again, Hallelujah, for all you've done..."
How could I ever forget this song, which was also sung during another surprise journey to Victor Harbour. At the time I had visited a CRC Church, totally unplanned. I had written the whole story, including the magic MG car, with the registration number 1963 in Book 3, Found, Chapter 8. (How fitting that this should come up in this chapter!)
I recall the theme of the sermon that Sunday morning - Grace. It so happened, back home later that day. I noticed the word grace on a Christian Calendar. This particular one had a month per page, a picture and a scripture was included. I noticed it all, as I turned over the page from June to July. The scripture for June had been Ephesians 1, 7 - that day's date. Not only that, the last word of that verse is - grace.
June 2007 Joyful News Calendar
On the July page was something equally puzzling. Every page had the name and the address of the people supplying the calendar: J.McDowell, PO Box 55, Burleigh Heads, 4220.
In addition, the July page, only the July page, had in addition in small print - Lot 7 Printed in USA.
Just thinking of another 7 & 1: - On the day of uploading my wife and I celebrate 36 years marriage. We tied the knot, (which turned into ...thou shalt not ...see numbers) in 71.
But there was more Grace to come that day, still 1.7. Because the date was 1.07.07, that night I attended a particular church. Years earlier (Book 2, Mind, Chapter 40) I had been there, just prior to my Suzuki speedometer changing to 177 777. That morning, in May 2004, I had had my ISS0 dream.
Paradise Church was packed out on July 1st, 07; probably 3000 people present. It was a farewell for a young pastor, returning to Western Australia (Name ..., ....aha!) Even the parents/children's room, where I was going to sit in, was filled. (When I go there, I usually watch the service from this room, because the level of joyful noise, coming out of the loudspeakers in the main auditorium, at times is painfully loud).
I had no choice but to find a seat in the main auditorium, which I did, right at the back. I found it interesting that I happened to sit, and later say hello to a lady named Grace, the only one I can think of.
But there was more grace to come. For some reason I felt reluctant to email this story to anyone. May be only I get amazed by these little incidences? There was nobody that I thought, who would understand. Would anybody take me seriously? (Of course, Channel Ten ... this is Chapter 10, ha, ha).
On July 18th, after thinking much in the meantime, I knew who to send my little story to. On that day, the heading in my bible reading in Early Light (InTouch Magazine) read: The Grace of God. The scripture was from Romans 5, 1 and 2. (Hey, if I put 2 & 5 together ...!)
Here is my story I sent to the Magazine:Hi all,As I read the July 18th Early Light meditation, about Grace, I was reminded of an incident, which I have not shared with anyone. Allow me to share it with you.On July 1st (1.7) I decided to attend a different church from our normal one. It was rather a long distance away, and I had never been there. The message preached was about Grace, which I enjoyed very much.Later in the day I happened to notice that we had not turned over the Calendar from June to July. The June scripture, which went with the picture for that month, was from Ephesians."In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:7."But there was more. That same evening I went to another church, where I attend perhaps 4 times a year. Among the 3000 strong crowd, I happened to sit near a lady I knew from years ago. She has a pretty name, Grace. The only Grace I know in all of Australia.If God wanted to show me that HE is really the giver of grace, what wonderful way to do it!Christian greetings from Adelaide, AustraliaDieter Fischer
PS ...which is not to diminish the blessing I received, reading about God's Grace in InTouch, 17 days later.
Friends, let me emphasize it again - it's not about numbers 5, 15, 1963 or 17. It all about God's grace, available to all who long for IT, who yearn for HIM.