Three Nights in Mosbach – Meeting Old Friends
It is Tuesday 3rd September, and Yggdrasil the Hymer motorhome is sitting in a free Stellplatz in the little town of Mosbach, Southern Germany. (49.360384, 9.147344 ) Tonight is Iggy’s third night here, as we linger with our friend David, who we met on our Tour to Sicily in 2017/2018. The Stellplatz has a three night limit, and we are making the most of it.
As I write this David and Jay are chatting outside, drinking beer and slowly working up an appetite for dinner. David has suggested we go to the restaurant across the road for pizza. I smile, remembering the last time we saw him and Fran. Going out for pizza in Cefalu, Sicily, 20 months ago, the night before we parted company. Fran and David heading west towards Palermo. Jay and I heading east, for the ferry and Greece.
This week there is, sadly, no Fran. She is in New Zealand and once we part company tomorrow David will start a slow trip down to meet her in southern France in a few weeks. And we will turn in the other direction and head for Austria and the high places.
Such is life on the road. The travelling life. The world is small indeed. And with time to weave and weft, just a little, we humans seek each other out it seems. Making communities. Making connections. Making friends.
It is exciting, romantic, the stuff of novels and adventure stories. But out here, on the fringes of society, it is maybe a little bit more. A known face in a life of constant strangers is a beautiful thing. And each stranger is a possible friend of tomorrow. We spread tentacles of welcome around us, seeking others who are doing the same. It seems both part of the journey, and an instinctive, basic desire to connect with others. Even in our self-imposed apartness of the road.
David has messaged us to say he is delayed by a triatholon at his previous stop, so we take our time driving to Mosbach. There are lots of spaces when we arrive and we stop at the entrance to fill up with water at €1 for 100 litres. With incredible timing David pulls into the stellplatz right behind us just as we are attaching our hose to the tap.
It was incredibly good to see him again after all this time. I think it’s probably fair to say I bounced a little. Maybe even a lot. Grins were wide all round, as we all talked non stop, and Fran was with us all the way in word and thought if not in body.
I was in need of late lunch/early dinner. And Marley was, for sure in need of a walk, so after organising the vans and setting up camp we set off down the riverside park into town.
The park is a great introduction to the town, with well thought out, clever features and plenty to do, it seems to cover much more space than it really does. Playgrounds, skateparks, volleyball courts, flower gardens, water features, sculptures.
Unfortunately I’m so busy chatting with David and Jay that I keep forgetting to take photos, and in next to no time we find ourselves wandering into the middle of a mini festival in the stunningly beautiful streets of the historic town centre.
People in the crowds have leaflets in their hands that are clearly programmes of the day’s events. But the town is small and we just wander slowly from street to street, platz to platz, and soak it all in.
In one square a clever, funny juggler has the crowd roaring with laughter at his antics. The day is hot, but summer is ending. Soon the winter coats will come out once more. The nights will be chilly, and where now men juggle and clown in shorts and t-shirts, Christmas lights will sparkle in winter darkness.
But for now it is still very much summer, and everyone here is enjoying it to the final drop. We wander a few more streets, deciding where we will stop for food and beer. Happy throngs fill the tables at the many cafes and bars. A brass band plays pop songs to a vocal accompaniement of a woman in silver shorts singing lyrics through a megaphone. And on we go round the next corner.
Travel Malarkey stumble upon a great little street festival in the German town of Mosbach. Marley Dog wasn’t too sure about the giant mechanical flamingo. It was a big hit with the humans though.
The town is small and easily navigable, but just large enough to feel interesting, lively and genuine. This is not just a tourist photo opportunity of one square of half-timbered houses. It is a real place where people live what looks like very nice lives.
There are a good selection of shops. Aldi and Lidl and the more expensive supermarkets are all present and seem to be doing well. Pharmacies, bookstores, clothes shops. It is not a massive high street, but there is enough to be interesting. And it is an enjoyable wander that brings us out of the side streets and into the market place.
In the marktplatz a stage has been set up and a really clever comedy duo of classical musicians is playing out their set. Food stalls and beer stalls are spread out in every space, and David quickly orders three large mugs of good German lager in the shade of the fabulously beautiful Rathaus.
It’s about as perfect a reunion as we could get without having thought it up and specifically ordered it. What were the chances that our random meeting place would have this wonderful little festival on? That on our third day in Germany we would be standing munching currywurst and fries in a sun-soaked marketplatz surrounded by music, laughter and all that is good in life? Some days, the Gods are kind indeed.
It being a Sunday the festival ended about eight, and we all returned to the Stellplatz where ridiculous amounts of drinking and chatting continued well into the night. I’m hopelessly rubbish at drinking and need at least a day to recover if I so much as have 3 glasses of wine. So our second day in Mosbach was a much quieter affair than the first.
Jay and David emerged from the vans in the early afternoon, and wandered the riverbank with Marley or sat chatting quietly in the shade between the vans. After a couple of lazy hours snoozing my hangover away to the murmur of their voices I finally felt human again and slithered my way out to join them.
David is so easy and interesting to talk to and we chatted for hours, only breaking off to take Marley for walks around the, now much quieter, town.
It really is a gorgeous little part of the world. And Marley and I both fell totally in love with the amazing water features running down two of the side streets into the marktplatz. I guessed the running water down the streets helps keep them cool in the hot weather. And Marley just thought they were perfect, doggy drinking rivers. Running up and down the length of the cobbled lanes, lapping up the water, and barking at the barrel pouring it onto the street.
And back we went to the Stellplatz to cook a simple dinner and discuss the Brexit situation until the suddenly cold night drove us all off to our beds.
Day three in Mosbach, and Jay and I planned on getting back on the road for Austria. We had a lot of ground to cover before we needed to return to Scotland on the 17th of October. September was on her third day already, and it was time to get moving.
First of course we had to have a last wander round the paths and river walks of Mosbach with Marley. Finding new things every day, Our favourite discoveries for today were a crazy golf place just along the road. The first one we’ve ever seen with grape loaded mini vineyards growing between the holes. If we ever come back to Mosbach I’m definitely having a go!
And last, but never least, the messages of love and wisdom the young people have painted on their skate park. “But there is only one world.”
Next we really needed to have a bit of a chore day. The van was getting unbearably messy. And there was also the little matter of asking David to contribute a painting to Yggdrasil and the Our Tree project.
Everything took a little longer than expected. As everything often seems to living a nomadic life on the road. And with David to chat to we weren’t exactly rushing ourselves to get done and get on the road.
Eventually though the chores were all done. The painting materials were lined up ready. And David had come up with a great idea for a design, and cut it out of our card ready to be painted onto Yggdrasil.
I stood back and took the pictures as Jay got everything in place for the painting. David had a couple of practice squirts with the spray cans. And a new graffiti artist was born as he sprayed our van like a pro.
We all stood back to admire his handiwork. Another David’s work joining Luke’s and Sylvia’s on the side of our home on wheels. I am liking living within walls that are painted with the thoughts, feelings and images of my friends. A bonus to our project that I had not imagined before today.
And so all was done. All was good. And nothing more remained but to decide to stay another day. Sit with David for a little while longer by the banks of the river Elz. And… Oh! I must run! It’s time for pizza…