Dropped off in Heidelbourg by a lovely social worker lady called Dragmar, a seasoned hitchiker herself, I marched into the central station and sat on a bench. Texting Rachel, my friend from UCLan and my ´contact´in this area of Germany, I took up a position oustide of great vigilance against her "ambush" style tactics of greeting.
And then there were five Skoczylis´s, Rachel, Miriam, Joelli, Simeon (13 months) and another little one inside of Miriam. Simeon was clearly a future hitchiker, as, needing to pee, he toddled over to the side of a water-surrounded office block and relieved himself with no discernible inhibition. Good man!
So we ambled through the town, via the post office where Rachel kept up her ice cream addiction, sharing magnums around with us too, and then the others took the bus and we then did our first hitch together. Immediately I noticed her different hitching style, "the wagging arm". Standing behind her and doing the same, she would appear like a batty three armed woman to the approaching cars, so only slightly different from usual!
After two hitches, we bobbed down the little lanes of the clustered village among the tree blossomed peaks to her wondrous home. Wooden doors and floors, art painted on the walls of cartoon characters and in one room the Wizard of Oz, nooks and crannies, creaks and yells of children dashing and curious at the new guest. Tea was a cacophany of conversations, whizzing backwards and forwards, with ten of us around a very cute spread of cake, compote, apple sauce and a whopping bowl of krise (semolina) with cinammon top. It was like having tea in a grotto with a very kind family of woodland trolls! And the children´s faces like heros and heroines of a brothers Grimm story, bright with the wonderment of youth.
After tea, we all went our separate ways, weaving among the rooms on the various stories, like Renaissance monkeys in a heavenly tree house and by night a film on their TV as big as a car, mesmerising, a gift from an American family, Rachel and I stayed up chatting about the pangs and pleasures of existence and then to sleep again. Guten nacht!