It was our last night in Germany before heading to France so why not make it a memorable one. A castle adventure was calling our names. The halfway point to our next destination landed my husband and I in a small town called Waldeck. It so happens that Waldeck has a castle for accommodations. Picking Waldeck wasn’t a random act, there was a personal reason for the decision.
Our epic journey began three months ago. I went back to school and received my diploma in Travel & Tourism. Driving through Europe was an aspiration, so it only seemed fitting to take this opportunity to jump the pond and have an escapade. My own business in travel was calling and this was our time to explore the options and discover what beckoned us to travel.
The summer in Germany (and all of Europe) had been exceptionally hot. “During a heat wave every dude stinks,” says Craig Benzine. If I did stink, I didn’t care because heat hives ravaged my body. There was no air conditioning in any of the places we stayed at in Germany since it usually has a more temperate climate. Every day the heat soared over 30 degrees Celsius with no relief in sight. The grass was dry and brown. Most farmers were already harvesting in the fields.
During childhood, my Mother worked as the town administrator in a village of 300 people in Waldeck, Saskatchewan, Canada. One day, she received a letter from the administrator in the town of Waldeck, Germany. He had found our village (not sure how because there was no internet in those days) and sent information to connect and requested information back from pure curiosity on his part. Being from such an obscure town and getting an unsolicited letter from Germany was a cool thing. It was not common to converse around the world as we do now. My Mom was so excited and immediately responded to his request.
Visiting the little German town was a childhood fantasy. Travel was something a family of farmers never did. Now, fantasy became reality. A little farm girl with big dreams stood underneath the Waldeck sign in Germany. My Mom would have been so proud to see her daughter standing underneath this sign, making a connection to an impactful letter read by a little girl decades ago.
Schloss Waldeck is the castle we stayed at in Germany. The castle was gorgeous with cobblestone roads leading up to the entrance. Views of the countryside were stunning. We missed lunch in the castle, so we headed into town to find a place to eat. We stumbled across a place simply signed as “Biergarten”. At first, we weren’t sure if it was open to the public since there were no people around and there seemed to be no name to this intriguing spot. It was quiet, but the gate was open, so we went inside and wandered around the terrace with a spectacular view. A man came out to greet us. We asked if he spoke English. “Nein,” he shook his head. “Can we sit here and eat?” Making motions with our hands to get our point across. “Ja,” We sat down anyway and ordered beers, Jaegerschnitzel, salad and frites from the simple menu the man provided. He did his best to communicate and so did we. We paid in cash and he gave us a handwritten receipt on a coloured piece of paper.
Getting off the Autobahn and driving winding country roads to Waldeck was a turning point in our travels. The speed limit on life is slower in these small towns and it forces you to reflect on where you are going. How much more interesting and enjoyable our lunch in Waldeck was as we gazed at the countryside, alone. We sipped our beer and waited for our German culinary specialty to arrive. It was at this place I realized how fast-paced we lived our lives back in Canada. Why don’t we take more time to sit with our loved ones and enjoy time? We rush from daily activities and don’t reflect on our mortality. Just to sit, talk and be. It was there in the small German town, at an obscure Biergarten, where peace found me.