It is not easy starting to write the second installment as – although the events I wanted to write about happened just a week ago – some and possibly most of it feels already completely obsolete, with the whole world around us changing so dramatically.
I feel a bit like the producers of “The Archers” – a farming radio soap which is now running for over 50 years and which is a national institution in the UK. The authors have always tried to keep the material as contemporary as possible, including next day responses to election results and outcomes of great sporting competitions in the script, but this time they were completely blindsided by the COVID 19 pandemic and its impact. In the programme – every weekday plus Sunday evenings for 13 minutes – the characters are at the moment completely oblivious to the recent developments and restrictions. They are carrying on meeting at their local pub and visiting each other at home and it all feels like a faint memory of a way of life a long time ago…..
The visit to Bavaria I wanted to write about and the things I noticed there wouldn’t get the right recognition at the moment and yet they were just too good not to be mentioned, so that I will talk another time about them, bearing in mind that some of them have already stood the test of time for several hundred years and for more than a couple of world wars…..
The reason why we went to Germany was – in the first place – because Silke thinks that following Brexit, this would be a better base for us, but after a quarter of a century in the UK and also after the last few months in Sweden, I still need to be convinced……
The other reason was, that it was Silke’s birthday and it turned out to be the best present, treating her to a long weekend (with excellent weather) in this beautiful part of the world.
Applying “social distancing” (this truly will be the “it” word for 2020….) whenever possible, we enjoyed the alpine scenery and the alfresco hospitality, but witnessed at first hand how the whole community and their institutions around us went into complete melt down within a matter of days.
More and more shops and businesses were closing, access to neighboring Austria was no longer allowed, our flights were frequently cancelled and moved to different times and our hotel first had to reduce and then had to shut its restaurant and following our stay, there were no further hotel bookings taken. Speaking to both the hotel owner and to several members of staff, who were faced with total uncertainty regarding their future jobs, it gave us a stark impressions of the things to come….
Despite all the doom and gloom, we still managed to finish our trip on a real “high” when it turned out that the purser on our flight back to the UK was one of our British friends. Jayne Raby – like me – loves to run and travels the world with her running shoes always in her suitcase. She – not very successfully – tried to introduce me to “Tough Mudder” events and loves the odd pint of Guinness (which she easily runs off again….). Things are very different though when she is at work – she immediately remembered that it was Silke’s birthday and both she and the whole crew made it an absolutely unforgettable return trip for us.
A final joint photo in the cockpit (thankfully not during the flight…..) rounded this little excursion off nicely…..
When passing through customs at Heathrow, I very much appreciated the following statement :
but I was wondering when a similar journey might be possible again…..