If there's one thing I've learned from traveling, it's that no matter how amazing the mountains are, or how incredible the history and the food is, the people are always the most beautiful things. Here's something I wrote down because I didn't want to forget it... in a little hotel in Germany, on my way to Rome on October 28th. (Don't worry, there will be more about Rome soon!)
I’ve been nervous about this trip. I still don’t feel settled and confident on my own in
, and now I’m going out of my way (and spending money, which I always have a hard time doing) to add more uncertainty and general unrest to my life (a.k.a. adventure). Plus it’s last minute and poorly planned. I bought my plane ticket a week ago, the decision of whether I would drive to the airport early in the morning, or get a hotel nearby the night before, was put off so long that I ultimately reserved my hotel room 10 minutes before I left on this adventure. Things haven’t really felt simple, safe, comfortable... home-like… since I began on this spontaneous journey to Luxembourg Europe, and it's been starting to wear on me. So perhaps a similarly spontaneous long-weekend trip to was not what I needed. Or perhaps it is! RomeI’m not in Romeyet, but I’m in that hotel room I reserved a few hours ago, in , preparing to get a little sleep before my flight out of Frankfurt-Hahn airport tomorrow morning at 6:20am. The drive here was about 2 hours from work in Sohren, Germany , and although it wasn’t long it wasn’t exactly relaxing. I drove through the usual city traffic to some narrow, wind-y, typical Luxembourgish roads, and started to feel relieved when I got onto the highway. However, I guess I haven’t driven on a true European / German highway yet. Vehicles are going at speeds ranging from about 100 km/hr to probably about 250 km/hr, all on the same road, so if you’re traveling at a reasonable (in my opinion anyway…) speed of maybe 120-140, you’re stuck between tail-gating a trailer full of donkeys, and pulling into the left lane in front of someone who may be going twice your speed. I guess it wasn’t really that stressful, but I definitely don’t know why my car has cruise control. Colmar-berg, LuxembourgThen in the dark, with an hour left in my journey, I exit the highway toward my destination, and enter the craziest winding road I think I have ever experienced. Probably not quite as narrow as the Lux roads, but many more hair-pin turns and of course full sized semi trucks coming in the other direction… and no street lights anywhere to be seen. I’m sure it was a beautiful mountain in the daylight, but for some reason, alone in the dark, it was a little less pretty. It reminded me of that show on the history channel where the truckers risk driving into Himalayan valleys to deliver cement. Probably a little overly dramatic, but in any case... even though I had no idea what to expect from this totally random hotel I’d booked (my co-worker’s advise when I booked it was “just make sure there are no rats”), I was ready to arrive to just about anything. This is where I am in awe (as I seem to be so often these days) at how lucky I am!The hotel is easy to find… a huge street sign (one of those stereotypical ones that you'd probably see marking streets in Disney world with 100 signs pointing in every direction… I wish I took a picture) points me in the right direction. I search for the entrance, but not finding it I try the adjoined pizza shop, hoping someone will speak enough English to help this linguistically challenged, stressed out, mess find a place to sleep. It may have just been a show for the tourists, but the restaurant was decorated in exactly the way I would assume an authentic German home would look like, and it smelled like a wood burning fire place (and pizza of course). And I was greeted by an impressively energetic, kind hearted, grandfatherly man who fluently speaks 5 languages!!He immediately said “Melissa! The American!?”, showed me to my room, and invited me for pizza. Dan will be happy to know that I did indeed eat the pizza… because it was the only thing on the menu… and this part sounds creepy, but the grandpa guy even gave me this cool drink in a tiny wine glass. I guess you had be there :). I was impressed when he talked with me in perfect English, but all evening it seemed like greated every guest in a different language. I asked him how he learned to speak 5 languages, and he said 5 girlfriends. Figures I guess :).
So, my first trip to Germany was an unexpected, and very welcome, beautiful experience. And, at the very least I suppose, there were no rats!
"We touch other peoples lives simply by existing." - J.K. Rowling