It’s very comforting to hear the sound of raindrops falling on the roof just above us. The thick layer of felt lining the roof interior slightly muffles the sound, making it almost sound like white noise. Rafa likes it too. ‘My rain’ he bursts out in excitement, while he’s halfway to the dimension of dreams. His rain. Fifteen minutes later and he’s out. Fast asleep. It was an exciting day for him.

We’re parked for the night – somewhere between Heilbronn and Heidelberg – on a rather uninspiring campsite along a river lined by vineyard-covered hills. We’re passing through Germany’s main wine region. We’re on our way to the Netherlands. I’m not sure if this is the usual tradition when you get a family expansion. Last time, people came to us. This time, it was rather quiet. A combination of COVID-19, and the long distance between Freising and the Netherlands. People don’t drop by for just a coffee this far from home, but we also cannot have sleepovers or visits from too many people. On the one hand it was nice and quiet, on the other, it is nice to share the joy with loved ones. That’s why we do a small tour through the homeland, visiting our families. Our camper van makes the travel quite comfortable, and allows us to stop wherever we feel like, or where the kids force us to. Sometimes, as this evening, it turns out to be unremarkable. Sometimes you find a gem of a parking lot.

We also picked up a hitchhiker this morning. We passed the Neufahrn train station, and were joined from there by my sister-in-law, who came from Munich, where she met a friend after arriving yesterday evening. We had not seen each other since July 2020, so it is nice to have her on board on our trip. My son can’t have remembered seeing her in personnas he was only one year old, but he hugged her as if his life depended on it. He’s not all that touchy feely with others, so it’s super nice that she’s here. What is not so nice for her is that she sleeps in an old and maybe not fully waterproof tent in this rain.

Tomorrow we will continue our journey towards the Dutch border, where we will probably spend the night somewhere on the German side. From Thursday, we will be in the Netherlands. I miss home, so it feels good to visit. I need a patatje oorlog and a frikandel speciaal. After that, I can make it through another year in Bavaria.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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