08:00 there was a knock at the door.
It was the last of the GOB (Get Onyer Bucketlist) – our final walk in Saxon Switzerland and Jenny and Marco’s son Willy had come to say good morning.
Then Younos came in with his younger brother. Younos is a lovely, clever little lad with black curls, bright eyes and a ready smile. He wanted to know about EVERYTHING. He indicated that he wanted me to explain the caravan’s Alde heating system to him; not straightforward in any language but it presented a particular challenge with a small German child who understood no English!
It took us about two hours to get breakfast as more and more children streamed in. “Ein Hund! Ein Hund!” everybody wanted a dog to sit on them. “Ein Movie! Ein Movie!” Younos, Abu and Hamza wanted to watch TV. They had watched The Golden Compass yesterday. Today, they chose Peter Hart’s RYA DVD ‘Windsurfing FUNdamentals’ ahead of Star Wars. (Well done Peter!) When the windsurfing technique video proved disappointing (sorry Peter!) they wanted Star Wars. Their mum, Ayesha, was not too keen so the vote went for the Golden Compass. Again. Younos’ sister Fatima told us that they don’t have a TV even at home, so despite the lack of language, the kids were enthralled by the animals and special effects.
When we finally managed to empty the caravan of children, we nipped to Bad Schandau to get a more detailed walking map. That really helped! We got lost MUCH more quickly than before and spent nearly 40 minutes trying to work out where the path was that we wanted. We ultimately came to the only possible conclusion. It didn’t exist!
The forecast had been good but we had some heavy rain in the morning. It was a lovely walk along Polenztal. We had a light shower, but then the sun came out. The dogs loved running in the river. We were in the National Park, so we were being diligent about keeping the dogs on the lead. We met some Germans whose dogs were off the lead. “Es ist OK?” we asked. They told us just to pop the dogs on the lead if we saw a ranger in a green jersey!
To our absolute HORROR, we spotted a group of male naturists walking towards us. Mark mocked me and said that I had been complaining of not having enough German sausage. As Marco had taught us with the toast ‘Prost!’, we tried to maintain unwavering eye contact as we greeted them on our way past.
We had promised to get back to go out with Marco and Jenny to visit their friend Gurnot at Schmilka As we got to the end of the path at Gasthaus Polenztal, we decided to return the way we had come. We were running out of time and even with our new, detailed map, we felt that our navigational prowess could not guarantee that we would back on time if we opted for an alternative route home.
Then it dawned on us that our decision meant treating ourselves to a second, rear view of the naturists. We hurried past, greeting them eye to eye “Hello again!” as we pondered on the correct collective noun for naturists; a ‘flab’; a ‘wrinkle’; or for male naturists, a ‘dangle’? I also wondered about the collective noun – or the correct plural – for penises. In the circumstances, it would certainly not be a ‘stand’ and in these temperatures, nor would it be a ‘shrivel’. Not often one has cause to use the plural – or get the opportunity to see so many together, waving freely in the wind.
As we sat on some steps pondering the map once again and agreeing that the path we had wanted, which would have enabled us to do a circular walk, definitely did NOT exist, the naturists reappeared. “C’mon! Quick!” I said to Mark. We ran up the steps and I went to wait in the shade with the dogs while Mark walked up the road to retrieve the van (there had been no room in the car park). I realised, again to my horror, that I had sat right next to the footpath. Inwardly, I cursed myself for not going to peruse the National Park noticeboard, in German, so that I did not have to smile once again and look them in the eye as they all flolloped past me.
I was having a cuddle with Kai on the sofa when Marco came over and said that we would do a literal rain check on Schmilka. “It will be much nicer tomorrow, in the sunshine.” The forecast was poor and we had already had a very heavy shower. Marco reclaimed all his kids from the caravan and we put up the blinds to steal a welcome hour of relaxation and a fix of ‘The Vikings’! As soon as Mark took the dogs out, however, the caravan filled with children once again. Some little girls arrived today. They had all befriended Anna. They all loved dogs. They all came to visit!
After dinner, we joined Marco, Jenny and their new friends Sven and Anka with their little girls Emaly and Sophie. We were polishing off our last bottle of Rhine Dornfelder, which had gone down very well with 2 massive (and delicious!) steaks from Lidl. Anka said that she was from Freiburg. We asked which Freiburg, as we had come across a few. “Do you mean Freiburg or Freiboorg?” she asked. We said that we hadn’t a clue, but did establish that she was from the Freiburg near the Alsatian border, not the Freyburg that we visited recently – or any other! She very kindly brought us a bottle of wine from that region, which we are very much looking forward to trying. We also met Leia who was travelling alone and walking in the area. She taught German as a 2nd language to refugees.
Later, I forgot both the laws of gravity and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I leaned out of bed to help Kai climb back up. As I pushed him up, I fell out! I did a near somersault and landed on my neck. It really hurt!
It wasn’t the wine, honest!
Join us next time for one of those magical experiences that happen when you are travelling.
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