What a lovely idea to go back in time and reminisce over childhood vacations! It allowed me to notice that water has been a constant theme in my history of summers already back then.
I remember how my family including my grandparents used to go to a certain lake in the outskirts of Munich. The Steinsee (aka Stone Lake) is a relic of the Würm glaciation situated in a forested area and is still being fed by pure spring water. Nevertheless, it is one of the warmest lakes in Germany, which was fine by me! So my parents, my brother, my Grandma and I would go swimming and sunbathing while my Grandpa would hike through the woods, something he much rather enjoyed than the alternative. We would also bring our own food. Getting the juice of the fruits all over ourselves was no need to stress for my Mom since we simply jumped back into the water once we were done. No need to clean up! In order to change from one bathing suit into another or back into our regular clothes, we had something I haven’t seen around in years: it was a bright blue-turquoise terry cloth cloak, one end of which had a rubber band hold it together. That’s where your head would stick out while you were enveloped by this huge (at least for me) amount of terry cloth. Funny what minuscule things your brain decides to remember from your childhood! But hey, I loved this thing. I could change in there, get dry and even just lay down and have a cuddly nappy in it! Seriously I am wondering why they seem to have discontinued them…
Noteworthy was also the time my mother had made gingerbread for the first time the previous Christmas. The recipe she used would have needed to be prepared weeks before the festivities in order to allow them to soften. Since it was her first time she didn’t know and none of us wanted to eat it rock-hard. So she stuck the box full of gingerbread somewhere in her closet and forgot about it. Until that one Saturday in summer when upon retrieving the swimming stuff she came across that container again. What can I say? They were soft, delicious and a real Christmas treat in the middle of summer. So they were gone, within two days.
When I was about four years old we started spending our summer vacations in Italy, more precisely in the Veneto region in a little town just a tad north of Venice. My father’s uncle had invited us to come. We always stayed at a guesthouse where we had our own little apartment, from where we could walk to the beach. Back then was the first time I saw the ocean. I loved it and couldn’t wait to get in. So as soon as I had my water wings on, off I went. First thing I did: I dipped into the water, took a swig, turned around and yelled: “Ohh, lecker!” (“Ohh, yummy!”) You see, all my life I loved salt and after all, this was saltwater, hence this expression of pure pleasure!
Remember my mentioning of feeling so quickly relaxed sitting by the Ligurian Sea in my post last week? I seriously think the relaxation was double effect with it being the sea plus Italy. I love both and whenever I am in Italy it only takes a few days for me to feel like I was on vacation for weeks! I really think that stems back from those wonderful times I had there with my family!
Another minuscule thing I remember from back then is the yellow sun sail we used. It was something between yellow and orange and for some reason I loved it and I loved to lay in its shade and munch on freshly picked figs. So imagine my delight when while helping my Mom declutter recently we found it again! I even took it home, thinking I could put it to good use again.
We went to Cavallino for a number of years and of course, we would also go visit Venice. On one of those trips, we all went into a bakery to get ourselves some pastries. As we got out both my brother and I decided we didn’t like what we had chosen. Since my father was in a holiday spirit we were allowed to go back and choose anew. Imagine my parents’ astonishment when we both got back with the same pastry the other one had chosen previously! We still have good laugh about this since this turned into one of those family stories that gets retold at family gatherings again and again.
Now in the present moment, we are having another heat wave plus the school vacation start here in Bavaria today. In fact, the last few afternoons were so hot I had a hard time getting my brain to work efficiently or being motivated to do chores around the house. So here is the plan for today: I am currently sitting out in the shady garden finishing this piece and then I am off to the pool to relive the past pleasures of summer heat plus water as this seems to be the only way to survive another 36°C plus afternoon. So I bid you farewell ‘til next week hoping you get some pool time in the meantime, too!