Thursday, November 11, 2010

Walk in My Shoes Wednesdays -- A Golf Course, Antique Shop, and Castle - Oh My!

The Erlangen Golf Course, Neuland Antique Shop, and Eckenheid Castle now have one thing in common -- me. On this week's "Walk in my Shoes Wednesday" I wasn't at all sure what I was after. The only certainty? I wanted to explore.

Perhaps it's not surprising that a nearby street sign pointing up to a golf course (that I had never before seen) beckoned me. Afterall, it was a most picturesque single-lane etched into a forest of giant fir pines. The course itself is serene with its gentle rolling hills, though the name - Golf Club Erlangen - is peculiar, since we're nearly 30 minutes from the city of Erlangen. I find golf courses tend to be amongst the prettiest places on the planet, and - on this particular course - signs warned of deer crossing, which certainly would add to this place's charm at dawn and dusk. The food at the clubhouse is also reportedly good; perhaps that's something we should try out on our next family hike!

Back in the car I rambled on, albeit it for a short time, before another sign jumped out at me. I stopped. Who wouldn't for a little barn with amazing antiques and cute trinkets inside. How fun! Neuland is a tiny shop along the main street of the village of Forth (Frohnhofer Hauptstr. 1 for those with a "navi"), within the greater district of Eckenhaid, and they carry antiques, exclusive clothing, and decorative items for both indoors and out.

Okay, I still had some time. Alexander was fast asleep in the car. Where to next? Remembering that I had read about a castle in the area, I headed towards the village of Eckenhaid, where I came across Gasthof Schloss Eckenhaid. The 17th-century castle is small but noble, and has been in the same family since the mid 1800s. Though it is now a much loved restaurant in the region, Mondays and Wednesdays are their "Quiet Days" (or in German "Ruhetage"), so I would have to settle for admiring the outside on this fine afternoon.

Then came Helga, from the nearby village of Lauf. What a spirited, lovely Oma! We talked for at least 15 minutes about our families, our origins, our culture, and more, answering questions like, "What role does history play in the stand-offishness of [local] Franconians?" and "Why are some more stand-offish than others?" Her theory? Many years of poverty made life rough for these people. They had to work hard for what they had, and - just 50 years ago - there wasn't money for children to finish school, much less go off and learn a trade.

But Helga is proof that there are plenty of people in Franconia that enjoy conversing... even with [GASP!] strangers. Lucky for me, because at the end of the day, it's the people we meet that make each adventure so special, and dear Helga made this "Walk in My Shoes Wednesday" one to remember!


Anonymous said...

it was very interesting to read. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can? And you et an account on Twitter?

Liz Kraft said...

Thanks! You can find my twitter account under Liz Kraft. If you don't see it, please let me know.