Koala Wanderers: Christa and Erich (Satis Shroff)
The MGV-Kappel ‚Liederkranz’ was invited to the Golden Anniversary of Christa and Erich Schuler. They’d married in 1961 and now it’s 2011, an amiable couple that you see in Freiburg-Kappel, always together and on foot. After all, they belong to the Koala Wanderers International and the International Stammtisch Freiburg.
The Koala Wanderers organise trips to the most beautiful of the world, like in the Hollywood film The Bucket List with the exception that these wanderers are all in good health. The American Medical Association mentioned sometime back that trekking in Nepal is one of the healthiest sports. The Koala Wanderers have members-cum-friends all over the world and the local friends show their countries. A great idea, isn’t it? Letting someone sleep in your couch is another idea which is catching on, but to be greeted in a foreign country by a friend is something special.
There we were in the gallery in our blue blazers on a rather sunny, sweaty afternoon and there they were below: Erich and Christel Schuler right near the Diakon Mayer Disch. As they came in like a freshly married couple we sang ‘So nimm denn meine Hände.’ Sebastian Neumann was the conductor and also the orgel-player. Mayer Disch held the mass and presented a certificate from Cardinal Zöllitsch.
Then followed a Begrüssung, that is, a greeting ceremony. Wolfgang Keller, the bespectacled singer and graphic designer said, ‘Had to sing this song at school everyday.’ What followed was a thank you song with the words:
Thanks, that you got to know each other,
Thanks, that you give yourselves warmth!
Thanks for the togetherness
And that you love each other.
The last stanza was even better:
Thanks for this marriage ceremony
thanks, God will now be with you.
Thanks for all the many guests,
You are not alone.
The men’s choir Kappel sang ‘Sancta Maria’ and then a furious ‘Hevenu shalom alechem.’ We’re getting pretty good at it, I must say.
‘Here comes the classic number,’ said Wolfgang, who joked and said he’d write seven books about women before the final curtain in his life.
The classic song in question was ‘Grosser Gott.’
It might be mentioned that Christel hails originally from Pommern and Erich is from Kappel. Each year they trek around Germany, Austria and Switzerland 226 times, and a lot of countries in Europe, South America and Australia with the Koala Wanderer Association which organises the tours.
‘When we got to Holland, our Dutch friends wait for us there and greet us. In Japan, a Japanese couple waited for us at the airport and took us to our hotel. She spoke German,’ said Erich after the greeting ceremony was over. He confided, ‘My first muscle-cramp was 20 years ago and I’m fit for the treks. So is my wife, Christel.’
The Koala Wanderers International were in 58 countries throughout the world in the last 12 years.
‘We connect trekking journeys with Nature and Culture of the respective countries. This connection makes our journey to far-off countries a wonderful Nature-and-trekking experience, ‘ said Erich Schuler.
Next year the Koala Wanderers are off to Tanzania and Kenia on the footsteps of Prof. Dr. Bernard Grzimek of ‘Serengheti Must Not Die’ fame. I remember having met him at the La Redoute in Bonn during a state visit of the Nepalese King Birendra Shah and his consort Queen Aishwarya Shah.
From the Kilimanjaro airport near Arusha, the trip goes to lake Manyara National Park to a great crater and, of course, the Serengeti.
In May 2012 the Koala Wanderers will be going to China. Then Yatsusihro.in Japan. From June 15 till June 29,2011 then to the Midsummer Nights in the North Cap. Other trips are: Bustrips to Holland, Belgium, France and Luxemburg. And on November 10 till November 23, 2012 to India and Nepal with New Delhi, Agra’s Taj Mahal and Katmandu, where a Himalaya trekking is also a part of the programme.