Itchy! And hot!

Not a good night, I would say. Too hot! And too itchy! We opened the windows at some point, desperate to the point that we’re willing to risk the extra bug bite and that seems to help a bit. Not many bugs either, I suppose the swallows and bats take care of those. A wet towel also helps and the second half of the night was a bit better. We have breakfast outside in the castle courtyard, here the buffet is behind a counter and a friendly waitress assembles the plate for me after asking what I would like to eat. Not very efficient, but very hygienic.

We take our time eating, no obligations today. We have a bit of trouble deciding what to do, Munster is close by, there’s a zoo and an open air museum, but it seems a bit too hot to bother. We decide to start with a little walking tour around the old town, have lunch there and then visit the botanical gardens. After that we’ll see what we feel like and decide on the spot. So we still have to put on sun screen and extra light clothes.

about 90% of the old town was bombed to rubble by the British during WW2, the new houses are modern, but built in the shape of the old ones.

We take our bikes out of the locked garage, load the one light bag with wallets, hats and sun glasses and bike the 4 km to town. We leave them locked close by the castle and set out on foot, following streets left or right a bit at random, relying on our memory. I have a strawberry milkshake on the charming Prinzipalmarkt (sounds cool but it basically means the main market place) and we stop for lunch a bit later. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to this ‘New Normal’, putting on a mouth mask when you walk around inside a restaurant, disinfecting your hands, .. I visit an apothecary to show the really, really itchy red spots and she confirms these are from the oak processionary caterpillar. They nest in trees but their fine hairs float around. We probably picked those up from a bench, as most of the red marks are around the backs of our knees or the underside of our arms. The cortisone salve I already have should also help and I get antihistamine pills for the nights.

A lot of people in the parks near the Aasee

We walk on the shore of the Aasee (the lake of the Aa river) back to the castle to find the botanical garden. It’s pretty big and packed full with interesting plants. They have a hothouse full of giant cacti and I see a meter tall and wide specimen of a plant I have at home, I wonder how long it takes to grow that big and if I’ll need to repot it soon.. A bit further there are two leaves on display of the Victoria plant, which grows huge circular floating leaves that can carry the weight of an adult. We see them floating inside (unfortunately all the hothouses are closed due to corona restrictions) and they are displaying two leaves upside down so you can see the structure that makes this possible. There’s also a beautiful rock garden and many other biotopes, but we can’t linger too long because it’s really just too hot. I make my large billed cap wet and that helps a little, been doing that yesterday as well.

Back at the hotel we take a cold shower and we get installed outside. I write my blog posts (yesterday’s as well, I backdated it..), have a glass of rhubarb lemonade while enjoying the blackbird’s sonatas. As long as I sit still, in the shade and in the wind, it’s not too bad. Tomorrow will be hotter..

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