Holiday! Finally!

It’s a Saturday and we’re still at home, so the bedside alarm is set at 7. Doesn’t matter, we always get up at 7 on vacation days anyway. Today we drive to Braunlage, in the Harz region of Germany. Even though it’s been a busy September, I did find some time to prepare and we’re pretty relaxed. I have a huge lasagna in the fridge, a Notion project with an overview of things to see and my tried and true To Do lists for packing. Today’s Saturday, but I had yesterday off as well, so the laundry is done, the house reasonably tidy and my half of the trunk already filled, in an organized fashion, of course.

Nothing left to do except packing Arne’s clothes plus the usual stuff you need when renting a house. We always take a few sharp knives and decent baking pans, it’s easier to cook on stuff that you’re used to. I had the bright idea to use a few collapsible storage baskets for packing: one for my outdoor gear, one for Arne’s, two for the kitchen stuff. I must say it’s indeed easier to find your stuff afterwards, however definitely more difficult to fit into a car trunk. Lesson learned for next time.

We’re ready to leave around nine, the cat (18 years old!) is sitting up in the couch watching us leave, it just breaks my heart. After a final hug we set off eastward. First a stop in our usual organic grocery store, tomorrow is Sunday so we might not be able to buy provisions for lunch or dinner. We have one lasagna already in the car, but we buy some bread and spreads for lunch, we’re counting on finding a restaurant either for tonight or tomorrow. Around ten am we really take off for the long haul, it’s supposed to be six hour drive, but we do expect to encounter some road construction on the way. The trip is uneventful in the best way possible: great weather, not too much traffic, no unpleasant surprises with navigation or blocked roads. Driving in Germany is both more fun and more frustrating: fun because the road surface is great and there’s often no speed limit, frustrating because of the road construction going on everywhere. However, I understand you cannot have great roads without regular maintenance, so it’s just the price to pay. We make one judgement error, skipping a Raststatte (roadside gas station/restaurant) because it’s a bit too early and then not encountering another one serving food on the next two hours stretch. We finally resort to plan B: we park at a resting area without facilities and have some of our bread/spreads bought this morning. This is also when we realize we forgot to buy bread and choco (chocolate spread) for breakfast. Oh well, we’ll make do, we always have nut bars as plan C.

We arrive in Hohegeiß around four thirty: it’s a small village near the small town of Braunlage and after depositing our many baskets in the appartment, we set out and fail to find breakfast stuff or dinner. We do score a reservation for tomorrow, so tonight it’s the Belgian lasagna, with the Belgian chips and the Chilean (bought in Belgium) wine. I scorn those who mock my compulsive organizing! I write my blog while we heat the lasagna, we’ll decide what to do after dinner. Tomorrow should have great weather, next week we’ll see more rain, but I’m looking forward to hiking around these hills/mountains/forests anyway: the leaves have just started to turn color and the whole landscape is a beautiful green with gold swathes.

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