Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bad Schandau

Day 11- Bad Schandau, to Berlin Falkenburg- visiting friends
Quote of the day “Mandy, two hours is not enough to see my country.” (Venera)

We never said we wanted to see the entire country in 2 hours. Just for the record.

We asked if we could meet up with some Belgian neighbors and friends who have a home in the area. As the crow flies, their home was only 12 km from our campsite. We packed the tent up in the miserable rain, and watched a neighboring camper do his morning yoga routine, which was about as entertaining as two weeks in Nebraska.
We had a lovely visit with the Grossman family after Matt killed the rear trailer light trying to park the trailer into a wall outside our friend’s home. They fed us a European breakfast despite our half hearted objections and then we set out for a hike to the top of a peak where one misstep would mean falling for half a day. We could see all the way to Poland and Czech Republic was a stone’s throw away.

Our friends, Venera and Ralph, are kind and welcoming. Their daughter attends school with the kids and happens to be in Emory's class. Venera works as a hairstylist at a barber shop/beauty salon on the local base ,which is the size of a parking lot. During the visit, she confides in me that having been born in Russia is causing waves at work. In her most recent week at work, she received endless jokes about being Russian. This constant jesting from the US customers is making her grow weary at her hair stylist job. She’s not exactly the type to tell someone where to go. She’s had a hard life. Her mom died when she was young, and her father was never really in the picture. Her sister married and American and Venera married Ralph, a German, after the sisters graduated from beauty school and opened a salon together. When we leave the Bad Schandau area, I’m frustrated and sad for her. I brewed all the way to Berlin over the situation and vowed to try to help. Somehow.

We lept from the home from one set of German friends to another, arriving at former neighbors who have since moved from Belgium. Regina and Rainer are a lovely couple who have children of their own grown and relocated. We’d discussed visiting them at their summer home in Falkenburg years ago, and again more recently. It’s clear when we arrive in Falkenburg that they are bracing themselves. We unpacked, shared cake and tea. Hiked some trails, returned for dinner and headed off to their guest house part of the summer home, the “Falkenburg hut” to hit the sack.

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