I think I’ve probably been a bit down on most of the countries I’ve visited so far on this walk. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve enjoyed nearly every single day, but having done so much travelling in the past, I know when things could be a lot better.
I mean, England is *well* England. I lived there for 25 years. It holds no surprises, except that I got hotel rooms for around 30 quid or less in Manchester, Birmingam *and* Nottingham. Now that’s amazing!
And the bit of France I saw was probably its dullest and flatest, an area given over to arable farming and not much else. Although I did find a lovely organic farm on which to recuperate after my leg went ping.
And then Brussels aside, Belgium was unspectacular. And Netherlands only really offered that delicious bottle of fruit wine.
But Germany? Now we’re talking. The scenery has been fantastic, especially the tree-stuffed, high-sided river valleys. The cities – so far just Aachen and Koblenz – have been well worth a visit. And bargains are on offer if you know where to look. (If you’re out, buy your beer from kebab shops, not bars or restaurants.)
And I can actually communicate with people here too. Yes, obviously I could in England, but being in an English-speaking country doesn’t even really feel like travel. And I could in France as well just so long as the person I talked to was very patient indeed. In Deutsch I can just gabble on, making one grammatic blunder after another but usually getting my message across.
And it was because of this that I’ve just had my first invitation to a German home. After meeting them at a riverside snack bar a couple of days ago, tonight I’m ’round at Gabbi and Robert’s place for, so they said, a meat-heavy BBQ with beer and schnapps to boot. Which sounds great in any language.
So, yes, of course Germany is my favourite country so far!