I’ve had this story packed away for a while, not because I don’t want to tell it, or because the telling of it somehow diminishes its power. I’ve kept it stored because I simply haven’t found the occasion to type it into the blog. Because you see, the blog is only one notebook I keep where I collect moments and memories, sometimes with pictures, sometimes with links. I also have a sort-of ratty looking, plain, black composition book in which last summer I tackled a journaling program with the help of Katie Dalebout’s Let it Out: a Journey through Journaling. It was a project for me to attempt to journal every day all summer, and to keep it going, and while I’ve had some wide gaps this year, my journaling has been much more consistent, motivating and therapeutic than every before. I’ve been on a bit of a roll and hope to develop stronger skills in my journaling and storytelling.
This story is a gem about something you stumble upon when you want an adventure and you think you are looking for an adventure, but you aren’t; great adventures can’t be planned, they must be stumbled-upon. They are moments that surprise us because, in the middle of them, we suddenly realize we are having one. of. those. moments. And saying it out loud–“Hey! We are having an adventure!”– might take it away. It might somehow dilute the power and energy of the moment itself.
With friends last summer we took a weekend getaway to Assmanshausen in Rüdesheim am Rhein in Germany. Our friends are Alfred & Susanne, both teachers at Mörike Gymnasium in Stuttgart, the exchange school for my husband’s German American Partnership Program. We have become good friends over the years, and of course Alfred and my husband had quite-a-time making jokes about Assmanshausen, let me tell you.
On Saturday, Alfred was intent on doing a little hike and made a plan to hike up to Niederwalddenkmal, then take a gondola ride down into the much more touristy town of Rüdesheim. While the Niederwalddenkmal is incredibly interesting with a powerful backstory, that is not the focus here. It is the adventure.
Rüdesheim & nearby communities are wine-making towns, and the pathway up the hill on the hike weaves through vineyards where periodically one will see a painted wine glass and a number on the brick wall of a raised property.
As we navigated the paved road (yes, it was a hike), we passed an older couple who told us, “Be sure to stop at the wine shed and buy a bottle. There is a little table, and the view is really great.” We had no clue what he meant and couldn’t possibly imagine what we would discover. But we knew it when we saw it…
We opened the shed door and saw small wine glasses, a wine menu, and the sacred locker. Fortunately, our friends had local ID to access the payment system. When we opened the lid, and the cold air burst out, it was like the heavens had parted. You could hear the angels sing.
There were two Danish people there when we arrived, and they had been very disappointed that they could not access the wine…until they saw Susanne work her magic. I suggested sharing a bottle, but the husband said, “No thank you, I think we would rather have our own.”
So there we sat, enjoying our wine, gazing at the view, having quiet conversation to keep the moment safe. We had only a short hike left before reaching Niederwalddenkmal, and a beer at the top of the hill before the gondola ride down…
Sometimes, the best way to have an adventure is to allow yourself to stumble upon it…then the most amazing things happen.