This is the first volume in the children's book series IGEL-Team.
Ingo, George, Enzo, and Lisa have a holiday and spend it on a farm. The four children see many posters of missing cats hung out in the city, and suspect a crime. They become detectives, form a detective club, and give it the name IGEL-Team. Their first investigations lead into an exciting adventure.
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Enzo sat at the lunch table of the Seifert family and took one more French dinner roll. Enzo, an Italian boy, lived in the neighborhood only a few houses nearby. He spent most of his time with the Seifert family because his parents had a pizzeria and had only a little time for their son. Every day after school and on weekends, he went to his best friends Lisa, Ingo, and George, and stayed until after dinner in the evening. Enzo was a sweet boy, 12 years old, a bit chubby, and had black curly hair.
11-year-old Lisa watched Enzo critically who fished the bread roll out of the breadbasket. Quickly she slapped on his fingers and Enzo scared. "Enzo, that's enough! You have eaten enough," said Lisa with pretended severity.
"But I must eat something!" moaned Enzo with a teasing smile.
"Lisa! Let Enzo alone!" warned her mother, who stood at the counter in the kitchen, baking a cake.
George laughed. "It's not terrible, Mom. Lisa was just kidding."
George was Lisa's big brother in the truest sense of the word. For a 13-year-old boy, he was very tall and looked like a 19-year-old young man.
Her mother wiped her hands on her white apron and turned to the children. "By the way, we will drive to the town of Daisendorf in our holidays."
"Is that really true?" said Lisa surprised. "Where is it and what is there?"
"It is on Lake Constance. We will spend our summer holidays on a farm there," said Mrs. Seifert solemnly.
Lisa thought immediately of animals. "That's great, Mom! What a beautiful surprise!"
George was enthusiastic. "We will go to a farm? That sounds like fun. Can we ride on horseback there?"
"Yes, they have a horse farm," said Mrs. Seifert.
"Hooray!" called Lisa. "We'll spend our holiday on a farm!"
Mother nodded contentedly. "Daisendorf is only three kilometers away from Lake Constance."
Ingo was reading in his eBook reader, as always. Usually, while reading, he did not see or hear anything around him. However, this time he looked up and adjusted his glasses. "Yes, this village is three kilometers away from the lake, I can confirm that. Incidentally, with an area of 539 square kilometers and a depth of 252 meters, Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany."
Ingo was 12 years old and with his glasses, looked particularly smart. Moreover, he was smart indeed. Besides learning for school and adventure trips with his scout group, reading was one of his favorite occupations.
George asked, "Mom, may we swim in the lake there?"
"Yes, we want to go swimming in Lake Constance," said Lisa.
Mrs. Seifert smiled. "Of course you can swim, children. The lake is the main reason why we will spend our holidays there. You can do whatever you want. Horse riding, hiking, swimming, have a picnic and much more."
Enzo smiled, but at the same time looked sad. "Spending the holiday on a farm at Lake Constance sounds beautiful. I wish you all a good time. I will really miss you, but for passing my time, I can help my parents in the pizzeria. It's no problem."
The pizzeria of Enzo's parents was open seven days a week. Therefore, the Vangelista family never had time for holidays. This was clear to Enzo and did not bother him much. He was very happy for his friends, although he did not want to spend his holidays without them.
"Do you want to come with us, Enzo?" asked Mrs. Seifert with a grin.
Enzo looked at her in surprise. "Please what? You are not kidding, Mrs. Seifert? That’s not funny."
"No, Enzo. I'm not kidding," she said. "Your parents know you very well. They knew you want to come with us and wanted to surprise you. Therefore, they have given us the money, and we could make the booking for you in time."
"Hooray!" yelled George, Lisa, Ingo, and Enzo altogether.
Enzo could not believe his luck. He jumped up from his chair and hugged Mrs. Seifert friendly. "Thank you, Mrs. Seifert. You are saving my life because I would have felt bored alone in the holiday time. Oh, I'm looking forward to the farm."
Lisa got up from her chair. "Let's not waste time and let's pack now! What are we waiting for?"
"No hurry, Lisa. We won't depart before Saturday," said Mrs. Seifert, "It's a few more days till then."
Ingo raised his eyebrows. "That lasts four days! You should have told us the message about the holiday later, Mom. Now we must be waiting a very long time."
"Yes, isn’t it beautiful? Think about, anticipation is the greatest joy," said his mother. "Now you have time enough for packing your luggage."
"Yes, Ingo," said George. "Don't forget to download a lot of eBooks! It would be inconceivable if you didn’t have enough reading material during the holidays."
Lisa chuckled. "And don't forget your laptop! You would sit around and cry all day."
Mrs. Seifert shook her head. "Don’t tease Ingo!"
"Exactly," Ingo agreed with Mother. "Stop making fun of me. It wouldn't be bad for you, to read more, too."
"Why should I read when I can ride horses, swim, or go hiking? I'm looking forward to the horses," cheered Lisa.
"Are there any chickens, pigs, and cows, too?" asked Enzo.
"Yes, sure there are many animals there. Even ducks, I think," said Mrs. Seifert. "It's no wonder as it's a farm."
George was also happy, "That's terrific. We will swim in Germany's largest lake!"
"That's great," said Ingo expectantly. "I want to milk a cow. I always wanted to try that."
Departure to the farm
The next four days just passed slowly. The children had already packed their bags and could not await the departure. However, four days passed. Saturday morning, the children packed their last things. Meanwhile, Mr. Seifert checked the oil level, the tire pressure, and the cooling water of the car. Mrs. Seifert prepared the food basket for the break times.
A few moments later, they all sat in the car. Their father drove, Mother sat next to him. Lisa and Enzo were in the middle seats. Ingo and George had made comfortable in the backseat.
Lisa watched the passing landscape. "How long we will drive till Daisendorf?"
"When we take some breaks, about three hours and forty minutes," replied Ingo wisely.
"How far is it?" asked George.
Ingo adjusted his glasses. "It is 246 kilometers. With a journey time of three hours and forty minutes, that's an average of 82 kilometers per hour."
"Yes, that's right," praised his father. "You've calculated very well."
"Thanks, Dad, but it's not my work," said Ingo modestly. "I have calculated with a route planner on the Internet."
Enzo closed his eyes and leaned back comfortably. George looked through the window while Ingo was reading in his eBook reader. He had prepared well and downloaded more than enough reading material the day before.
The motorway led through a forest. Warm sunrays colored the leaves of the treetops light green. The good fresh air flowed in through the half-opened car window. As time passed, the kilometers melted away.
After about an hour Enzo made a painful face and rolled around on his seat. "I'm so hungry!" he yelled.
"This is no surprise because you are always hungry, Enzo," said Lisa with a smile.
George grinned. "We are not taking a break now. Unfortunately, you must wait for at least half an hour, Enzo."
Without looking up from his eBook reader, Ingo pulled out a cereal bar from his olive-green backpack and gave it to Enzo.
"Thank you, Ingo," said Enzo happily, took the bar and nibbled on it.
"You're welcome, Enzo. I was preparing well because I've expected you to get hungry," Ingo replied.
"That's really not very smart of you, Ingo. We have all knew that Enzo would get hungry," said Lisa with a laugh.
George folded his hands behind his head. "Mom, will each of us have a bedroom of our own?"
Lisa shouted, "Yes, Mom! I want my own bedroom!"
Mother nodded to Lisa. "Lisa gets her own bedroom and the boys sleep together in a double room," she said.
Lisa rubbed her hands happily while George looked at her gloomily. "What? I must sleep with the little kids in the same room?" he complained.
Immediately he felt Ingo's elbow on his upper arm. "Did you just say, little kids? I will have complexes because of you. You are a show-off. You are tall, but you are just one year older than Enzo and I."
"But George," said Mother. "You are their protector and can protect them. That's why you should sleep in the same room with Ingo and Enzo."
George did not think so, but on the other side, he liked the idea of responsibility, which was indeed a responsible task. He was very happy with that. "Okay. Thank you for the trust, Mom. I will protect us very well," he agreed proudly.
A few moments later, the children became more and more restless. They slipped around on their seats. Dad went to the next rest area. After parking, Lisa and her mother went to the restroom at first. Ingo laid a white tablecloth with a green flower pattern on the weathered wooden table, which stood on a small meadow under a shady tree.
The family sat down on the wooden benches at the table. Mother gave everybody a plastic can, each containing a cucumber, olives, radishes and a double piece of rye bread with salami and cheese. For drinking, they all got little fruit juice cartons. While eating, they watched the cars rushing by on the motorway.
After dinner, the children became restless again and could not wait to continue their journey. Lisa put the empty cans into the picnic basket. Enzo trashed the empty beverage bags into the dustbin, whereupon bees chased him across the square.
"Help me! I'm getting stung," he shouted and fled into the car, while the others laughed amusedly.
George took the tablecloth and put it in the basket. "Enzo is sitting in the car already," he pointed out what they all had seen anyway.
George looked expectantly at his parents. Mr. Seifert and his wife were still sitting quietly, although they had noticed the mood of departure long ago. They did not hesitate any longer and continued their journey towards Meersburg on Lake Constance.
Arrival at the farm
After about 90 minutes, the children approached Meersburg and saw Lake Constance.
Lisa knelt excitedly on her seat and looked out. "It looks beautiful! That's the lake!"
Ingo put his eBook reader in his backpack, knelt on his seat and stared at the huge silver lake in admiration. "It looks nice."
George pressed his nose against the car window. "It'll be wonderful to swim in the lake."
As expected, Enzo licked his lips and added, "Certainly, there are lots of tasty fish living in the lake."
"All you think about is food, Enzo!" chastised Lisa and the others laughed.
"Yes, he is thinking of food because he's hungry again," said Ingo amusedly.
"That's right," confirmed Enzo. "It's a long time since we had last eaten."
George looked at his watch. "A long time? It was just 90 minutes ago."
"It's a long time for me," said Enzo with a smile.
Soon they drove through Meersburg, and Mother looked on the map in her hands. "We're almost there, kids. Daisendorf is a neighboring village near Meersburg."
The children were very excited. They looked to the passing landscape with fields, meadows, and forests. Soon they came to the village of Daisendorf. After a few houses and a curve, they drove at the farmyard.
The farmer, an elderly gray-haired man, wore a blue working overall, yellow rubber boots, and a hat. With exaggerated hand movements, he directed his guests to a parking lot beside the house.
The farmer's wife stood at the door of her yellow brick-house and was already waiting for her guests. She was wearing a green apron, a green scarf and looked like a witch.
Lisa saw the paddock beside the house. "Look! There are the horses!"
Finally, they got out of the car and greeted the farmer. Afterward, Lisa, George, Ingo, and Enzo ran to the wooden fence of the paddock and greeted the animals. A horse came towards the fence. It was a beautiful, brown mare with a silky coat. Lisa caressed her head gently. The horse seemed to like the caressing.
"May we feed them?" Lisa asked the farmer.
The farmer nodded. "You can feed the horses if they are hungry because many hikers pass every day here and feed the horses. By the way, she is a mare, and her name is Saraya."
George watched his parents as they loaded their luggage out of the car. "We'll see everything later. Come on, guys. Let's take our luggage to our rooms now."
"Okay," said Lisa and waved to the horse, "Bye, Saraya, see you later!"
With the help of the farmer, they took their luggage out of the car and brought it to the house.
The farmer's wife greeted the holiday guests at the door and then explained, "The breakfast buffet is every day from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Lunch and dinner are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. All sausages and meat products are from our farm. We are offering eggs, tomatoes, various salads, milk, as well as dairy products, fish from Lake Constance and apples from the region."
Enzo's mouth watered when he heard that. "It will be a nice holiday," he rejoiced.
The farmer's wife led her customers to their rooms. Mr. Seifert with his wife got a large double room, just like the three boys. Both rooms were equipped with a cupboard, a double bed, matching bedside tables with bedside lamps, a small table, and a sofa bed.
"I'll sleep on the couch," said Ingo, "because I can put my laptop on the table right here."
George shrugged his shoulders. "Enzo and I will sleep in the beds. But first, we'll pull apart the beds so we don't disturb each other while sleeping."
"That's a good idea," praised Enzo.
Lisa, George, Ingo, and Enzo pulled apart the beds and placed the bedside tables in between.
Ingo peered out of the window. The view was magnificent because he saw meadows, fields, and forests directly behind the paddock. The horizon was a silvery shimmering line on Lake Constance.
"Okay. I go into my bedroom and unpack my suitcase," said Lisa, whose single room was right next door and offered the same breathtaking view. She crossed the corridor and looked through the window into the courtyard. Her parents' room was at the end of the corridor and the view was just as fantastic.
While the boys were still unpacking, Father came to the door. "Let's unpack and refresh. We'll meet in the dining room in an hour."
"Okay, see you later," replied Enzo, Ingo, and George in unison.