The landscape around Wittlich is so different than the prairie that normally forms the backdrop of our days. It is poised between the Eifel mountains, old and worn down into rounded seniority, and the Mosel river which has cut rounded serpentines from the rock. Hilly and wooded, the topography is different. The fauna that gives another layer of texture to it all is very different, sometimes unworldly. On runs and on hikes I’ve just marveled.
Wednesday’s hike was fantastic. It’s one we’ve been trying to do for about a month but keep stumbling across rainy days. With our travel schedule it was Wednesday or possibly sometime in 2011. It was a full day’s worth of walking and I was a little worried we’d bitten off more than the kids could cheerfully chew. I needn’t have worried. They walked briskly – almost too fast for me after Sunday’s run – and cheerfully. The hike from Manderscheid to Wittlich, 26km, took us through many different flavours of forest: sometimes ancient and lush, sometimes bright and airy. The kids see Middle Earth in the forest here.
They held our hands, Sandra nearly always. They held each other’s hands. To see my 11 year-old and 8 year-old walking along hand-in-hand was such a moment of truth for this trip. I’d had a sense that this was going to be like a family honeymoon, and I was right. All this time with ourselves, so few responsibilities, so few distractions…No friends to keep Matthias’ extroverted attention riveted elsewhere, no lawn to mow, no activities to chauffeur the kids to, no 9-to-5 job for Rainer. Just us. It’s been incredible.
Today we’ll set off for the Big Adventure part of the trip; if you can believe it, the best is still coming. Vienna and Budapest. Wow. When my in laws asked if we wanted to go on a trip together at the end of our stay I said it was a lot like asking, “Do you want some gems to go with your jewels?”.
No one’s allowed to ask, “Are we there yet?” Because we’re always there. Especially when we’re all here.