Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Vent, Austria and Dinkelsbuhl, Germany: What a difference the sun makes...

     It was as if the cocoon opened and the catepillar exited as a butterfly.  In this case, the cocoons were our homes.  While our winter was not that fierce, it was rainy.  It was dreary.  It was cold.  The lack of sun is common around here and the use of Vitamin D is popular among Americans in order to possibly combat seasonal affective disorder (or SAD).
     The weather dramatically changed.  Days and days of sunshine and mild temperatures.  Our lawn is dotted with primroses (which I never knew were perennials).  The daffodils are blooming and the bees are buzzing.  Over the weekend, nearly all of our neighbors were out, sprucing up their tiny yards.  Older couples strolled around the neighborhood streets, stopping frequently to have conversations with old friends that they had probably not seen in months.  The cheerful noises of children riding bikes and playing outside sounded like music.
     The pasture behind our house was mowed and the farmer came by inspecting the fence.  We are sure that soon "our" cows will be back.  However, will Frances, our favorite, be one of them?  In all of this euphoria, there is still an overwhelming question poised on the lips of anyone who has spent at least 24 hours in Belgium.  "How long will it last?"  "Is this our summer?"
     Last week was one of our Spring holidays.  Not only do we get a week "Pre-Lenten" holiday, we also get two weeks in April for Spring Break.  Given that it is still ski season, we headed back to Austria and back to the village where it all started for us 15 years ago.
The Wildspitz
     To go back to Vent is a homecoming of sorts.  There are rarely surprises.  We fall into a comfortable routine.  We chat with the waiter who has been there for 21 years and always welcomes us with a schnapps.  There is our favorite pizzeria, whose owner always remembers Dear Daughter's name and is quick to pull out her IPhone to show us pictures of her two.  We stop in the bar where once an Olympian served us beers and told us stories of life on the World Cup circuit.

     We skied a bit.  We took a few mountain walks.  We ate at our favorite restaurants.  We totally relaxed.  Just before our departure from home, we had learned that we will be here one more year, so our stress levels plummeted.  We enjoyed each other's company and gave each other space.

A view of Vent
Taking a break...

A walk in the snow

     On the way home, we took a detour in Germany and stopped to visit an old medieval village, Dinkelsbuhl, which is on the Romantische Strasse.  Twenty-five years ago, I lived fifteen minutes away from this beautiful village, yet Dear Husband and I cannot remember much about it.  To see the area again through the eyes of a 48-year old was completely different from seeing it as a 23-year old. Oh, the biking we could have done or the picnics we could have had.  As I mentioned this, Dear Daughter just rolls her 12-year old eyes.  I am so glad that we have been given another chance to experience Europe but I also understand that my daughter eyes are quite different from my own.

Think she will live there one day?

I lived in Crailsheim 25 years ago and I do not remember a Schloss...
     I love the travel and we will head back on the road tomorrow. However, I am also eager to be at home.  I want to start a garden, eat dinner on the terrace and hopefully, name the new cows and look for Frances.  I will miss the cozy fires but I love hearing the chirping birds each morning.

     Now if I could just get someone to mow our lawn???

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