The BlueForest (Blueberries in the BlackForest) or When nothing goes right, go left.

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This fellows shirt said it for me!(apologies I don’t remember your name….if ever you see this post, email me!) 

It’s taken me a while to pull this story together because some days are painful and ugly and Who wants to hear about that right?.  Even when I awoke that day  determined to be optimistic and cruisy, my effort does not stand up to the challenges of the day. A story about needing to go left. When the small things in life are not going right! And trying to maintain humour and gentleness amidst trials. The blessing is that all things pass and I’ve learnt to just hang in there, do what I can, drop what I can and tomorrow is new.

Many days ago now, We left Switzerland on another stinking hot day. Paused in Basel to busk (unsuccessfully), parking was very hard to find but we ended up near the river so kids and I could swim, by stalking a shady parking spot . The water was gratefully crisp enough! I heard later that even 15 years ago the Rhine was too polluted to swim, now it’s very popular with people dipping and floating along.

We where right by the historic bridge which is beautiful and in the distance could spot the spires of the cathedral and old city. It was strange to be looking at buildings with barely a gap between, facing the rivers edge. I guess the parks are elsewhere. I really wanted to go to the old Paper Mill museum but it was just too hot to walk around. I felt thwarted in my educational efforts and bizarre to come all this way and not be able to do more than keep sane and do nothing really. Have I mentioned yet my family calls me a grumpy polar bear when it’s hot? Hot hot. Im not averse to a bit of whinging about the heat… Really it’s such middle class western  luxury to have the options we do and I’m very grateful.

We pulled into Freiburg late that evening after a disappointing detour past Bad Bellingen (should’ve realised by the name!) bad means bath in German.  I was hoping for some natural place to bathe but it’s a turquoise pool set up. There’s a lot more happening in the Australian Bellingen! Lovely in winter I guess. 

Anyway, disorganised, tired and hot, past dinner time, we got busted for jumping on the tram without tickets! We didn’t want to miss it and wait longer to get to some dinner! They showed us how to function the in tram ticket machine and let us off thankfully! Ignorant travellers I guess. I get anxious in the face of authority and doing something wrong!

A treat to eat out in the old city. Mexican in Germany? Freiburg has a very pretty inner city and good vibes in the evening, lots of people about and delicious foodie smells.

Back to our hot van late to get some rest. Camping in a hot tin can is so difficult!Especially with tired hot kids in the city which does not cool down til dawn. Jesse saved the day by putting their bed outside under a tree and sleeping with them. We found a mobile home campground for 9euro a night near Bissier strasse park and ride. Cheap but noisy from the railway. Thank goodness for earplugs.  The next night was more pleasant at the Hirzberg Campground. It’s 1.2km from the enchanting old City centre. Also green and shady. It can be really tricky coming to a place you don’t know and looking for a place to stay. I ignored my intuition about going straight to the campground the first night unfortunately. 

The next day we met with friends who guided us to nearby lakes and the day was easier. There are a lot of man made lakes along the autobahns, dug out to make the road beds. Another late hot night in the city. Jesse Was busking and we walked in to meet him for dinner. Some moments I am thinking wow this is crazy! Cosmopolitan culture in Europe, dinner at 9 pm and some crazy gigantic ice cream and berry dessert! strolling old cities (600+ year old buildings) balmy summer nights, wonderful and romantic and different if only my inner mama voice could be quiet! My kids where in bed at a wholesome 7.30pm before we left Australia!  This life has such diverse moments. It’s challenging and reallY good also to let the restrictions drop a bit. ItS so temporary. Soon we will be back in home rhythms. I have little resilience for lack of sleep unfortunately. Blessings come though in the form of kind hearted folks and hilarious storytellers in the dark city streets.

From Freiburg we are invited to go berry picking and then swimming in a forest lake higher in the Black Forest mountains. 
Yes please. My days in the city where hot and bothered and I was stretched to breaking. But I hung in there! Not too many tears! Me, not the kids…. But As lily says, ‘it’s not really a holiday because we are doing everyday life. And why can’t we do more holidayish things anyway?’ Memory making.

 My spirit was so renewed by this afternoon tramping the woods and having the warmth of friends. Being outside is my greatest gift at present. Soaking in the different greens of the broad leafed woods and the unfamiliar bird calls and wind whispers and rock songs. It’s fresh and new still and the foreignness leaves me a little thrilled. I really am far far from home. If you have read Ronja by Astrid Lindgren you would see the grey dwarf holes in this wood and Ronja running about and giving her spring yell. 

this handy little rake catches the  blueberries for you, but be careful you don’t strip the leaves off also.    I loved this moment! The papas with their matching picnic baskets! Beautiful masculinity in motion    Cedar said he could stay here forever, well, until it snowed…   There where few berries left and small this season, despite that, the reward of gathering something deliciously tart and sweet from the woods filled me with happiness. It’s so simple.   Tiny finger staining treasures. A worthy hunt! I hear the wild blueberries in the US are enormous! I would like to experience picking there one day…
The lake water is stained amber by leaves and tannins I guess.  The trees surrounding shade the water green. Be brave it’s very cold below the surface! The skin feels soft and wonderful after swimming here.     I was excited to see this small orchid growing in the ditch as we left the forest. Another tiny wonder. 

And thanks goodness we where off to visit dear friends after this. The last challenge of travelling in the unknown was done and from here on we are sheltered by good friends until we fly home. Phew. We did it.

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