We are really ready to leave Strasbourg. Up and at ‘em and out of the hotel at 9am, we walk to the train station where our car awaits. We’re on our way to Braunschweig to visit our friends Frank and Suzanne and their boys, but today is Friday and they’re busy until after lunch tomorrow. After the stress of the city, we need some serious nature. I have found us a place in the Hartz Mountains, about an hour south of Braunschweig. The GPS says it takes us 4 ½ hours to get there. Off we go.
The GPS is accurate as long as we follow her directions (it’s Jill, the American voice) and maintain the speed limit. She’s been pretty reliable so far. Although she’s a little shaky in the cities, she excels in finding us the most scenic (and, I like to believe fastest, although George will disagree) way to get from one place to another. For example, we had a little trouble (that is, me reading the GPS and interpreting it for George while he’s watching traffic) getting on the Autoroute and ended up in a hospital parking lot. Lost 5 minutes there, but got back on track quickly.
There is a fair amount of construction going on and traffic slows to a crawl. No worries! I just hit “Detour” and we’re off this Autobahn (Germany, now) and onto another one, but lost 10 minutes. Around lunchtime, more traffic. I restrict the GPS to avoid highways and we’re off the Autobahn and into fields of grain and flowers. We find a cute little town with a bakery and have a sandwich and pastry for lunch. Nobody speaks English here, but it’s easy to communicate.
Finally we arrive at our destination, Hahnenklee. Not even our German friends have heard of this place. It’s a little town in the mountains (not Alps, more like Appalachians) with a tiny cable car (just like the ones at Busch Gardens or Disneyland!!) that seats four and goes to the top of their mountain. In the winter, there are easy ski runs, but when there’s no snow, the mountain bikers take over.
I reserved what I thought was a room in a bed and breakfast, but it turns out we have a 2 bedroom apartment, complete with living room and kitchen. We have a patio with a meticulously landscaped yard and can see the top of the mountain above. We’re just on the edge of this sweet little town so it’s as quiet as can be. And, there’s homemade cheesecake right inside the front door with a sign that says help yourself, just don’t eat it all. It’s the best cheesecake ever.
For dinner, George has schnitzel and I have spargel (the huge white asparagus in season here). Back to the quiet of our apartment, we sleep well. Thank you, GPS, for getting us here safely.