I just returned from my retreat to Germany, but I wish I didn’t have to. I’ve been here a few times before, but every time I discover something new, and this trip wasn’t an exception.

Part 1 here

A nice, soothing sound

The place was never completely silent. Not just because of insects buzzing or wood cracking in the fire. For the first time, I noticed some sort of constant white noise somewhere in the background. Sea, a thought flashed in my mind. But there was no sea nearby as far as I knew. Wind? And then I went for a long walk, choosing a different direction than I have before, only to discover it was…a motorway.

The whole place is located in a nature reserve, so I was quite taken aback. In fact, I almost felt personally offended. You can’t place motorways in my private paradise! And then, as one of my friends phrased it, I realised that my glass wasn’t only half-full instead of half-empty. It was completely filled. The motorway’s soothing, constant noise…calmed me down. The thing was located just near enough to be convenient and just far enough for me to not really know it was there.

No pictures of the motorway, because I am almost certain you know what motorways look like.

 

Alone, but not lonely

I walked on. I saw cows and bulls. Horses. Dogs. More horses. In fact, during my entire stay, I’ve seen more horses than people. It’s been a long time since I felt so upset by my back injuries because there is nothing I would have loved to do more than to ride on horseback again. That desire became stronger even than my dream of returning to forging, and it also brought a realisation: I now prefer animals to people. Our apartment in Amsterdam is located on top of a bar, and our neighbours regularly arrange shouting matches, sometimes in the middle of the night. The nearest park is ten minutes away by bike. The Fairytale Garden in the middle of not-so-much-nowhere gives me everything I could possibly need.

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I am currently on a retreat, spending a week at a wooden cabin in Germany. The place is owned by friends of mine who are generous enough to allow me to stay here when I truly can’t take the big city life anymore. As mentioned in the previous post about a nature boy with terms and conditions applied, I am not quite as good at this living in the wild thing as I would like to be, which makes this cabin perfect. The only Internet I have is through my mobile’s rapidly shrinking data plan. There are no bars, no restaurants, no loud music or yelling people. When I want to get warm, I have to light a fire in the wood burner. When I want to eat, I have to go to a superm–

Oh. Yes. I said terms and conditions apply, right?

The king of the jungle that I am, I felt awfully worried before leaving Amsterdam. All the electronic devices I use require different chargers. I pack each of them, muttering to myself, crossing items off the list I made. Once all is packed I still have extra 30 minutes to kill, so I sit on the sofa with my laptop still connected to the charger so that I would have as much juice as possible for the duration of the trip. You can probably guess where this is heading…

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I used to be a big town boy when it came to holidays. London, Berlin, Amsterdam were my favourite destinations. In the last years, however, things dramatically changed. My idea of a great holiday is being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and animals, spending evenings sitting by a bonfire ideally somewhere near the water.

Except… terms and conditions apply…

Nature Boy taking photos with his smartphone.

This is Arnarstapi, one of the most incredible places I’d ever been to. I loved it. Everything about it. The screams of birds, the basalt columns, the fury of the waves, the smell of the air, even the drizzle. The feeling of being alone with nature, being a small part of it and nothing more than that. Not checking my messages, emails, not getting phone calls (not that I do phonecalls). Unfortunately, there was a catch. When we decided we were cold and wet enough, we went to a lovely cafe and had the most delicious apple pie with caramel. Then we drove back home, warm thanks to the airco. Once we arrived, we took off our coats and leathers as the modern geothermic heating system allowed us to be as warm as we wanted to be. Of course, I had to share pictures and stories with everyone on social media. What good is being in nature if everyone doesn’t know?!

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