Alright, I’ll admit that the picture above was NOT taken in Germany-at least not the real Germany. Of course, If you are familiar with the flora and fauna native to Germany then you probably already knew that. Now, if you feel that I led you astray, please accept my apologies. Maybe I can make it up to you later. So, with that said, I hope that you will indulge me a little bit and join me here as I tell you about my imaginary Germany.
Now, you might be wondering why I created an imaginary Germany. Well, in order to answer that question, I’ll need to offer a bit of background. By the way, now is a great time to go get a beverage to enjoy while I regale you with this nostalgic tale. Anyway, when I was a little girl, my dad used to tell me all about these magnificent German castles that he saw as a young military police officer in the United States Air Force. If memory serves, dad mentioned being stationed at Sembach Air Base which was located near Kaiserslautern, Germany. By the way, he also mentioned a place called Grunstadt. Now I can’t tell you a thing about how these places are related, all I know is that Kaiserslautern and Grunstadt are both located somewhere in Germany. At any rate, Dad’s castle stories were the perfect foundation for my imaginary Germany.
Interestingly, Dad wasn’t my only source for tales about Germany. As fate would have it, when I was about 4 years old, we moved next door to a lady who was from Pirmasens. Where, pray tell, is Pirmasens? You guessed it! Germany! Needless to say, as I grew older, I worried this poor lady to death with all kinds of questions about Deutschland. One of my biggest thrills was listening to her speak German with friends and family. Even though I couldn’t understand a word they said, I had fun pretending that I could.
As the years progressed, this neighbor, as well as her son, became like a second family for me. Whenever I visited them, I would admire the beautiful steins that she kept in a huge mahogany cabinet near a big brown cuckoo clock. I remember being so curious about the German artisans who crafted each item. Though I didn’t know anything about them, it was pretty clear to me that there was some manner of sorcery involved in the creation of that cuckoo clock. Why you ask? Because it accurately predicted the weather! You heard me! That clock predicted the weather! My neighbor told me that if the little man popped out of the clock it would be sunny and if the lady came out we could expect rain. Believe it or not, the clock was never wrong! Now if that’s not magic, I just don’t know what is!
By the time I was a teenager, my neighbor would ‘hire me’ to water her garden and care for her dogs whenever she went back to Pirmasens. To say that she had a green thumb was an understatement. Every spring and summer her garden was filled with a wonderful array of vibrantly colored flowers. Needless to say, when she was away, I did my best to keep everything just as she had left it. Who cares that she paid me with German chocolate bars! I didn’t mind! I enjoyed the work. By the way, have you ever tasted genuine German chocolate candy bars? So good!
Suffice it to say, after years and years of secondhand exposure to Germany, my imaginary Germany grew to be quite robust!
Right now, I can only dream about going to the real Germany. But, while I wait for this dream to become a reality, I go to imaginary Germany to take alpine hikes and dream of castles, steins, psychic cuckoo clocks, gardens and chocolate bars.
Could somebody please ask Rick Steves if he needs a co-host for his next tour in Germany.
Where in the world do you want to go?