If you get out of the cemetery and walk south along Eckenheimer Landstrasse, you will soon come across the nearest subway station. Now you turn left and walk only a few hundred yards, and you will be on Weberstrasse. It is one of many downtown streets and to most people nothing special. To me, however, it is very significant.
She loved to visit exotic lands and took a job in the travel industry, planning and organizing packaged tours. That is how I met her in India, as she explored cities with tour potential for European travelers. I encountered her in Jaipur’s Amber Palace, as I was about to enter the gun section, and she said, “I don’t like weapons, but if you want to see the robe section I will join you.” I promptly changed my mind and opted for the royal turbans and gilded jodhpurs. The evening ended with a sumptuous Rajasthan dinner and a long chat over brandy.
Our paths crossed several times after that. We met in the US where I lived and in India which I visited periodically. We met most often in Germany, since the Frankfurt airport was the fulcrum of my innumerable trips across the Atlantic. If I had only a day or two, we would stroll through Städel Museum or go to see the international sculpture collection at the riverside villa Liebighaus, then veer to Romer Pils Brunnen and eat chicken schnitzel with copious Schofferhofer beer. On a weekend we would spend the morning in the corner bakery, sitting in the tiny terrace when the weather was good, and drinking endless coffee inside with almond croissants when it wasn't.
The truth is, if you have a friend like Adette to accompany you, it does not matter where you are, in the middle of a desert or an unforgettably beautiful lake, for the world takes on a brighter hue, every footfall or rustle of a leaf could be the initiation of a Rachmaninov concerto, every conversation a plunge in ripples of imagination and understanding.
Even a cemetery could be your best compass. A plain street and simple apartment your guide to nirvana.