Friday, 8 August 2008

The Trek Tagebuch: Otto in Germany

So, I have slept pretty much solidly since we got back from our travels. And I feel suitably refreshed now to share with you some of my adventures. 
Well, that rumply, smelly trip lasted only about 30 minutes and then we were back on the motorway, driving through France, then Belgium, stayed in a hotel, drove through Holland and then (a mere 32 hours after we set off) we arrived in the Lueneburger Heide in the north of Germany, visiting family. All very nice. There was even a quite cute little girl dog there for me to make introductions with. You'll agree that she is very good looking!
But the joy did not last long. We had regrettable misunderstanding, when she assumed that I was feasting on her food when I was in fact only drinking some water from my own bowl, and she bit me! Not badly, but you know, I got a bit of a fright. Thankfully the STAFF sorted things out with their family and I got to spend the rest of our stay there in peace. 
Then we went to see Oma, who lives very close to the beach! I love the beach! I love sand! I love water! I love Oma! I had a great time. But before long we moved on again. 

Another 9 hours and we had crossed Germany from North to South and were in the Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, as the locals call it. A massive area that is pretty much just trees, hills and water is as good a holiday location as you can choose, I'd say. I even had my own private little river, which I could cool my paws in after a long day of activity. And also first thing in the morning. And any time of day really. Selfishly the STAFF and Oma took me on some excursions which seemed to me to be mainly for their enjoyment. Not mine. Would you believe that?
I was compensated with some very nice walks though. Including one on our last day in the Schwarzwald. We took a cable car all the way to the top of the Feldberg, which at just under 1500m is the highest in the Schwarzwald. And once on top we lollopped through the meadows looking for snacks and butterflies. Well, the STAFF seemed to be admiring the view. But I lollopped and enjoyed the fresh air.
I was beginning to suspect that things were going a bit too well. After all, this whole trip had been arranged and planned by the STAFF, and I don't need to tell you that this normally means that something will go wrong. And so it was...

We got back to the car, and I spotted it first, one of the tyres: flat as a pancake. Uhoh, I thought. Not good! Best not mention it to the STAFF. Of course, they spotted it anyway. But, not too much of a problem you'd have thought. They have breakdown insurance. They have mobile telephones. It is just a matter of waiting a little while, some kind of breakdown car will come half-way up the Feldberg, fix the mess and we can get back to my private river. That's what you and I would think and do. 
The STAFF, however, with their very own brand of wisdom and logic at work, had left all
documents and means of communication in the holiday appartment, miles away. The Idiots! 
4 hours it took to get it all sorted. 4 hours of waiting. of doing nothing! 
And all of that just because I am lumbered with STAFF who are frankly not the most useful and practical people I've come across. It is not easy at times to be supportive of them. But I do try.

The next day we dropped off Oma at the airport. I was very upset, because I love Oma and I really did not want her to leave. But the STAFF dropped her off, ignoring my protests and drove on and on and on until we reached Bavaria, which is technically a part of Germany, even though it is very different to the north where Oma lives. 
When we arrived in Bavaria I was very excited, because I got to hook up with my dear friend Gerlinde! Graciously we allowed the STAFF to tag along, even though I was not in a good mood with them after the flat tyre and leaving Oma incidents.
But then Gerlinde led us to a place of pure magic. A lake in the Bavarian mountains which was so beautiful, and clear and, frankly, cold, that it was like a dream. I won't tell you the name of the lake. I don't want you to go. I want it all to myself. 
As you may know, the STAFF have been insinuating for some time that I may not be able to swim properly. What an outrageous remark! Just because I have chosen not to, does not mean that I am not able to. I was reluctant to let the STAFF know of my abilities, lest it puts more crazy ideas in their heads. BUT, when I saw one of the STAFF go for MY stick, I could not contain myself and I pushed into the depth and paddled with a great splash, at high sleek speed, until I had the stick and my pride was recovered. 
I found the experience of swimming in this coldest and deepest lake in Germany so enjoyable that I wanted to come back every day and do it again. Thankfully, Gerlinde communicated this to the STAFF and we came at least once every day. I could have done without the 9km up and down mountains on bendy roads to get there, but needs must, I guess. My favourite photo shows me and my friend cooling our feet in the water, with the sun shining on our backs. Now, the STAFF may want to tell you that I learned to swim in this lake, but you and I know that's not true.
In this picture you get a good view of the Herzogstand. The big mountain just beyond my bottom. And that's where we took the STAFF on one of the days. The trouble is that the Herzogstand is quite high, and the best way to get up there is in a cable car. But this cable car travels at an incline (or decline!) of 88% at nearly 20mph (or 30km/h)! I was nearly sick on the way up. Not from the journey, but the smell of fear in the cabin was almost too much to take. 

When we got up there, the view was amazing. 
I spotted my favourite lake, no more than 1000m down, and I was getting ready to go there (I spotted a shortcut which was not even entirely vertical) but the STAFF held me back. THEY just have no sense of fun or adventure, nor do they understand the urgency of the need to get to the water. 
The time in this little paradise was far too brief and before long we were back on our 36hour journey home. All very dull. 

But, we did spot something in Bavaria which looked slightly less than safe: just a little sign by the side of the road, saying that there are low flying planes and to pay attention to the traffic lights. I got the feeling the STAFF were not taking the whole thing seriously, but stopped anyway at the red traffic light. Good job.
They were certainly not kidding when they warned us of low-flying planes crossing the road!

So, now I am safely back home. And I still have Bestwood and all. But I can tell you that I really miss my lake and I miss Oma and Gerlinde and the sense of adventure every day. I hope the STAFF and I will go on holiday again quite soon!

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