I started a spectacular day with a walk along the river outside this pretty little town. The forested hills leveled off to valley floor just across the road. On my side the tallest grasses were head-high. I heard a cuckoo and looked around for a house that must have a very loud clock. I saw neither building nor beak, but I’m betting it was a sneaky bird.
Our tour took us to an old paper mill which a young couple operates as a museum. His family ran the mill for several generations. She was Scandinavian, and they met at some kind of gathering of museum professionals. He apparently tried but couldn’t forget her so reconnected by writing a letter on his best handmade paper. She took us through the process, including impressing a watermark.
While traditional papermaking was vaguely interesting, I got much more out of the old farmstead. In rural areas, Germans plant grapevines and fruit trees in every available space. The cherries we walked under were just reddening into ripeness. Goat kids frolicked in a pasture. A small stream splashed along under the mill’s old water well.
Lunch was a barbecue at the Deppisch Winery where a couple in traditional garb, playing guitar and accordion greeted us with polkas. They serenaded us through lunch, playing all the songs I’d thought of while walking that morning Edelweiss, Beer Barrel Polka, The Happy Wanderer. Then they got serious–never thought I’d hear Highway to Hell on an accordion. I was desperate to dance a polka, but Steve was having shoulder trouble. When our guide started a Congo line I almost knocked three people over in my rush to get there. The Chicken Dance was up next, and on the chorus we linked elbows to swing up and down the line. I’m still smiling.
That evening a glassblower came on board and gave a demo. He made the most creative bottles. A tube for vinegar looped around inside the bottle of oil. He also talked about how much stronger and more heat-resistant crystal is than glass. Some meditators use pyramids made from crystal rods as resonant healing gongs. I need to find a doctor who gets the job done with a crystal pyramid instead of pills.