It is so difficult, to meet people who welcome me, a mere stranger, with open arms, pure kindness and friendship to then just leave them. Not knowing if we ever meet again.
I arrived to Baden-Baden station after lunch Friday afternoon where Simon met me. I was a little nerve wracked knowing I would be spending time at a house where nobody spoke english.
We pulled into the street and perched at the end is a gorgeous, very german two story house with litttle picket fence and typical high set pointy roof.
I received a warm welcome from Simons parents. Ingrid his mother and Bernd (Bernie) his father. So lovely.
After our introductions we headed off to see Baden. Right in the Black Forest, the trees are golden, orange, red and green. Perfect autumn, leaves fall around and litter the streets like beautiful, natural confetti. We drove up to Mummelsee, a lake up the mountain and walked around it. We then went to a ride. Then the tv tower, we climbed to the top and looked down on the city and forest. After this we went to the Old Castle. A castle built in 1100's that is now ruins. On our way home that evening we stopped in to the shopping centre to pick up some schnitzel for dinner. The shopping centre is like 2 large Ufo's! Very space agey. The grocery store was massive and had the largest deli sections i've ever seen! Probably double the size of our supermarkets at home but the shelving is not so high, everything is in reach. The delis run the whole length of the store, cheese, seafood, meat, wurst, chicken, bread - the selections are HUGE!
So that night Ingrid prepared schnitzel with chips, pasta spirals, brown sauce and salad. We sat and attempted conversations using the translation book that Bernie had. He had beem practicing! They are so cute, very precious. He then brought out a globe and wanted to see where I lived and learn more about Australia. We had icecream and sat in the loungeroom. We sat by the 'oven' a large enclosed fireplace, it was a very lovely evening.
Next morning, I came out to see a lovely breakfast. Rolls, cheeses, deli meats, coffee. Fresh rolls might I add. In Europe you never find mass produced commercialised bread products. Everything is bakery made, fresh and fancy.
We drove to the palace, Schloss Favorite and went on a guided tour inside. Admiring the 600yr old rooms still in tact with original wall coverings, ceiling art and flooring. Adorned with porcelain in every room the dutchess who lived here loved to show off her wealth. The kitchen still had the original copper pots and pans and one of the sitting rooms has the oldest glass chandelier in europe. There are some 3000 pieces of hand painted blue and white tiles that are tiled around the place.
Afterwards we headed into the city, walked around, saw the famous Roman baths, Trinkhalle, Casino, and the Allee. We then drove up to the cable train, which took us up the top of mountain where we can overlool the entire region of Baden. So beautiful and colourful.
That evening we went to dinner at the Y Burg. An old castle, the front has been remodelled into a restaurant. I ate a steak salad then a berry crepe for dessert. Washed down with a glass of Sekt. When you go to dinner with someone who you cant really converse with, it is often awkward. Car rides are often quiet and when we do talk, it can get frustrating trying to explain and translate, that attempting conversation just becomes too hard. A lot of what we talk about is small talk, it sux because the friendship will never grow. It is an odd situation to be in, especially for me, who is so verbal. The novelty of interaction with a friend who is so foreign, wears off. It can feel disappointing as I have made a good friend but I cannot make the friendship stronger as we can't bond and share life stories and or compare our life experiences.
Next morning as I am out of the shower, the breakfast spread is even more impressive. More rolls, the meat and cheeses are laid out on a platter, with addition of smoked salmon and jams. I am feeling heavy in my chest knowing I am parting from such a lovely family who I appreciate so much.
When I say goodbye to Ingrid and Bernie they both give me huge warm hugs, tell me (in german) I am welcome anytime.
I wave goodbye and soon enough I am boarding another train.