The tiredness culminated in canceling my initial travel plan. A trip that I would have laughed at years ago, felt like crossing the Himalayas now. So, initial plans were not only postponed, but put away with the garbage altogether. A new plan was drawn up, that, to be honest, could hardly be called a plan. But I loved it.
To avoid driving for too many hours on that frenzy called German Autobahn, the trip was divided into three stages. Must be sign of getting older, I'm sure. Years ago, I did not mind the hectic pace on the Autobahn. But pace implies progress, and in recent years Autobahn progress has become a contradictio in terminis. Anyway, a pleasant two and half hour drive brought us to Bad Bentheim, that lovely small town just across the border. Staying in the comfortable Kurhaus Hotel, and no real plans here, as 37 degrees Celsius weather did not invite to do anything that required any effort. Getting rid of that compulsory feeling that you do need to set goals in your vacation, that you just have to visit certain places, was a liberating feeling. So, wandering around a town without a destination, relaxing in a new sauna wellness center and outside dining did for me what I needed. And visiting a few sights in the area ad random just because I felt to go there. This blueprint repeated itself a few times – short drives of two or three hours at the most, leaving the Autobahn and travelling over rolling back roads through lovely scenery. And then nice hotels waiting, al fresco dining, forest walks and fabulous spas like Bali Thermen in Bad Oeynhausen, and the wonderful Kristal Thermen in Altenau, Harz – wonderful, because you can find relief for arthritic problems there. Didn't I mention I'm getting older?
So, why do so many people have the conviction that their vacations should be packed with preplanned trips and excursions dictated by a pile of travel guides and websites that they felt had to be consulted?
Relaxing. No one looking over my shoulder. No plans. No travel guides. That sums up my German days this summer. Just enjoying the moment and clearing out your mind. That's what I needed. It's the feeling I get when I hear that great classic song Moon River. It creates a comforting state of mind. Nothing rushing you. That's what a vacation should do to you. Take my advice. Embrace nothing for a change.
The title of this blog was inspired by a line in the song 'Yellow Beach Umbrella', a track from the Bette Midler album 'Broken Blossom'.