Well not backpacking per se but we’re carrying our backpacks everywhere… Train tram bus walk. German transport system is simply superb. Runs like clockwork, everything is connected to everything else, trains are incredible comfortable, taking a tram (tram!!! Never take before) is really cool, and the buses are mega clean and comfortable. This is magical. And on every single vehicle there’s an electronic sign telling you what’s the next stop, and a PA system along with it. Awesome sauce. I dare say it’s better than Singapore! Only thing is they don’t have aircon but you don’t need it in this climate I guess.
One thing I’m very grateful for in Singapore is the no smoking policy… I guess an ingrained willingness to follow authoritarian rule and comply with all the rules is good because its a very public-friendly environment. Sacrifice individual freedom for greater public good? I think it’s a worthwhile trade off. Well that’s because I don’t smoke but the general health in the country must certainly be better… I would guess that levels of lung cancer in Singapore counted by patients per million is probably a lot lower than in other more smoker-friendly countries. After a few days in Europe I am distinctly appreciative of our state’s stand on smoking. Woot.
Well we’re off to the Black Forest area! Going to a little town called Oberrimsingen, 30 minutes from the France/Germany border. Wonder what it’s going to be like! I want to eat real Black Forest torte, lots of chocolate and cherries! Wonder if their tap water is going to taste different from the tap water in the city. I think I’m over-romanticizing the Black Forest but we shall see.
There is land land land everywhere! Tracts and swathes of farmland and just grass grass grass. And flowers! I’ve never seen an entire field of flowed like that before. I’m like the reverse village idiot… A city idiot, never seen anything outside of an urban area before. But as much as I like the weather this dry climate does not go well with my Singaporean body. Skin is dry and cuticles are peeling back ow ow. Spam moisturizer time.
So after train-tram-bus-walk we make it to Gasthaus Lowen in the town of Oberrimsingen in Breisbach. It is a wonderfully homely place, with a motherly matron who is the cook I think, and the girl at the counter is super super pretty. Tall (I think 175 oh my that’s my height) and slim and curvy all in one package okay enough eye candy for the day. Dark eyes and dark brown hair okay idea is there if she is pretty enough to talk about well I’ll let imagination do the rest.
We walk to the border and it’s cool wind and green green green. Blue grey skies and the mountains darker in the background in the light. There’s a field of sunflowers and all of them are faxing the east. To see them arrayed in their fading splendor as summer draws to a close is a transcendental experience. They stand tall on their stalks amongst other plants, the wind caressing them, bright yellow heads floating on the breeze, ephemeral, like fairies dancing in the light, coming out to play when nobody is there. Sunbursts of intense yellow jn the gentle green of the field. Mother Nature thou art incredible. But there’s more! Inside the sunflower field there are little puffs of white and marble pink, stars of brilliant violet, then a gentler purple of a morning glory, and another deep blue gem hidden further inside, like a beautiful girl shyly looking out of her window. A tiny red blossom, all the more vibrant for its size, delights the eye when you spy it. Cottony puffballs fly away on the wind and the entire thing is just wonderful. I don’t know the names of the flowers but the unnameable beauty of this glorious sight strangely seems to do it justice – no name would be good enough for this.
There are apple trees, small green fruit, turning that delicious shade of apple-red. There are rhubarb trees, fruit hanging like jewelled violet raindrops, pregnant with flavour. There are berries, clusters of tiny pearls locked together, giving way to a soft sweetness, juicy goodness condensed into a minuscule ball. We lose ourselves in wonder.
Then it’s a 2km walk to the French/German border: the river Rhine! All the way down here. It’s quite cool, standing on a national boundary. Well not quite on, but near enough I guess.
Another brisk walk back to the guesthouse and it’s dinner, cooked by the family who runs the place! 2 schnitzels, 3 large pieces of pan fried pork, and an absolute monster of rump steak. Of course that’s shared between four people. Schnitzel is tasty and crispy, and the pork is nice and juicy, but it’s the steak that I love. It’s about 1.25 inches thick and it’s something like 300 grams. It’s monstrous. It’s done medium, edges browned and meat a delicate shade of pink, with the center remaining still beef-red. It’s lovely. Yum. I consume it. Then there’s an enormous plate of fries which comes with two sorts of mushroom accompaniment. The first is field mushrooms in full cream sauce and and spring onions… And the second is field mushrooms fried with onions and bacon strips. Woo! It’s a very no frills meal, no fancy sauces and garnishes. The meat is just meat, potato is potato. It is earthy, wholesome, satisfying. This kind of food suits me. May I add that the price of beef cost about 12 euros. Less than half of what you would pay in Singapore? Oh my!