Swamp Meets Pond

2019.12.09 Swamp Version

My husband and I traveled to Europe from home outside of Washington, DC for the first time in August 2014. And man, did we experience culture shock! Europeans wear blazers and classy shoes to walk their dogs to the cafe on Sunday mornings. Obviously, our jeans and comfy exercise attire stood out terribly! Thankfully, the people of Baden Baden, Germany were gracious enough to take our money despite our fashion faux-pas.

From Germany we drove to Lucerne, Switzerland. I will confess—we were not enamored with Switzerland after that visit. The views were stunning, the landscape pristine; but parking and driving stresses, combined with seemingly avoidable expenses, ranked our time in Lucerne on the low end. But, how perspectives change with chance encounters!

In the fall of 2015, we traveled to the EU once again, landing in Vienna, Austria and beginning a central European driving tour. We scrapped our plans to stay in Germany favoring the balmy Mediterranean climate in southern Switzerland to the freezing rain Germany offered during that stretch of our trip.

This flexibility is key to the proverbial American dream—assessing options and adjusting accordingly for optimal outcomes. As it turns out, this itinerary adjustment led us to our encounter with the Pond.

We met her in a cafe one morning. In a town where the residents speak primarily Italian and some German, English speakers easily catch the ear. Well, my husband’s anyway—I tend to be a bit deaf until the coffee’s kicked in. Some things she said as she chatted on her cell in English resonated and inspired curiosity—enough to take a risk and introduce ourselves. And then the three of us, with sweet Chilli patiently lounging at her feet, chatted for hours—happily and effortlessly. And that, my friends, is how Swamp met Pond.

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