A family reunion a decade in the making in Hilpoltstein, Germany—all thanks to Perry’s lost wallet. From left: Grandma, Betty K., Grandpa, Flo, Heike, Perry K., Dad, Mom, and Program Director Alessandro Baracetti.
By Elizabeth & Perry K., 12-time travelers & 2-time Vacation Ambassadors from Lakeville, MN
We took our first trip with Grand Circle in August of 2006. We did Great Rivers of Europe on the River Concerto. On August 21, 2006 we arrived in Regensburg, Germany. We had a splendid tour in the morning and then exploration on our own in the afternoon, with a stop in the town’s square for an ice cream.
Later that evening after dinner, we discovered that Perry's billfold was missing. We notified the front desk and crew immediately. That particular evening we stayed in port till midnight and that was a good thing. The police called the ship about 9:30 and said they had a billfold and maybe it belonged to one of the passengers. We were notified and the police arrived to pick us up and take us to the police station in their very small car! Yes, it was Perry's billfold, all intact! Our prayers had been answered. Along with the billfold was the name and address of the 7 year-old girl who had found the billfold. We immediately wrote a thank-you note and included a reward to Heike, who had been in the square with her grandparents that afternoon. Heike and her family live in Hilpoltstein, Germany.
At Christmas we sent a photo card to Heike and family. In our annual letter we mentioned that Perry would be celebrating his 70th birthday on 07/07/07. We not only got a return Christmas card from them, but in July Perry received a very special 70th birthday greeting—of course all in German. Our daughter had studied in Vienna in college and is fluent in the German language, so we had our own personal translator. As each Christmas approaches we think of Heike and her family and have continued to exchange cards and photos every year; this has become very special to us. As the years have gone by, Heike has learned English and has started to communicate in English. When she was younger she would draw pictures for us. We now communicate by email more than once a year.
In May of 2016, we took a back to back trip to Sicily and the Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe. In our planning we contacted Heike and told her we would complete our trip in Munich, Germany, but only be there an afternoon and evening. Hilpoltstein is just north of Munich. Immediately she emailed back and said the whole family would be there to meet us. It was a very special time for all of us. It was like family meeting. Alessandro Baracetti, our Program Director, arranged so that we could have dinner at the same restaurant as our group, near the hotel. Heike’s grandparents, Elisabeth and Willi; her parents, Martina and Stefan; her boyfriend, Flo—and, of course, Heike—all came to meet us! We had a wonderful time visiting and getting to know each other.
It was very sad when we had to say goodbye. We hope Heike will come to the U.S. in the future, as we would love to show her some of our country. We will continue to exchange greetings and hopefully more than at Christmas. Several weeks after our return home we received a wonderful package from them—it was a treasure. It contained thoughtful gifts which included a photo album that Martina had put together, as she is a very good photographer; homemade jam from Heike and Martina; a handmade trivet from Martina; and a map of their hometown. This has been a wonderful experience and would not have happened if Perry had not lost the billfold!
While we hope you aren’t separated from your wallet, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet the people of Germany with Grand Circle Cruise Line on The Great Rivers of Europe. Glimpse some of the discoveries that await you in this video: