A few days rest makes a huge difference. We go exploring the "neighbourhood": walk into the nearest village (4 houses, all farm related and a church) then back along a designated trail system.
The following day we walk about 6 k further on the trail through beech, oak and ash forest. Then along a watercourse which at one time likely powered many different mills. The house we're staying in was once one of those mills, restored and renovated into an attractive, comfortable home for Eckhard and Hedda. He does this for a living all over Germany and maybe beyond:-). On the corner of the property his next project, three buildings sadly neglected (is there any other kind of neglect?). We have a tour with the former owner, a woodworker with a sense of humour or irony perhaps? Hard to tell from limited translations.
One room has been used by a local garage band, a large cardboard box is full to overflowing with bottle tops from beer consumed…
Eckhard and I go shopping, the beer stores here make the ones at home look pathetic! Choice and price. I restrain myself from purchasing the most amazing bottles, thinking "I'm returning before I head home"… or am I?
It's Fall Equinox, folks come over, we have a fire, eat, drink and celebrate late into the night.
Off to Dresden in the morning with Hedda, she has a meeting and drops us in front of the Railway office. Tickets to Spain arranged, we wander around, find and buy a phone, check out a massive outfitting store, manhole covers and look for a German phrase book. Then the market, some authentic cuisine and Lebkuchen! Yum, two versions of the real thing.
We walk all over, into massive churches/cathedrals, and malls, museums, promenades, artistic alley ways with major installations on the walls. Over bridges, sitting at cafes, in crowds of tourists. So many old buildings, restoration and reference to the bombing in 1945.
Later we meet Hedda and enjoy dinner next to the big cathedral in a large square, with many people milling about. I fall asleep on the drive home.
Off to Leipzig the next day. Elke and Hedda are listening to a German audio book about a psychiatrist and his patients, I study my phrase book. Another drop off at the old town inside the ring road. Churches, coffee shops from the 1600's, mosaics, and the train station.
Elaborate fountains and then lunch down in a restored/renovated area by the students of the university.
Later Hedda joins us, we have a drink an revisit the market where she insists on buying most of our lunch for the train the next day.
Our last night in Crimmitschau and a nice farewell dinner together, lots of cheeses, a variety of meats and bread, the Mead I bought for Eckhard, wine and beer.
I'm up late doing email, blogging and uploading photos. Then a packing frenzy.
Our train leaves at 11, a group photo and we're off…. whoops left our lunch in the fridge…