After my trip to Paris and Bordeaux, I returned to my home-base, aka Loe’s home near Weiden. It’s been absolutely wonderful to have this house to keep returning to, I can’t say how grateful I’ve been that Loe let me stay with her off and on for the past few months.
So I returned to her for a few weeks before heading to Tuscany for my Italian classes, thinking I’d have a bit of down time, some planning and repacking and blogging, etc. Loe had some big plans for us, she had a trip to Regensburg, maybe Wurzburg, dinner parties with friends, yoga with her Mom…all sorts of things! At first we were “go-go-go” and then we were both struck down with a stomach flu! Mine was pretty mild but hers was very bad and between the two of us we were in bed for a week, not really eating or up for much for those days. So we had some down time, but different than I expected.
Finally feeling better for my last weekend in Bavaria (for a while), Loe gave me a great couple of days of very Bavarian experiences. We started out with a long drive through the countryside, to a local farm with chickens and bread and great local desserts and pastries. Then just up the road we went to an old church that actually exists on a hill of rose quartz. It is a pale pink and opaque, and so amazing. I love stones, I often am carrying rose quartz, regular quartz, or other stones either in my pocket or wearing them. I am that kind of a hippy, and this rose quartz church really made me giddy.
The next day we went to an outdoor German market around Schlossberg Castle. It was for gardening and so much more. I am sucker for outdoor markets, I love to imagine what I would plant if I had a garden again. And the food, oh the food. We stopped at a glass blowing stall and the guy offered to teach me how to blow a small glass ornament!
I am now a glass blower and pretty good at it, I have to say! I wasn’t as excited when he teased me about needing to be burned by the glass in order to truly be a blower. I declined. There was an actual German oom-pah band in traditional clothing, and we even discovered the best stall ever – a Bavarian woman that sold prosecco-type bubbly but that had really incredible flavours like rose, hibiscus and pumpkin. We tried each one (of course) and I bought the rose and the pumpkin. It sounds dodgy, but pumpkin was actually one of the best things I’ve tasted!
Finally on Sunday Loe and I went for a long hike in the forest. She promised me really good German dumplings, and she didn’t disappoint. We hiked in a beautiful forest, along the Naab river with huge boulders and beautiful trees. About an hour into the hike the path opened up, and there in the middle of a clearing was a German beer garden! What? It was amazing, like something out of a fairytale. It was full of people – there was even a horse! The dumplings were amazing, I had them with venison (it seemed appropriate) and beer, then we hiked on. Loe took me back a different way, and pointed out a sign that showed our hiking path was part of the Santiago de Compostella walk. I hiked the Camino! For two hours, but still. That means when I eventually do walk it, I can say I started in Bavaria!
I also had a great day trip to Munich, where I did a tour of the city and learned all about how it was built and maintained, conquered and won back all based on beer. Of course. Apparently it is built into Bavarian work contracts that you can have one beer before coming to work, and two at lunch. What? There was one palace that took one hundred years to build, because the construction workers were given all the beer they wanted, and when it burned down the rebuild crew were not allowed to have any beer on the job. They finished in something like 10 or 15 years.
I have loved my time in Bavaria, it was been wonderful to spend time with Loe and Barbara, to get a feel for the place and the people. To have a home, a place I know I can return to, and family in Europe. It was sad to leave Loe’s, but then I am lucky that I had the time with her, so I can even be glad for the sadness.
On to Italy (by way of Zurich and Provence…)!