When I was five years old we moved from an apartment in a town of 50,000 to a house with garden to a village of a few hundred. It’s the place where my maternal grandfather was born, called Wald which – aptly – translates to “forest”.
I had a wonderful childhood roaming the woods, building dams in the nearby creek, milking the 20-odd cows of our neighbour.
On the weekends, Mum and at least one of my Opas (that’s what we call grandpas) would walk the hill behind our house, a lovely walk that leads first across a big meadow, then up through the forest, then along the ridge of the hill (first on paved road, then a footpath) – to a little hut where we would stop for coffee and lemonade before retracing our steps back home.
Last weekend Mr A went mountain biking with Dad, so Mum and I decided to walk up the hill again. In the late summer heat (temperatures were still well above 30°C) we walked through dense forest and high grass. What used to be a well-trodden path was chest-high grass. Mum and I felt like explorers in the jungle – only lacking a machete – and I stamped like an elephant, lifting my feet like a stork after each step, to avoid stepping on a snake. The only animal we spotted, that wasn’t an insect, was a frog, though.
It was a wonderful day with blue skies and barely any clouds.
We soaked up the rays of the sun, knowing it will be dark and dreary all too soon.
Soon, we spotted blackberry bushes. To the left and the right of our path. Heavy with the sweetest fruit. And because we are smart girls we’d brought along containers to pick them on our way down.
Up on the ridge 20-something oldtimer cars approached us – from Fiat 500 to Citroen 2CV to various convertibles. All in superb shape. When we reached the farm house that marks the end of the paved road and the beginning of the foot path we learned that they had stopped there for a break – and were invited to feast on the leftovers and some coffee.
From there we walked the usual loop, starting to pick – and eat – blackberries. We did not even stop at the hut but slowly ambled back to my parents’ house – via many a blackberry bush. Scratching our bare arms and legs picking them without even noticing.
We arrived at home with our faces smeared, our legs bleeding and our clothes black from the grass seeds that stuck to them.
What a beautiful day out!
If you’re wondering what is going to happen to the blackberries (we picked just over half a kilo each): They will be eaten raw in muesli and with yoghurt as well as pureed and frozen. You may rest assured that not a single one will go to waste.