Write2Camp in Europe

Come and literally join me on my literary journey!


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SAILING AROUND THE WORLD WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER SAILED BEFORE !

Crazy or What? 

I got to tell you all about my stepsister. 

 

When Anna turned 55, she married her second husband, a –  soon to be retired – Dutch guy. He retired after a few years, and instead of moving to Amsterdam, he surprised her with his long kept secret dream. He asked her to travel with him around the world.

Wow, that’s cool, she thought.

But then he added … “on a sailboat!” 

Anna, a petite, quirky, blue-eyed, blond, worked as a legal secretary her entire employed life. The only kind of sport she had ever undertaken was horseback riding. And her only fame to claim was speed typing. Anna had never set foot on a boat — not even a rowboat. She had no idea what she was getting into, when she said yes, while visions of  golden sunsets over turquoise water, luxurious cabins, a smiling captain, a Chinese cook, and a mahogany bar, with shiny brass ornaments, danced through her little naive head. She imagined all the smart marine style clothes she’d wear, silk bed sheets covered with seagull prints, navy blue and white striped deck chairs, and an array of wide brimmed sunhats to shield her sun-tanned brow.

They sold everything they owned; horses, apartment, house, cars bikes, teacups…you name it…absolutely everything, and invested the money in a modest used sailboat, with a teeny little cabin and kitchen. “We will be on a tight budget”, her husband said… “After all, the money has to hold us over water, so to speak, at least six to eight years.”

“What?” Anna’s mouth fell open. “You’re joking, right?”

“No joke. We’ll need that time if we want to sail comfortably around the globe.”

My tall, gaunt, husband already has the stature of a sailor, she thought, as he crinkled one eye shut in a sailor- like wink, and puffed sweet aromatic tobacco in his Cuban pipe.

Before they set sail, Anna completed a sailing and navigation course, (with flying colors, I may add) and earned a licence for their MF/HF radio. And her husband, who already had absolved a coast guard training course, took lessons, from a doctor friend, in how to operate an acute appendicitis, just in case….!

Finally after a year of preparations, they set sail. From the first month on, my half-sister sent, per email, monthly updates with all the gory details.

She wrote about cockroaches crawling out of the cuspidor’s drain, while a native dentist treated her in some remote harbor. She described sudden hurricanes and monster waves, tossing their little boat around like half a walnut shell spiraling behind a speed boat. She described seasickness was like getting your insides turned outside … over and over again. She complained about feeling claustrophobic and bruised when they were tossed around in their miniature cabin. And she admitted to occasionally hoping they’d go under, just to end the endless torture.  She prayed for help, more than she would like to admit, and asked herself hundreds of times, if her brain was out to lunch, when she agreed to sail along.

Their used sailboat was in need of constant repairs. After each sailing spree, they barely made it into the next harbor. One of the many big challenges was getting replacements for their broken equipment, which meant waiting it out for months at a harbor before they could set sail again.  

But when the seas were calm and the wind was steady, she forgot the storms and basked in the beauty of it all. She wrote of the vibrant colors in the water, of dolphins diving through the still sunsets, flying fish, and whales. She described sunrises that filled the sky with a fiery fierceness. She wrote of snorkelling in the coves of Tahiti, Corsica, and New Zealand. And she wrote, with love, of the many friends they had made while waiting for their new equipment around the world.

She asked Hubby and me to join them for a short excursion between two countries. But thank goodness we agreed to say ‘thank you … but no thank you.’ The height of our adventurous nature is – taking a spin on a calm lake, in a big boat, with a bottle of Chianti wine.

Sometimes Anna wrote about being lonely, and how much she missed her family and girlfriends. She confided, more than once, that she is doing this just for the love for her husband. What a strong love that must be. 

Anna is a landlubber now. She and her husband sailed twice around the world in eight years. They bought a piece of land in Thailand, built  a lovely house and a guest house, and they plan to live there till the mighty sea – just may… who knows – beckon them back once again.

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Autumn photos at Lake Constance, Germany

img_0009-smThis is my last report on Lake Constance in autumn. We were expecting a warm golden October, like the October’s in the last three or four years. We were planning to travel from Lake Constance to the North Sea and eventually Holland, but unfortunately, October was freezing this year. And no matter how high we turned up the heat in our caravan, it couldn’t fight the cold, clammy, morning, fog, which seeped in under the door, through the roof windows and into our clothes, blankets and under our skin.

One morning after cupping our hot coffee, Hubby and I compared who has the coldest hands. Not even our coffee cups could warm them up.  We decided to pack up and go back home.  And we aren’t sorry we did..

But still … we spent wonderful weeks hiking through abundant fields, overflowing with ripe grapes, plums, apples, pears, and even late strawberries. Sweet sour apple aroma filled the air, teasing our taste buds, till we gave in (like Adam and Eve) and took bites from the wide assortment, as distinctive in flavors as the colors on a painter’s pallet.

Harvest festivities took place in every village. Tractors pulling trains of small wagons, piled high with fruit, slowed down the commuter traffic to a pleasant crawl, allowing children to jump out of their parent’s cars and gaily walk alongside the farmers’ tractors by the fields.

People looked so healthy: ruddy red cheeks, windblown hair, laughing eyes. Folks stopped to sniff at the fruit cupped in their hands and they took deep breaths of crisp, fresh, red and orange October air.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Blue House of Quotes

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Written on the outside walls of this lovely wine restaurant: 

“Enjoy a woman and a glass of wine

without any misgivin’.

But if your’re not a drinker nor a kisser,

Your life just ain’t worth livin’. “

Anyone who enjoys quotes would love visiting  Lake Constance, Germany.

You’l find quotes ( that you’ve never heard of before), everywhere: on houses, street signs, park benches, hidden in restaurant gardens, engraved on store fronts, printed in menus … even on sewage canal covers. I picked just a few for you to see… and of course translated them for you.

Every smartphone has a translator ab, so you can still enjoy — no matter what language you speak.
Don’t need a boat… if I can read a quote! 🙂

The Blue House

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“There are many more old wine drinkers than old doctors.”

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You want to talk about me and my family? First go back home, and tell me what you see. Only if you find there is nothing wrong at all Then go ahead, gossip … go tell ‘em all.”

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Marriage is like going to a restaurant. You always think you have made the best choice, till you see what your neighbor got.

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If you don’t do something for your health every day, then one day you will be sacrificing a lot of time for your health.

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At an entrance to a cafe’ with delicious pastry. …. The more you weigh, the harder it is to kidnap you! Protect yourself! Eat cake!

That’s all for today folks! Let me know if you enjoyed yourselves.

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You just can’t beat this place.

The advantage, or maybe it’s a disadvantage − however way you want to see it − but we change our travel destinations as often as the billowing winds change directions on a mountain lake.

“Okay,” I said to Hubby. Let’s just drive to our most favorite place in the world, and we’ll decide from day-to-day what our next stop shall be.

“You know, that’s the best idea you’ve had all week.” he said, and  gave me a big happy kiss.

I have written about Lake Constance, in Germany,  before. Where else can you breakfast in Germany, take lunch in Austria, drink an afternoon coffee in Liechtenstein and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening on the Swiss side of the lake? This is only possible  in the four-country-region- Bodensee… or known as Lake Constance. It’s like a second home to us, and  only a good hour and a half drive from our house.

We just love our trusty camp ground, and this time we even got a space that allows a narrow view of the lake between tall trees.

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But before I say anything more, I have to admit — one of the reasons we drove to a camp site so close to home was because we were exhausted. Yes, exhausted from all the zillions of little pre-vacation things that had to be done. Packing our caravan has become a marathon of carrying laundry baskets full of clothes, medications, blankets, pillows, food, cell phones, laptops, Kindle, chargers and storing them all away in the caravan, so that nothing, not even a bra strap is caught hanging out between the hinges of the cabinet doors.  Maybe we are getting old, and maybe the need to take everything in question with us has increased with age. Gee, I can remember going on vacation with just a little handbag. Ha ha − that was about a million years ago.

Nevertheless, the vacation started off with a bang… or better said with a click. I was waiting patiently in the car, eating one gum drop after the other, while Herbert, my hubby, was in a gas station’s men’s room. The  car radio was playing some cool music, and not till after the fourth or eighth song − or maybe it was the empty gum drop bag, but I suddenly sat up in alert. What is taking my dear Hubby so long?  I got out of the car and marched to the gas station, when suddenly my husband approached me.

“So how long were you planning on waiting before checking up on me?” He asked a bit disgruntled.

“What took so long?” I said, while suppressing a sweet sour taste of gum drops coming up my throat.

“The lock broke on the bathroom door, and I banged and knocked and yelled on the door till someone finally let me out!”

Hubby suddenly began to laugh, saying the people at the gas station and even some customers, who urgently needed to use the bathroom, were in a tizzy trying to get the lock open.

“Now that would have made a good vacation shot!” I exclaimed. We both laughed, and then I knew − when stupid things like that strike one as funny it’s a sure sign that vacation time has started.

That evening we ate in a lovely restaurant by the sea. But even better than the food, were all the little signs,  stuck between roses and weeds, with wonderful wise quotes written upon them.  I took some snapshots of them, and am more than happy to translate the quotes for you. So in this first of the latest travel report series:    this is quote no. 1.

p1000039-kopieThe practical thing about vacation is that it not only renews your strength to start
working again,
but it makes you so damn broke, that it really gives you no other
choice in the matter.

PS….The header photo I just took this evening.
I swear! No photo shop!

PPS…I will be writing soon again. Hope to see around, and I would love for you to leave a comment. Thank you!


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Author Event – Angelika Schwarz

What do I love about internet the most?

It’s about making friends, that I would —

otherwise — never have had the chance to meet.

Debbie is one of the wonderful friends that I have connected to through blogging. And this amazing person has  dedicated an  —AUTHOR PAGE — in her blog to me.

If you would like to see what she has put together,  stop on by, and we can chat on her open forum too. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them. Just click on the link below, and you can let us know if you are planning to visit. 🙂 or … just take a look around. I hope to see you there!

Introducing the author – Angelika Schwarz. Please click here

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City Constance at Lake Constance

Hi folks, it’s been a while, but I think I’m back in the saddle again.

Between family visits at our house, Hubby and I took off for a weekend to see a maritime show in the city Constance, which is the largest metropolitan city, nestled on the shores of Lake Constance. (Bodensee in German).

Part of the city belongs to Germany, and the other part to Switzerland. The countries’ border lines run between houses and streets, and – (you won’t believe this!)between the largest department store in the city. Isn’t that just amazing? The two countries share festivities, buildings, the ice stadium, the bus transportation system and the gas and electric works, most everything – just not the Euro. Which means, when going on a shopping spree you need to bring both: the European Euro and the Swiss Franks.

Before I show you some of the photos I took, I have to tell a most remarkable and intriguing story about this city. The City Constance is represented by a 33 foot statue of a lady, named Imperia. She is mounted at the tip of the harbor and slowly rotates on her own axis.

Well, as you may have guessed; Imperia wasn’t just an ordinary lady. She was once – the classiest whore – in the entire city.  It’s the year 1414. The medieval church council was situated in Constance and a new Pope had just been elected. It was well known that high priests, kings and emperors courted Imperia as well as other prostitutes. But it was Imperia who gained, through her high ranking customers, the power to rule over life and death.

The story gets better.

Imperium holds upon her hands two dwarfish naked men. On her right uplifted palm she carries the king of Constance, and on the left the Catholic pope. The artist, Peter Lenk, satirically displays the whore as a juggler, arrogantly playing with the two powers.  The king and the pope, the most powerful men, are ruled by their lowest instincts. Imperia, who embodies physical love, appears to be the only dominant figure, who holds the two comical and pathetic figures in the high world of supremacy.

Guess Clinton wasn’t all that naughty after all. Jeez… people haven’t changed a bit.

And now… to my photo show! Enjoy 🙂

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A surprise Outing! Or… You just never know what’s around the corner!

I didn’t plan a thing for today.

So I decided to simply enjoy the warm sun

and ride my bike through undiscovered neighborhoods.

Suddenly I skidded to a halt!

Whaaat?  I couldn’t believe my eyes !smiley

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I took a double take:Not sure what I was looking at. DSC05138

How cute, I thought. Children must have done this…

But nooo… a sweet old couple sat in front of their house, eating Chinese food, and listening to Mexican music.  Not a child was in sight.

I smiled at them. They smiled back. And I asked if I may take pictures of their ‘animal farm’. They laughed and nodded. The old man got up from his chair,  beer in hand, DSC05126and told me he tells fairy tales, and this is one way of people discovering him.

He also proudly told me he has a magic tent for children, which he sets up at village fares. He decorates the tent with his animals, and the children usually sit on the toy animal backs when listening to his tales.

Well one thing led to another, and before I knew it, he invited me to an art club that he belongs to. How neat is that! And he is looking for fairy tale story tellers! Whoa! This was like made to order!

In June they have their next meeting: poets, writers, painters, acrobats, sculptors, all meet, and organize their shows. Since I paint and write, I think I’ll fit right in. In any case I’ll take pictures and let you all know how it goes.

Isn’t it amazing? You just never know what enchanting  encounter may cross your way and add a special, handfull ,of magical, silver, dust to your life.

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