Unpacked and Settled in Bad Windsheim
Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
71Trip End Dec 16, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
But I was already in Ansbach and the consultant I was replacing was a delightful, bright, enthusiastic woman from Oregon who provided me with 72 hours of adjustment to loss and grief counseling as she walked my jet lagged, sleep deprived body around the base and over the endless back streets and hiking trails of Bad Windsheim. We shared stories and laughter while she assured me that after 6 isolated weeks I would be talking to the bathroom fixtures
So here I am, one week later settled in an historic Franconian building owned and run by the same family for 250 years in a town that has been here over 800 years. I just turned off the one English speaking channel on my television, how many times can you hear that the economy is tanking it around the world? I'm listening to Anita Baker and forcing my fingers to work their connecting magic to the people at home who make up my life.
Aside from being alone and terribly isolated, the town is amazing. My daily drive takes me through endless farmland that spreads over the landscape in sections of varying shades of green dotted with soaring or sitting hawks. When the wind blows the right way the smell of manure is unmistakable. I return home each night to a village lined with stone streets and filled with churches that sport noisy church bells that sound at varying times throughout the day. A town filled with relics, beer halls, and people - people who are strolling and visiting and sweeping their sidewalks and petting their cats and dogs. I look out my window through a stork shaped sign onto a town square at a statue that decorates a fountain. Beneath me is the hotel restaurant filled with people who meet to talk about their day and drink fine German beer. For breakfast I drink strong coffee and eat boiled eggs covered with little quilted cozies. The smell of roasting pork, sauerbraten, sauerkraut, fried potatoes, and gravies drift up into the balcony outside my door in the evenings.
I carry a room key that could replace weight training equipment in any gym
Each day I head to the small base of Illisheim where the soldiers have recently returned from Iraq and now they and their families are reintegrating. I've been called daily to be a witness to their crises as they work at rebuilding their lives, in relationships between couples that are struggling to find each other again or who are ready to call an end to a relationship that no longer exists. The work, as usual, is emotional and satisfying. I've also reconnected to Doc and hope to help him celebrate his birthday in a couple of weeks and befriended Ken who runs the flight simulation school where he trains helicopter pilots from all over the world.
Each night I return to Bad Windsheim weaving my way through the narrow streets and following the one way passage that winds through the village leading me back to my German home. Parking is worse than New York City and I have to remember daily which small alley or side street I have managed to find a legal place to squeeze my black 007 Autobahn ready muscle car into. Not only do I have to remember where I parked in order to get to work the next day but so I can run out after 8:30 to buy a ticket to lodge in the driver's window in order to escape a parking a ticket
I have grown to love the traffic circles. I can circle forever until I get my bearings or make up my mind exactly where I want to go. It really is so civilized. Although farmland, 9 out of 10 drivers here seem to feel they missed a successful career as a race car driver in the Indy 500. Germany brings back seat driving to a new level. The car behind you seems as if it has been attached magnetically to your rear bumper. Just about the time you begin to see if you can actually count the number of nose hairs sticking out of their nostrils you realize that the headlights you are staring into belong to an oncoming car who is passing in your lane. So many accidents. Everyone is in such a hurry and the surrounding area is low so that the moist fog loves to settle in the crevices. Black ice is the term they use when the temperature begin to drop to O and it becomes deadly when your tires pass over some and the car begins to slide from your control.
So I'm back to black and beige and lots of layers. I'm getting up at 6 AM. I'm trying to translate unfamiliar words, money, road signs, distances, speedometers, and phone prefixes. I'm walking among strangers and their dogs who bound and bark excitedly along the endless trails that traverse all of this groomed farmland. On Sundays I walk beside and behind couples of all ages who hold hands or entwine their arms as they stroll and talk in hushed tones. Sometimes my gaze catches the eye of one the old women who is out walking her dog. If it turns out she speaks a little English and we are able to strike up a conversation we begin to synchronize our steps and so continue on the day's walk together.
I'm missing all of you and trying to decide what I'm going to do for Thanksgiving. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving in the states for a lot of years but this will be my first in Germany. Flying to Paris continues to sound inviting but I might have to find a place for a day trip if I have to work on Friday. When I think about it, years ago I managed to get to Morocco for 4 days to celebrate Thanksgiving so I guess anything is possible.