Thursday, November 04, 2010

Walk in My Shoes Wednesday -- Cycling to Eckental, Holland-Style

I've said it before and it's certainly worth repeating. As an expat, you may leave a country, but traces of that place will forever remain; like geographical laugh lines. This explains (partially, at least) why I've become a bit of the village weirdo here in our little German dorf. Afterall, who else goes on cycling tours in the rain? And, of those, how many will be wearing a dress and boots? Really, can you blame them?

Yes, the American (turned Aussie, turned South African, turned Dutch... figuratively speaking) went cycling today. She took her Dutch cycle, sporting her oh-so-Dutch outfit (albeit with a South African windbreaker), and rode aimlessly from village to village. All in the name of a little adventure.

First came Steinbach, then Brand, then Eckental. Wind and rain pelted my glasses, rendering them useless.

Granted, to the average German, these places are nothing out of the ordinary. But to this "Amie" (as they like to call us), they most certainly are. Take the charming miniature house on the main street in Steinbach, once dedicated to baking bread (located on this farm, but I forgot to photograph it, oops!). It stands today, not because it is a historic landmark, but because the farmer (whose wife is the fourth generation at this fabulous "hof"), knows that if he tears it down, the gemeinde (or local government), will race to enlarge the street. This would equate to more traffic and pollution just outside his front door, so the "backoffen" stays.

At the edge of Steinbach (don't try to google it, it's pointless) are sheep. They're hard to get to, because there is no sidewalk on their side of the street, and drivers are permitted to go dangerously fast on this road. But, with just a bit of determination passersby can reach their enclosure and watch them retreat skittishly. :)

Next comes Brand, literally translated as "Fire". Like most villages in this area, it's estimated to be nearly a thousand years old. Locals know Brand for it's fabulous (and oh so overpriced) "House of Sports" gym and it's Aldi Supermarket. Approaching Aldi on the first day of freshly advertised products is inadviseable. Feeling brave? Get there early. Very early. But hey, it was adventure I was after (which I tend to define as all new experiences and impressions), so in I went. Nudging my way through the crowds, there was no doubt I'd find things that I couldn't live without. Within minutes I was toting three items around the store, with only enough cash for two. (Locals, be advised: If you're looking for a size 40 of the women's "weatherproof" winter boots, do not look under the Christmas napkin display, PLEASE!). Needless to say, I'll be going back with the car tonight.

The adventure continued along some unmarked dirt bicycle path, with me unsure of my next destination. It ended up being the town of Eckental, where I cycled right past our pediatrician's office (I never thought it was that close!). Eckental also has a little restaurant and bakery, so it serves as a good spot for a break. I highly recommend the chocolate croissants at the "Kalchreuter" bakery (my local favorite).

Homeward bound, I contemplated taking a different way home, which would take me through other villages, but decided they were worth an altogether separate outing. So stay tuned for my trip to sweet Großgeschaidt!

I loved this week's Walk in My Shoes Wednesday, and hope that you did too. If you have a blog and are interested in doing something similar, just let me know and I'll post your link!
Signing off from Kleinsendelbach, Germany,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Post pictures of the world travler outfit you wore that day if you have one. What an adventure!