We recently spent three weeks in Europe. My husband Günter was born in Munich. Everyone in his family—except for Sabine and Markus—still lives in the area. During this trip, in addition to the usual relative visits, we managed to squeeze in some city tours. Our French friends came to stay at a hotel with us for the first week and we explored Munich together. During the second week, we took a 3-day bus trip to Prague. And during the third week, we took a 3-day train trip to Vienna. A quick tour of these European cities only made me want to see more. Someday! I’ll be sharing the highlights with you as I download my photos.

Friends Forever

August 27, 2013

Forever is a very long time; that’s why I question the casual BFF phrase that’s currently in vogue in social media. Best friends do not see each other for years and yet they pick up right where they left off. The close connection goes well beyond time and space. We know that wherever we are in our lives we will always remain friends.

When one couple becomes best friends with another couple, that relationship becomes doubly special. Such is the relationship Günter and I have with our friends, Claudie and Jean-Claude.

Jean-Claude and Claudie in Munich

Jean-Claude and Claudie in Munich

We met this delightful French couple while waiting in line at the immigration counter to exit Costa Rica. That encounter is described in my first book, Maiden Voyage, beginning with page 182. From there on, we became Buddy Boats, sailing—and sometimes racing—Makoko, their Super Maramu, hard on the wind, up the Pacific Coast as far north as Acapulco, Mexico.

Cruisers make friends quickly. No matter what their previous stations in life, at sea, they all face the same challenges—storms, navigation issues, and boat break-downs. We cruisers see each other at one port or another, and whether five days or five months have passed, we pick up our shared pasts in a flash. We bond, because we have all been there, done that, in the same wars. Despite that closeness, the end of a voyage is often the end of the close friendship, unless the cruisers make definite plans to meet again, either during another voyage or on land.

In our case, Jean-Claude and Claudie have become best friends. They visited us during the off-season at our home in San Diego. Then the following year, we sailed with them throughout French Polynesia. Some of those adventures with them are described in my second book, Sailing the South Pacific. During another off-season, we visited them and their family in Grimaud, in the south of France. And so our friendship continued. We weren’t always on the same schedule or even in the same parts of the world, but we kept in touch. And finally, they attended our circumnavigation party in Canet, France, where we “crossed the line” after eight years of sailing. That was the last time we saw them, in 2008.

This week when we all checked into the Glasl’s Landhotel in Zornedig near Munich, the four of us found that—really—nothing had changed.  Our grandchildren had grown, of course, but we picked up right where we left off, laughing and joking as before, while Gunter proudly showed off his birthplace.

The following poem says it all:

Friends will
Come and friends
Will go.

The seasons
Change and it
Will show.

I will age and so will

But our
Friendship stays
Strong and true.

© Travis D. Phillips