Do you sometimes wonder how it happens that you do not meet some of your friends for months or even years, in spite of living relatively close by? And with slight regret and maybe even feeling a little guilty, you say to yourself "I really must call so-and-so and get together with them for a drink or a meal", but somehow you never get round to do it, and another year goes by and all you do is call or send a card for their birthday and Christmas.
Understandably, we all have full schedules, what with work, family, hobbies and many other things going on in our lives. But there is an easy way to make sure you will keep seeing those of your friends that matter to you: establish a regular meeting.
A group of my friends have established such a meeting about 15 years or so ago. Every 1st Friday of the month, we meet at a restaurant or, when it coincides with a birthday, at one of our houses. Originally, the group consisted of ten women; most of us used to be colleagues, but friends and siblings of some of the women have made their way into the group, too.
With some moving away, others having small children and others again having lost interest in the group, the original number has not been reached anymore for quite some time now, and these days, more often than not, there's only about five or six of us meeting - but we stick to the appointment, and even if there are just three of us, we meet, hoping that some of the others will be able to make it again next time. Of course, not everybody can be there every time, but the regularity gives us all a chance to see each other several times a year.
Last week Friday was, as you know, the 1st Friday of the month, and so it was time for the regular meeting. We go to a different restaurant every time, and this time, I took the train to travel to the next small town. From the station there, I walked to the restaurant situated on top of a hill in the confines of a castle, and the walk was so nice I took pictures and decided to share them with you.
The start of the ascent, maybe 10 minutes after I have left the train station.
About half way up I turn around and see this; the small town and, on the horizon, my hometown.
The ascent is getting steeper, but I'm almost there, and my only worry is whether I will make it without having to open my brolly or not.
Looks rather forbidding once you arrive on top of those steps, doesn't it?
To get to the restaurant, I have to walk half way around the ditch (which was never filled with water, by the way).
On top of one of the old towers, I spot a pigeon. Zoomed in with my camera, it looks like this:
A little further on...
...coming towards the bridge...
...that crosses the road leading up to the parking area. I am now more or less at the opposite side of the hill from where I got up those steps, having walked half way round the old walls and ditch.
The turret and the tower with the red roof, seen from the other side.
See the bridge leading across the ditch and the red roofed tower above it? There is another red roof just visible behind it, and that's where the restaurant is.
Today as in the past, the castle is used as a prison. In the past, those who entered through that dark passage were quite sure not to come out alive again, or at least not for many many years. Nowadays, it is a prison hospital. Those prisoners who need medical treatment that can not be given in their original prison are transferred here.
Seems an odd choice to have restaurant next to a prison, all in the walls of an old castle, but I guess that hardly anyone who comes to the restaurant thinks of the inmates just a few walls away. It is a very popular venue for family and business gatherings, and you should always book a table there, even if there's just two or three eating together, like we did that evening.
Here is what I had, in German it is called Flammkuchen, and it is NOT pizza:
It was delicious, and I was really glad that the thunderstorm only broke loose after I had arrived there!
By the time we left, it was pitch black dark, and the view from inside the castle through the gate was quite atmospheric:
Well, I hope you enjoyed my evening out with friends - I know I did!