Date: 8 August 1999

Subject: Total Solar Eclipse

Hello All.

Gayle put us up for the night on Sunday and Jay took us to the airport on Monday -- we waited in a LONG line (1 hour 15 minutes) to check in and after that everything went smoothly. The flight from Seattle to Toronto was long, but ok -- beautiful scenery. The flight from Toronto was easy. Our friend Britta met us at the Airport in Frankfurt and the Ben & Jerry's ice cream we had brought on dry ice for her was still hard!!!!

We drove through a hard rain about 4 hours to Munich... where we found out that our other friend, Sonja, who was returning home to Germany from South Dakota, was bumped from her flight and was in the airport in Denver, along with the person with whom we were Beethoven-Haus going to spend the night. We spent several hours with Britta calling many friends, and driving through small villages around Munich, before we finally found a floor to sleep on in central Munich. We even got to walk around downtown before going home and sleeping.

Next morning Sonja and her friend Lissi arrived ... TWO DAYS late. We thought WE were jet lagged! I was worried because Sonja, Britta and Christina (Britta's friend) were not very serious about the eclipse. Also it had rained all day Tuesday. At 6:15 am Wed it was clear. By 8:00 it was very cloudy and calls around southern Germany revealed the same.

But Lissi was very driven to find a good site and we all piled into the car and drove north to a tiny village where we walked out on to a wheat field on the top of a small hill.

Soon after it started to rain, not Seattle rain, but really hard. There were a few people with telescopes, who covered the scopes and ran for the cars. My watch beeped. This was first contact, solid rain clouds. The tiny German Village 8 km away had sun.

But after about 15 minutes the rain stopped and soon we even saw Der Sonnen. Everyone on the hill (about 50 people) cheered as we looked at them through aluminized mylar -- (most people had paper glasses with mylar lenses bought for 3DM).

As the eclipse progressed the sun peeked out now and then. It was very dramatic. We could look at the tiny German village and the rain.

Soon a small hole appeared in the clouds to the west. We all started hoping and hoping it would move towards the sun. Solar Eclipse The hole grew and grew and at 2 minutes before totality it reached the sun!!!!! We saw as the last portion of the moon covered the sun. It was a magical feeling, the whole countryside was dark, but it was an eerie light. The corona was amazing. I can't express how thrilled, awed, and overwhelmed I was. It was stunning. Then we saw the light in the village rushing towards us!

We were very lucky. Not 15 minutes after the end of totality, the clouds returned. We did see the pinhole effect through the trees, but then the rain started again and we never saw last contact. We went and had a traditional Bavarian meal in a VERY classic Bavarian ale house. We heard that almost no part of Germany had clear skies, near us or far from us.

That hillside was blessed -- Britta said it was like winning the Lotto!

We drove long into the night to get to Bonn. The radio kept saying it was the worst traffic in the country's history!!! Lots of backups! But we made it.

We have spent 3 days exploring Bonn, visiting with Britta and getting over jet lag.

Next week we head to England for 3 to 6 weeks.


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PRESENT PHYSICAL LOCATION: Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Univ, Bonn 

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