Our adventure through Europe begins today. I’ve spent about the past week in a little town near Ansbach, Germany. Will lives there, lucky fellow. Part of the town lies inside a thick stone wall that’s been there since the 1400’s. The stones are crumbling in some places. Moss has taken hold and long vines of ivy are slowly but steadily assaulting the fortress walls. There’s grass in the moat and wildflowers along its sides. But the town itself is still very much alive. Kids play at the park, bakeries and cafes open every morning, and it’s generally picture perfect all round.
Germans appear to have an obsession with perfection. After spending a while in North America, it’s a bit eerie to be surround by perfectly painted houses with perfect red tiles, forming a perfect town, in a perfect field of wheat and wildflowers, beneath a perfect baby blue sky. There are no weeds on the sidewalks, no graffiti on the walls of restaurants and shopping centers, nothing whatsoever to disturb the peace. Odd? Maybe a bit, in a good way.
We’re on our way to our old friends, the Kohns, house. It’s been years since I’ve seen these people. Mr. Kohn, aka PK, spent the better part of two summers working on the house we owned in the forests of New Hampshire. He views himself as my big brother and also is a paternal figure in my life. He’s a pretty cool dude.
Travel thus far has gone pretty smoothly. The train systems are not quite as on schedule as I remember them being, but that’s another story. We bid the Wellman family goodbye this morning. Noah and Libby, Will’s younger siblings, waved and cheered us off, easily contorting their faces into the strangest shapes. For good luck, I guess. Mrs Wellman squeezed us hard at the train station, managing not to cry, tell us to be careful, or any of the other things most parents feel compelled to say. Can I just say she’s amazing? She’s really inspiring. I would’ve taken her with us if I could. You should check out her blog!
Will is very excited. And by very excited, I mean up-way-too-early, constantly-bouncing/dancing, so-many-random-hugs excited. Strangely enough, I’m not as excited as I feel I should be. I think it’ll take a while for all of this to sink in. It still feels surreal, at this point. It hasn’t quite registered that I’m here at last, with my buddy, taking off on a trip that will lead me to people and places I haven’t seen in years and have missed like crazy. Maybe it’ll start to feel real by tomorrow.
Our train is speeding past farms and vineyards. Will is starting on his new journal. We should be in Hirschberg, Germany by tonight.
Meanwhile, here’s some photos from the past few days!