This Thursday afternoon, with Lukas fast asleep in the back seat, I decided to explore the Franconian countryside - from behind the wheel of our brand-spanking new car.
I was aware that it would probably be my last opportunity to really "get lost" - afterall, our new navigation system is impatiently waiting inside its box in the house. Once I hook that puppy up, I'll pretty much always know where I am... for better or for worse.
I drove and drove, through tiny towns with winding roads, past geranium-clad canal-side houses and their inhabitants - cute little old village women socializing in their driveways. I had neither a destination nor any real plan for the afternoon - and it was great.
Suddenly, as I rounded a corner, a castle ("Schloss Wiesenthau") appeared before me, and I knew that that was how we would while away the rest of the afternoon. I got the dog and the baby out, and we walked around the castle, taking pictures as we headed towards the biergarten. A bit of traditional food and a Radler (half beer, half lemonade) and an Apfelschorle for the little guy (half apple juice, half bubbly water), all consumed in a to-die-for-setting.
As you can imagine, I wasn't exactly expecting Bruce Springsteen's Rising as the soundtrack for the afternoon. Hearing music I had grown up with in a castle on the other side of the world was simply surreal. But shortly before leaving, as Bruce sang "My City of Ruins", it seemed perfectly natural to hear him in old Schloss Wiesenthau, afterall.