Don’t sweat the small things

We have been in Heidelberg for two days and love it. Our hotel is on the edge of the Altstadt(Old City) and within walking distance of all the main sites. Yesterday, we took the cable car ( cog wheel) up the mountain to see Heidelberg Castle (picture), and to hike. The rain kept us from going all the way to the top beyond the castle, but was a good excuse to duck into a small cafe and have tea, Kaffe and Kuchen. In the evening, we walked across the bridge and hiked the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way), an old walking path that looks out over the river and town. In th 1800s, the path became a popular place for philosophers to use because of the quiet and solitude.  Heidelberg has been a more relaxed and comfortable place, despite the weather, and we decided everyone we know should move here and live with us. 

Yesterday marked the third complete week of our trip, and we are surprised as to how much has happened, and how well things have been going. Before leaving Washington, DC, we spent time with our son and some of his friends. When I shared that I was having some anxiety and anticipating potential concerns, Mike’s one friend gave great advice. Figure out your deal breakers: in other words, what is the short list of things/events that will make life miserable, and then safeguard that list. Losing socks? No problem. Losing your passport? Bigger problem. I realized that if I could keep the “I can’t lose this because I will have a meltdown” list short, I would be okay. 

Travel is a little like death- when we experience a serious loss, things come into focus, and the worries we had before seem very small. When you are travelling from place to place with limited things and lots of changes, you get focused on what is important and come to realize how much really does not matter. 

To date, we have lost a few minor things: John temporarily lost his shoes at the Strasbourg hotel- I think it was due to a little too much wine. The hotel was kind enough to hold the shoes until he realized his mistake. He also lost his favorite hoody in Switzerland, and it finally caught up with us in Frankfurt. We lost one of the two adaptors we brought with us, which is actually a bigger problem. Europe sells adaptors for the US and not so much for the stupid tourists who lose their adaptors. We are “adapting”.  In other words, no real catastrophe.
My husband is great at keeping the “Oh, Sh$t” list in perspective. I had a moment in the Koblenz train station when I thought I had spent 60 Euro on the wrong tickets. He looked at me and said, “Today, I am pretending I am Australian- everything is a joke. I am not going to be bothered. Let’s just get on the train we want and claim we are stupid Americans and could the conductor please not throw us off the train?”  The plan worked, and we ended up paying a few extra Euros to not be thrown from the train. A lot less scary than the information desk in the train station made it out to be. 

I realized in that moment that the one thing I really can’t afford to lose is my husband. He keeps me sane and grounded. 

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