After having been in Düsseldorf for a week, I took a weekend to go back to Hamburg (where I started this entire summer) to visit some of my favorite Germans. I got in Friday night, we got some döner for dinner, and then went home to greet everyone who'd be coming home late from their various Friday activities.
Saturday morning we were up early, and in the car on our way to the Lüneburger Heide, or the heather fields in Lüneburg. We'd decided on a carriage ride, and to secure said carriage, all we had to do was drive down a road in Lüneburg, spot a man with horses, and ask him if we could employ him for an hour or two.
He said yes, and ended up being great in terms of telling us about the area, the history and just life stories. I also think he thought I couldn't understand German, so it was hysterical to watch him slow down and explain things to Maike and Ralf so they could turn to me and translate.
A few pictures from our trip:
The day was overcast, so we started the ride with the cover on the carriage. When the sun came out, we took it off, but then had to go back and forth between pulling the blanket over us and taking it off, depending on the clouds and the sun and the wind.
Not everyone was prepared for this selfie, except for the front row.
Someone lives here. Like this is what they see every day.
I have about 8% left in my honey jar that I got here, and I'm so sad for it to be gone. It was dark honey, which they kept explaining to me and I wasn't sure really what it meant, as I've basically only had honey out of a plastic bear-shaped bottle my entire life.
It was the best honey ever, and I'm so glad I waited to open it until I was back home. It was a little taste of honey every morning for breakfast, and it'll definitely be something I bring back next time I'm in Germany. ;)
Again: people live here! This is their actual life. I'm pretty sure I drew something like this in about second grade, but like white picket fences, I wasn't sure that I could imagine ever having that be my life. The only thing missing here is the thatched roof. Germany loves those.
And on Sunday we got up early to go to brunch at the most idyllic place. We sat outside at tables with benches, surrounded by flowers and trees and to one side of the restaurant, a lake. Kids played on the field next to the lake and came back with bird feathers they'd collected there. (I'll admit, I was a little shocked and slightly urged to tell them all to put them down and go wash their hands three times, but I'm sure German birds are much cleaner than American birds, if general European health guidelines are any indication.)
It was like 78 degrees (Fahrenheit) and they were complaining about the heat. It was easy to forget the whole relativity thing, but let me tell you, getting back and walking out of the airport in Phoenix in August was one thing. (That thing was basically an oven and I was shocked.) That morning was not hot.
We spent Sunday afternoon at home, and because I had a late drive back, I got to stay for an early dinner. I sat on an outdoor couch and read and looked up to see this. That's how Sundays should be spent.
And then we made a cake. I wish I had an "after" photo, but it was fun to be able to make a very German cake (baked the crust, then piled strawberries and then poured gelatin over it to secure all the strawberries). And of course, there was creme involved. We had it for dessert after dinner, and then I was on my way back to Düsseldorf for my next adventures.