We’d heard from Herr Schaefer, our hotel owner, that on the island across the river from the hotel is a farm that is a wonderful place to bring children. All you have to do is take the ferry across and walk down “a little while” and you’ll get to this farm where there are horses and the children can play in the water and also make cookies (?).
When I woke this morning, I decided today was farm day. But first had to do my first ATM transaction in German. Felt a little silly holding my English-German dictionary but I did it. Then had to make a grocery run with the kids of course. First stop, the drinks store (more on that later). Second stop the food store. Raced home and started making a picnic lunch. It was cloudy and spitting rain and I almost cancelled the outing but the rain stopped so I raced us out the door to the ferry down the road.
The ferry ride is only about 2 minutes and as we exited I asked the woman running the ferry what time we could get back to the other side. She told me the ferry was now stopping for 2 hours–yikes. “Do you know vere you’re going?” she asked. “Not really,” I admitted. “Vell, take ze zecond left and valk down ze dirt road about 2.5 kilometers until you gets to the farm,” she smiled. I looked down at my flip-flops and considered turning back. It was get back on the ferry now or plunge in for the next 2 hours. So, away we went and as I hit that zecond road on ze left, my heart sank. It was all dirt, with big ruts and it seemed to stretch for miles. Crap. So, I gripped Jack’s stroller handles, told Nora (who was starting to whimper) to buck up. We were going to have fun if it killed us. Oh, about 1KM into it, rain gone and now scorching sun, I realized I had done this all before but just on a different island and with a different child in the same stroller. (See “Chappy Joe,” http://www.mvmagazine.com/article.php?17725)
We’re all sunburned now but the forced march was all worth it. We arrived at the farm and it was the most amazing oasis. Huge stone barns framed a courtyard filled with tables and shade. Meat sizzled on an immense grill and applewine and pils were flowing from the taps at the bar. To one side was the Rhine where we washed our filthy feet and sat down to eat our lunch. Afterward, Nora and Jack chose ice cream bars. I tasted the applewine but decided it was only a half step up from hard cider. I opted for a cold glass of German white (not Gevertstraminer or Riesling). We sat down again and watched the barges float down the Rhine.
We visited some lovely chestnut horses and N+J monkeyed on a playset. We never found that cookie making part but it didn’t matter. The place was pure bliss and I don’t even know the name of it. I was hoping to find a kind soul with a car but no luck. We had to hoof it back and Nora sprinted to the stroller and parked herself in it with authority. Sorry, sweetie, and she climbed out. I bought a bottle of water for the trip back and the label said “Still.” But when I opened it for Nora down the road, we heard the unmistakable fizz of gas escaping. Nora’s wail could have been heard for miles. She and Jack have not made the conversion to “fizzy water.” Nora refused to drink it and onward we trudged. She was probably feverish by the time we hit the ferry but she was really a good sport.