1st October 2016. Schmelz, Germany.

I can’t believe it, for the very first time since we’ve been in Germany there were NO BELLS!  I LOVE it here!

When I opened the blinds I saw a tractor idling across the lane from where we’ve parked and in it was a baby seat with a very cute little tike sitting in it sucking his dummy.  He was having a great time going out to work with his daddy.  We watched him ‘helping’ his daddy do a bit of work before they got back in the tractor and drove off.   A little while later a man drove past testing his vintage motorbike, it kept cutting out, obviously his job for today.

Darren needed to work today.  The weather forecast had been for heavy rain, a perfect day to work, however we woke up and it was blazing sunshine!  Who wants to work when the weather is wonderful.  We assumed it was going to rain later in the day so we set off for a short walk to explore the footpath that ran along beside the van.  We’d seen loads of bikes and hikers walking that way.

We followed a sign and came to a gate at the top of a hill.  We could see a wooden building with two cows laying down in front of it and a couple of tiny ponies standing there but weren’t sure whether the path went that way.  In the end we/Darren (I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to walk past those big cows if it wasn’t necessary) decided to have a look.  A s we walked around the corner of the building we were pleasantly surprised to see a number of wooden tables laid out and people sitting at them drinking beer and coffee and eating tasty looking food.  Darren had unintentionally discovered a café!  My hero!  We walked around to the front of the pretty building and found an empty table overlooking a valley.

Both the waiters were wearing lederhosen, one of them came over to serve us and realised we didn’t speak German.  He was a bit stumped when he tried to translate the cakes so I went inside with him and he asked me what the translation was.  There was plum cake, cheesecake and raspberry gateau, he mentioned framboise and I knew that was French for raspberries, now he knows the English name.  The other waiter came in to find out what they were called too, he told me he hadn’t learned the names of fruit in his school, but his English was extremely good.  I wonder what sentences they were taught at school, if it was anything like the things we learned in our French lessons they wouldn’t have been useful in every day life.  If we go through France I wonder whether the phrase, “La plume de ma tante” will ever come up in conversation?

I asked the waiter what the cakes were called in German, I already knew raspberries were called himbeere (I’d learned that from the ice cream shops).  He said the cheese cake was called kase something and for plum cake I could say either pflume or something else which he said was harder to say and although I repeated it a few times at the counter I told him as I was leaving the room it was likely I’d have forgotten by the time I got outside and it seems, unfortunately, I was correct.

There was a beautiful dog laying under the table opposite us, he was very well behaved.  He sat quietly during his owners meal and suddenly came to life when his owner offered him the rest of his bratwurst.  He looked quite disbelieving when it ran out and his other owner had to show him her empty hands AND the empty bowl before he finally believed her and sat down again.

We watched a couple of children having the time of their lives playing with a boat and another toy in the big water trough over in the corner of the yard, it had the added bonus of water pouring into it from a pump.  The owners had thoughtfully put the toys in there to entertain the children and it was definitely working.

After kaffee und kuchen we followed a trail which took us along the valley.

Darren had a map on his phone and he’d seen a circular trail but we missed it and ended up walking down a steep hill towards the road.  It didn’t look like a road we’d want to walk along so we turned round.  After a short walk back the way we’d come we noticed a track over a field so we followed it.  I was a bit disconcerted because there was a lot of cow poo and hoof prints on the track but I couldn’t see any boot prints!

It was a lovely walk and we didn’t meet anyone on that track however as we got close to the end of the track we notice the two cows I’d photographed at the café.  They were standing up on the hill looking down at us, apparently this was their field, I felt a bit happier when I knew that.

The walk back to the van was lovely, so lovely in fact that we went straight past the van and over to the hotel where we had a little walk along the road to see what was there (some pretty houses, a tiny (quiet) church and a miners truck with a mannequin in a little shelter).

We went to the restaurant to spend our 10 Euro camping fee on lunch.

The waitress was lovely.  Her English was really good but she kindly helped us when we asked her how to pronounce certain German words.  The food she brought out to us was absolutely gorgeous.   It was beautifully presented and the flavours of the pickled vegetables were mouth watering.  I’m going to miss the German pickled vegetables as much as I miss the Swedish and Norwegian pickles.  I need to learn how to make them so we can carry on enjoying them.

When she asked whether we’d enjoyed the meal I was able to say “Das war lecker danke” (that was delicious thank you, at least I hope that’s what I was saying) I’ve been able to remember the word lecker because my family in South Africa use a similar word, lekker, so it’s stuck in my mind and makes a change from saying “Das war sehr gut“.  We told her we’d said “Guten tag!” to people on our walk today and received different replies from them.  Apparently there are a few different ways of greeting people, “Grüß Gott” “Schönen tag” and “Hallo” to name but a few, no wonder we’re getting confused!  Two other customers also joined in giving us some examples.  It’s so nice to find that people are happy to help us understand their language.

I am amazed at how quiet it is here in the evening, thank goodness we’ve FINALLY found somewhere that doesn’t have church bells ringing out throughout the day and night.

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