A Change of Scenery Can Do Wonders…

This post will not include pictures (yet), because I wrongly assumed that my new camera had the same USB recaptable than my phone and thus I didn’t bring the right connector/plug to transfer photos to my netbook. I might either update this post with photos in a few days or more likely write a follow up post with lots of pictures.

I had planned this short vacation because I was so sick of my everyday life. Tired of the daily hassle of work at the office and work for my local Greens. Tired of various other seemingly important issues I have to deal with. I had hoped that a mere change of scenery would help to leave all the stress and (more emotionally than physically) tiresome stuff behind. I admit that I somehow expected it to not work out this way and that I would still spend too much time thinking about non-vacation stuff.
So imagine my suprise and more important my delight when I realized that this vacation here obviously was/is just what I needed. All the issues and all the people that used to bother me to some degree seem so far away. Stored away somewhere in the far back of my mind. I just don’t think about any of it. At all. Except right now when I actually try to remember all the stuff I don’t think about at the moment, if that makes any sense.

This week’s weather forecast for this area had been bleak (to put it mildly) so I expected constant rain and I packed a few books + the study material for my current grad school class. I probably take all of that back home on Sunday without even glancing at one single page of it. Of course the fact that I brought my netbook and am able to be online whenever I want might play a part in that too. But a much bigger part plays the fact that I’ve been busy and out doing stuff and had no time to read (or even be online for a longer period of time).

I arrived at the small town in the Lower Rhine Region, close to the Dutch border yesterday in the early afternoon. I expected downpour of rain (and by now I’m determined to not believe any weather forecast again, but to either be prepared for all eventualities or to trust folks who can predict the weather from what kind of sunrise it was in the morning, like the B&B hostess. She had been right on both days so far!). It wasn’t raining at all, so I took my bike out for a short ride (~ 35 km) in the late afternoon. I had planned the route in advance but despite a map and road signs for various cycleways I lost track of the original route and ended up in a place I hadn’t planned to visit. It didn’t matter though as I at least had my bearings again and could continue back to my B&B. It started raining a tiny bit for that last part, but it didn’t bother me at all. And I also rode a tiny ferry across the Rhine. Derek Shepherd would have been so proud of me ;-)

Today I once again tended to believe in the weather forecast (rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon) so I decided to not cylce to Germany’s biggest archaeological open-air museum, the Archaeological Park in the city of Xanten (APX), but to only cycle to the train station and take the train and bus to get there. For your information, it only started raining (still no heavy rain) in the last afternoon, when I probably already would have been back home if I had taken the bike. Cycling the 4 km from the station in the rain was no big problem either.
The APX really is quite amazing and definitely worth a visit. It’s fascinating to see how they continue to excavate buildings or roads and basically everything form this ancient roman settlement. Photos would be really helpful now to illustrate what I’m talking about *sigh*. Trust me, when I tell you that I had a great time. I also had yummy supper at a Tapas Bar near the train station, from where I borded the train back to the tiny town I’m staying in. Supper time also was the time when the rain finally set in, but like I said it all was no big deal. Lucky me!

I’m also incredibly lucky to have ended up here at a this wonderful tiny B&B with awesome owners. B&B’s aren’t that common in Germany (yet), at least not as far as I know. There are boardinghouses of course but IMHO those lack the hospitality and the unique cosy/welcoming feeling of a B&B. The one I’m staying in is definitely a B&B like I’d expect it to be somewhere in the UK. It’s run by a german/dutch couple who run a store in this small town and they are just so lovely folks. She is from Germany and we talked a lot about travelling Europe yesterday over a cup of coffee, when I had arrived. She also gave me some great advice regarding my planned cycling trips (“Don’t go there. The town center is boring and it might reek because of the chemical industry on the outskirts”). She recommended cycling to Doesburg in the Netherlands instead, which according to her (and my online research *g*) has got a beautiful historical town center and the oldest pub/cafe in the Netherlands.
Cycling there and back will be a much longer tour than I had originally planned to go on during these 4 days, as it’s about 45 km one way, so around 90 km in total. But cycling is what I came here for, so that’s what I’m going to do. And I’ve got all day tomorrow to accomplish it.

What more is there to say about this wonderful B&B? I’am the only guest at the moment, besides a dutch couple who had spent the night and now are on their way to Prague. On their bikes! The three rooms (each with 2 single beds) are nice, each unique in it’s own way. Another bonus point is the fluffy bathrobe every guest is provided with. And a lot of bonus points are well deserved for the breakfast. I’ll have to take a picture of it tomorrow. The hostess promised to change it a bit from day to day, so after the scrambled eggs today, I will be served pancakes tomorrow. Plus buns, peanut butter, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, various kind of homemade jams, fruit salad (from homegrown fruits as well), juice and coffee. And of course all of it beautifully prepared. I’m getting hungry just writing about it… :-)

All in all: I’m sooo glad I decided to get away from my everyday life and come here to experience something different. To ease my mind and to relax and just…. be.

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