Lost in the urban woods

Gorgeous sunny day yesterday, the first time we’ve seen a clear blue sky and bright uninterrupted sunshine for what seems like months. We took Jake for a walk in the northern part of the Englischer Gardens, right at our back door and quieter — more forested and pastoral — than the southern section, which is familiar to tourists.

The number of people out doing the same startled us. There were literally hundreds of people — families, the elderly, joggers, cyclists, and dogs, dogs, dogs — out walking along the trails and paths. Everyone we passed had rosy cheeks from the crispness of the air, and a colourful scarf draped artfully around their necks.

The park is so big, we got lost. We crossed over the Isar river, and started following paths in the woods along the unexplored eastern shore. Our stroll turned into an afternoon marathon, and by the time we found our way back we had missed meeting our friends at the Deutsches museum.

It just never occurred to us to take a compass, or a map, or maybe taxi money for a lift back, for a casual walk in an urban park.

A good weekend. Saturday in the late afternoon I was invited to join my downstairs neighbours for "Tee und Kuchen" (tea and cake). We had a lovely chat, and I was surprised to discover that they are involved in producing books, garden books!! My determination to learn German was renewed as I flipped through the pages of gorgeous photography, wishing that I could read the words.

And communicate.

It’s a friendly apartment complex. Another of my neighbours is an elderly woman with an adorable Skye terrier, and though we can’t converse with each other beyond a smile and a "Gruss Gott", we always stop to fuss over our respective dogs in our respective languages. This morning I passed her arm-in-arm with an elderly blind man whom I often see walking along the path behind our buildings in the mornings. We stopped and greeted dogs as usual, she one-upping me with a cookie for Jake. As we parted I tentatively offered an "auf weidersehen" ("see you later"), which she quickly reciprocated. The gentleman returned it with something a little different, an "auf weiderhören", I think. Hören = to hear. Maybe I better stick to a simple Bavarian "Tchuss" from now on.