On a work trip recently I found myself driving through stunning countryside. I had to pull in and take some photos, it was all so beautiful. After ten minutes wandering through fields of sunflowers, gladioli and vines, I felt like I was on holiday. The sun was beating down on me from a pure blue sky and on the horizon the hills were a hazy blue-grey.
As I stood gazing at the beauty, I felt the pressure of work float off into the air. Although I was standing in a field on the roadside in my work clothes, I was as relaxed as if I was sitting at a holiday home with a glass of chilled rose. I almost envied the people I’d just had a meeting with, people who lived in the town I’d just left and who had this vista on their doorstep.
The fields of sunflowers took me back to childhood holidays in France, and to my brother’s wedding in Italy, where fields of sunflowers surrounded the church. Such a cheerful view, a field of sunflowers all facing the sun. Planted in rows, the area almost looked like a maze of sunflowers and vines. I felt the draw of that imaginary maze and wanted, briefly, to get lost in it. To leave the car and my laptop and my meeting notes and head off on an adventure.
Turning to the field of gladioli behind me, I was reminded of patchwork. All those flashes of colour dotted among a sea of green and beneath a pale blue sky. Individually the gladioli are so tall and elegant and I would have picked some except that the heat o the car and my remaining journey would have left them limp and sad-looking. I couldn’t do that to them.
Within those fifteen minutes my mind was refreshed and I swore I’d come back here soon, without work but with The Bavarian and the children. Not wanting to lose that holiday feeling, I hopped into the car and headed for the nearest cafe, which happened to be at a roadside petrol station. As I sat outside on a bench with my cappucino, answering calls and sending some e-mails for work , I consciously took in the holiday vibe around me. A French pool maintenance jeep was parked in front of me. A Dutch car drove up and the family piled out, presumably stopping for lunch on their way to their holiday. A Italian father walked by with a takeaway coffee, his two sons behind him, ice-creams in hand. As I sat into the hot car again for the 25 minute drive home, I reaslised that even after 14 years here, I still underestimate Germany as a holiday destination.
Would you consider a summer holiday in Germany? Have you ever been? The area I was in and which is photographed here is the Südliche Weinstraße and the area around Neustadt an der Weinstraße, an region in Rheinland-Pfalz famous for its many vineyards and some outstanding Riesling.