Last weekend finally saw me cashing in my birthday present from Mr. Betterhalf: a weekend away in the Volcanic Eifel by the Laach Lake. The lake is a volcanic caldera lake and carries quite a few myths with it. Above the lake sits enthroned the beautiful monastery of the Maria Laach Abbey. We had been looking forward to this trip since April and had high expectations. I am fascinated by volcanos and have always enjoyed the landscape they create, e.g. in the Canary Islands or Iceland. I was therefore really excited when I found that we have volcanic landscapes in Germany as well, and not even far from my home town – it is only a 2-hour-drive! We considered ourselves lucky that I was taken ill the week before and managed to recover just in time. We had planned to go for long walks along the lake, enjoy yummy food and just relax as much as possible. We certainly did not expect my good old friend, Mr. Murphy (founder of the annoying law) to travel with us!
Mr. Murphy did not fully show on our first day yet. We noticed on arrival that our hotel was not in walking distance of, uhm, anywhere but that did not irritate us. We drove down to the lake and after a rather tricky search of an access to the lake itself, took a stroll to the water. The weather was sunny and we rented a pedal boat and chilled on the lake. Later, we had dinner in our little hotel and spent the evening there in the conservatory.
We woke up happily the next morning. I noticed that my throat started to get sore again but we were looking forward to starting the day. The light that shone through the red curtains looked promising! When we opened them though, we found that red curtains lead to a mean optical illusion and just make you think that it is a sunny day. It was not! It was cloudy and windy but real travellers fight the weather, don’t they? We had looked up some tourist attractions, and our first destination was the so-called ‘Lava-Dome‘ where we were supposed to learn everything about vulcanism in the area. It was on our way there when we first noticed that clear signposts are not the outstanding feature of the area. It took us quite some time to find the way and when we were on the last bit of the route, the road was suddenly closed off. Not a problem! We just laughed and found another way to the Dome. We purchased a ticket and were happy to find that there would be a guided tour around the volcanic ‘cellars’ underneath the museum. We had a look at the exhibition first and were… disappointed! The museum is a total rip-off and does not show much more than a movie and a few models of volcanic activity. We also only then found out that the ‘cellars’ are in fact some cave-like rooms 30 metres (!!) downhole! Now, even the thought of this makes me cringe! Being stuck that far in the earth is not something I can take! We kept the good spirit though and just ditched the cellars, and so wasted our tickets.
We decided to take a nice long walk on the ‘circular track’ around the lake. That’s what it said. In fact though, there is not way around the lake. The only thing you can do is to take a high route through the hills – which is fine if you are a trained hiker! Also, the amount of pollen in the air was so suffocating that even Mr. Betterhalf, who does not suffer from hay fever, could not stop sneezing. I guess we sounded like two steam trains! Since the weather was getting worse we opted to visit the Abbey, and luckily, it turned out to be very nice: quiet and peaceful. It also looks quite impressive against the dark sky:
Afterwards we wanted to visit a very old castle, but alas! There was not way to drive there – it required said hiking up crazy hills! We gave in and took a break at our hotel and then tried to find a restaurant close to us for dinner. Now, nothing there is close to anything! We were starving when we finally found something. Luckily the food was really good and we did not take any more chances and just spent a lovely evening on our balcony. And we agreed that even though Mr. Murphy had played all kind of tricks on us we had had a fantastic time because it was just too funny!
Saturday started off like Friday: sore throat, the red-curtain-trick. But we had plans anyway: we were to take the ‘Volcano Express’, a steam train that promised a great ride around the area. The train was indeed very cute and the landscape lovely to look at. It does in no way resemble the volcanic ladscape we expected though – it is just green hills! The main purpose of the train seems to be for people to get on it and get drunk – at 10 in the morning! It was nice but not really what we expected.
And Murphy continued: pollen, missing road signs, closed streets… after trying everything we could, we just went back to the Abbey. And finally, finally! the sun came out. We finally found a path that allowed us to take a chilled walk. We did not take any more risk and spent the evening on the balcony again. We were a bit exhausted because gathering motivation to find more and more destinations was straining. But still we agreed: we had had a good time!
And the moral of this story: it does not matter where you travel to and what obstacles Murphy has in stock for you – with the right company, everything can be a good adventure! Mr. Betterhalf and I did not fight even though our nerves were truly strained, and we did not hang our heads. If I am able to implement this into my daily routine, life becomes a lot easier!
Yours truly, madly, deeply!
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