Happy Days of the Fading Summer

Eifel, Germany

The time I can spend with the books at the river, its buoys and ducks and docs has been drastically reduced. It apparently is something that frequently happens around September. I am talking about the starting school season of course.

And so, I have too, returned to school. I decided to take the advancing course in Dutch and it is going on since the start of this week. There I have been, sitting in a class room of 22 students, instead of spending my time getting pleasantly bored by the side of the Scheldt. I am not complaining. I get to see my friends every day, meet new people and so forth.

It has been an interesting start for the course. Well, technically, I am having two courses, one for verbal communication and hearing exercises and the other one for reading and writing. There are only some of the people from the spring left and quite some new faces. I am struggling a bit with my packaged arm since I haven’t yet learned to write with my left. Plus I am not allowed to drive, so by bus I go and notes are made on a tablet, that Waffle has so generously allowed me to use.

These courses is moving a lot slower that the previous ones, which is as it should be, I was on the extra intensive one during the spring, and this is just the normal paced one. I have a lot of time to get bored. The teacher has the habit of asking a lot of input from us students. She wants to know out interests and the thing that make us very happy. And now we have to hold a diary over happiness causing things. It feels like we a bunch of clinically depressed people in therapy, not so much learning a language.

The teacher has made us to first think of the dates for the happiest moments in our lives (a lot of childbirths, wedding days etc. then there is this one idiot who mentions the date of getting her first horse…), and now we have a task of keeping a geluksdagboek ( lovely word isn’t it) which translates to happiness diary. So we have to write down three things each day, that make us happy. Which actually is rather nice, I don’t feel at all like being clinically depressed person in treatment, I feel like I have to find a pair of rose colored glasses to put on my nose and start searching all those tiny details, that make me happy. For me, that does not cause much trouble. I am a very joyous idiot.

Now I also have a very very great thing to be actually extremely happy about. Remember the pain and sweat I went through while writing and application letter in Finnish? Well, all that has payed off! I have a new job now, starting from October / November. I could not be happier! Although I do have a stomach bug and it is trying hard to get my mood down…

So, the three happy things from today:

1 I have a new job.

2 Waffle is almost home and we can start the weekend!

3 The foam in my bubble bath was extra firm this time.

Which are your daily happy things for today?

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The stars above

Last weekend was weird… ish. We stayed inside the Belgian borders.

We did not manage even to leave from home on Friday, so we slept indoors, in our own bed. Cycled to the in-laws on Saturday, that was a 50 – 55 km tour. On not so comfy bike saddle and with minimal amount of fitness. Auh. You know what I am talking about. Auh.

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So, after that torture, we decided to go sleep outside and hike the next day. Good weather was promised for the whole weekend, and a bit of autumn colors were pushing through. What better place to be, than Wallonia? Saturday’s painful cycling was followed by a small argument on where we actually should camp, and ending into the realization, that we cannot travel by car through forests; we kinda need to stick to the roads, and the distances of course grow and all that kind of yapping.

So, we decided to go camp into a spot we already knew to be good. We arrived under starlight. Standing there, in the darkness, being able to see only the silhouettes of trees drawn against the starry sky, be there with your Waffle. Those moments are the things you live for.

A side note to rookies, please check what kind of a tree you are pitching your tent under. If it is autumn, and if the tree in question is an oak. You won’t sleep too peacefully.

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Waking up, and taking off slowly the next morning. We drove to the small city of Rochefort. Famous for beer and cheese made by monks. From there we bought a walking map of the surroundings, and received also a list of areas closed for hunting. That is nice. That way you won’t get shot. Before heading for the bush, we did a small tour around the town. Bought a baquette and some local honey. Yummy!

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Hiking at this time of the year in the Luxembourg province usually means meeting a lot of mushroom hunters. All of whom trying to hide a little, so you won’t attack the same shroomy hot spot. Those forest are filled with deer and boar, too. Almost every inch of the forest bed is dug up by the strong trunks of boar. Searching for the tastiest mushrooms. It is the meat pantry on Belgium. Almost in every yard, there is a small 4×4 parked and ready to go for hunting.

I am in love with that part of the country. There are endless amounts of forests, valleys and rivers. the villages are so small and drowsy.

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The stare of a cat.

Every other street could pose for a post card. Those people out there must be so happy! They live in a paradise. I am sure, in the spring they all run hand in hand across the fields and sing happy songs. Sunshine touching their hair and butterflies sitting on their shoulders. Stopping only when the winter comes. Then they’ll get into their warm homes, sit behind lace curtains, sipping tea and eating speculoos.

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Pumpkins on a windowsill

I think I am delusional. But I want to move down there! At least to have a hill in sight would make me happy. Maybe we’ll live there, one day. In couple of months. Waffle seems to be quite happy about that plan too!

Over and out for now. Off for home hunting. Or something. hear you next time!

Germany in September – Nothing else needed

Grass dew green

We had been thinking how Germany has been forgotten in our travel destinations for a while. We have been a lot to France and quite some times to Luxembourg as well, but Germany we had skipped for the whole summer.

This error has now been fixed. Photographic evidence of the occurrence can be found here.

We have a national park called the Eifel  right at our border, so that was our heading. Since we had been promised good weather, we were looking forward to sleeping outside and hiking a couple of descent circles. The first challenge we usually meet in Germany, is that camping in the wild is rather prohibited. So instead of camping in the actual, well guarded, national park, we searched a forest close by, pitched our tent in the darkness of the night (into a mud pool) and slept like babies for the coming 12 hours. I always sleep so much better in a tent.

A hotel, where ever you need it to be. A.k.a tent.

In the morning we needed to hurry. I had not been so smart while selecting the walk for the day and we were looking at a good 20 km of forestry walking. So breakfast down the throat and off we went.

There is something really pleasant in the light of an autumn morning. It hugs the things it touches in a special way. Also the nature, when the autumn comes, is full of preparation for winter.

Mushrooms pushing up and apples hanging from the trees, all the plants storing as much sugar into their roots as possible, the atmosphere in the forest is very, hm, busy, in a way.

Stubs of trees killed by flooding. Giving a home to new life.

I was rather happy that we were in just a forest, rather than in the Eifel park. We could enjoy a lot more solitude there on our lake circling trails. The forest was apparently so calm that even beavers had taken it as their home. The walk of the day brought us by three streams that all had beaver colonies alongside them.

Those animals, quite some builders they are! And ambitious too, judging by the size of trees they aim to cut down!

The beauty of beavers work.

We decided to move camp for the next night, just to lessen the change of getting caught. We happened upon a seemingly unused BBQ/playground area, with nice and soft grass and some bushes behind which we could easily hide our tent.

There is happiness in the other end of these legs.

That was the best campsite we have had for a long time. Largely thanks to the amazing sunrise we had the next morning.

Who would not love this.

The early hours kept treating us with wonderful views.

The mist kept lingering in the valleys, refusing to give way to the sun. Lining grass and spider webs with tiny shining pearls.

I think we all have that one kind of a landscape in which you can just breathe out and all the worries and stress and everyday life is vanished. That landscape to me, is there. In the midst of misty fields, softly rising to hills and again rolling down to make a valley. With sun trying to push away the morning chill, piercing holes into the covering clouds. Where could life be better?

It was in any case time for our walk of the day, our sore muscles were not too happy to hear that. A bit more gentle 15 km circle this time, following the shores of the lake called Rursee.

Rursee. Imagine some slager to the background.

We were treated with nice scenery of forests that already had a hint of soon blooming autumn colors, a lot of tasty wild apples and some slager music. Ah, so German.

We decided to leave the gentle notes of slager behind us and head for the hills. They offered us some more views over valleys and to an old German war base of Vogelsang.  Also we found some more apples. Seriously, those things are everywhere.

Apples not shown in the picture. Stop searching for them.

From the field on top of the hill we were walking up, and down, we found some very pleasant stones, that quickly transformed into a huge heard of sheep.

Stones that are sheep.

All of a sudden we just were surrounded by sheep, maybe 500 of them. All going to a destination unknown to us.

Definitely not stones.

There was this one very curious lady who really tried to figure out what and who we were, sitting on top of her field.

Who are you?

She took a good look from different sides and sniffed.

Michel Angelo, anyone?

Checked whether the camera was dangerous or not. Behind her was her little lamb probably thinking that his mother is a fool, acting like that. Which was very strongly also the opinion of one other sheep, who was demandingly stomping her hoof to the ground behind her. Clearly saying that getting close to a strange human cannot be a good idea!

The sheep went and left us dazed and very much amused. We followed the example and started heading to the village where we started from, crossing green fields with the sun in our backs, a September Sunday cannot get much better than that.

We walked through the village, got a few new friends of a horse duo, that was very eagerly bribed with apples.

An apple buys you a friendship. Or two.

The day was topped off with some genuine German cheese cake and beer before driving back home.

And now we are living the Monday again. I think we have a bit too good weekends. The drop back to the everyday is always so huge…