Here in Germany, the 1st weekend in June was a long weekend, with the Monday being a public holiday (Pentecost).
As mentioned three posts back, instead of my usual Friday evening train, I travelled to O.K.'s only on the Saturday. Trains and train stations were EXTREMELY crowded, not just because of it being the start of a two-week school holiday (Pfingstferien in German, "Pentecost holiday"), but also because the government here has introduced a monthly ticket for all local and regional public transport at the price of 9 €, to induce people to use more public transport.
It certainly works, but my guess is that after this special offer spanning three months ends, most of those who used their own cars before will go back to them - last but not least because there has been so much chaos with overcrowded, late and cancelled trains due to the masses of people flooding the trains and stations with their 9-euro-tickets.
This was a political decision and not really coordinated with the railway companies, who have been totally overwhelmed by it all. Things were bad before (you know how often I have mentioned cancelled or late trains on my blog) but are even worse now.
Anyway, back to topic: I just about made it to O.K.'s in time for us to attend a garden party, a friend's birthday we'd been invited to. The party was nice, the food so-so, and at some stage a quick shower saw us all gathering under the marquee - along with about a million mozzies! We escaped relatively unscathed, though; mosquito bites are an inevitable part of summer here anyway, and no big deal. Still, I hate them with a passion!
A thunderstorm came through properly during the night, with the rain being more than welcome and necessary.
Sunday, the 5th, was a mix of sun and showery clouds. We had enough time for a quick walk around the village before setting off in the late afternoon.
Again, we were meeting friends, this time driving for about 20 minutes in the opposite direction. It was a bring-in BBQ, and there was plenty of food on the large table for the ten of us.
On Monday, June 6, was quite warm and sunny with few clouds, and we started by having our first mug of coffee on the balcony - always an event worth mentioning, as it marks the "true" beginning of summer for me.
The woods are the best place to be when it gets so warm, and since we had not had a chance for a proper long walk all weekend, we were glad about the extra day off.
Starting directly from the front door and leaving the car comfortably in its cool garage, we walked on familiar paths, covering places with names such as Nächstenbach ("next beck"), Sägereck ("sawyer's corner") and Handwerker-Hütte ("craftsmen's hut"). We took in Diersburg on the way back, one of the neighbouring villages to O.K.'s, and were home about 16.5 km later.
|On the way to Nächstenbach, where a small fête was going on; a nice occasion for a shandy and a chat with a fellow member of the village band and his family we bumped into there.|
|Diersburg - a familiar view for you by now.|
|A door to a secret garden?|
|This old building is part of an estate owned by a local count and his family. They run a winery and have tables and chairs in the courtyard, but so far we've never really visited this picturesque place.|
My trip back to Ludwigsburg on Tuesday morning included a delay of about 1/2 hour, because there was an unannounced change of tracks at my connection in Karlsruhe - by the time I (and all the other passengers waiting on the platform) realised this, the train I had meant to catch was long gone.
Not to worry, though, as I was still home in time for my first call that morning. After work, I went to visit my Dad in hospital (after yet another test, of course) and then accompanied my Mum home on the bus, where we had a glass or two of well chilled rose secco - a drink only the two of us really enjoy; the rest of the family can't be bothered with anything tasting of roses.
That was my last hospital visit - hopefully for a long time! -, because my Dad was home on Thursday, the 9th.