To the left is the view from the backseat of the car as we took a small ferry from what was previously West Germany to what was previously East Germany. Our hosts shared stories about what the border was like during the Cold War, and we were able to see the old lookout posts. I guess German citizens who lived in the vicinity of the border used to have to carry special identification. Now you can get across freely, and all you need is seven euros and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
We took an incredibly pleasant tour of the German countryside out to Appleslounge, where a friend of ours makes his own line of cider and specialty wine. I got to try wine that was really like nothing I had ever tasted before, and we ate outstanding food and got to see how the whole process of making wine and cider works. It was really cool to learn about making wine and running a business from someone who is so passionate and knowledgeable about it. I've experienced some of the most amazing hospitality while in Europe.
It's hard to even explain how peaceful the countryside is. Tiny, two hundred year old farming villages with thatched roofs amidst incredibly green fields and slowly moving streams with swans in them; chickens, geese, cows, and goats grazing or nesting calmly; giant, power generating windmills; and plums and apples you can pick and eat right off the tree. There's something really comforting about walking past a tree and having each of us stop to eat something from it. This may sound utterly trite, but it's nice to be reminded of the fact that this planet has sustained life for millions of years without packaging, deep frying, artificial sweeteners, or mayonnaise.
I'm not really sure what the plan is today, but I know the next thing I do will be obliterating the emotional little point I just tried to make in the previous paragraph by buying food from a cafe around the corner. To be fair, though, it is going to be plant-based! Vegetable sandwiches on fresh bagels just sound a bit too delicious right now.