I was not meant to live alone. The person that told me this before I came to Erlangen, a small, predominantly student-populated town just outside of Nuernberg in Bayern, was extremely correct I discovered today. They were talking about themselves too, but their words have reverberated around my head today as I try to make unfilled time, if not fly then at least travel above 30miles an hour. That is my first observation here- my actual residence is in a little known village, even by the locals, called Kosbach, little known because I have walked the entire perimeter and all of the interlaying roads in an afternoon- the speed limit here is 30km an hour. I think that speaks volumes.
Yes I am, given my current and fairly recent obsession with city living, instantly dismissive of non-cities (I wait on finding a residence noun small enough for Kosbach). As I wend my way through its quaint, thoroughly luxurious streets I notice how entirely at rest, asleep, comatose, the place is; I feel like I’m out of practice at speaking, as though my voice wouldn’t even sound if I asked it to, I wonder if within just twenty four hours my through might entirely seal over leaving me speechless (there are those who would be thrilled at the prospect), and if you think I’m exaggerating then you should hear how much I speak on a daily basis. It is immensely beautiful though, I am swamped in the bliss of silence- a non-city luxury. It really is like a treat that I’m savoring, I keep glancing around to check I’m really alone as I cut out past the back of one of several hundred (by the looks of it) stables with its trim, taught beasts- not a Dobbin in sight- and I close my eyes every hundred meters to sample the sheer quality of noiselessness.
Its not wholly noiseless even on this obscure countryside discover; what seems to be a path, although completely untended and nettle wrought, making its way in straight sections between apparently man-made lakes that are just teeming with wildlife, all bordering the very severe edge of a dense forest. As I move, ever ahead of me, frantic scurry booms through the seamless air as small frogs and rodents- I caught sight of both once or twice- bolted from their sun beds and ploshed into the virtually unbroken water. I saw grebes, of the Great Crested variety, and a multitude of coots and geese, calling to one another, the soft beating of wings as they glided between the small habitats.
These are the more pleasant interludes of the day. I have also discovered that trying to find a permanent residence can be disappointing, stressful and will ultimately make your feet ache and give you odd tan lines. Also, tourist information people will not always give you a vaguely correct destination. Also, if your knowledge of the language is not thorough and consequently the bus timetable escapes you somewhat…prepare to wait a while.
As a paced through my new non-city and examined its every corner I couldn’t work out if the strides I paced were in sudden freedom or if I was more taking an enforced stroll round the gardens of my confinement hospital to retain a shred of sanity.