Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

thistles and lilies

On Thursday afternoon, I accepted an invitation to accompany an American woman as she checked items off of her wedding planning to-do list.  We met in Mainz, a city on the Rhein with an incredible Altstadt.  I love wandering through this historically, beautiful part of the city, with its cobbled lanes and tall houses.   The tiny businesses, each unique and interesting, which line the small gassen (streets) house florists, clothing boutiques, cafés, and…a chocolaterie. 

The Schokoladenhaus.  I had to go in.  The shop was maybe 10 square meters in total, but so elegant and quaint.  The shelves were filled with pralinen, truffels, and chocolate boxes of all sizes.  Behind the small, glass enclosed case filled with nougat confections with flavours such as; ginger, almond mousse, riesling, grappa and coconut, sat a white-haired lady who looked a little-bit like a done-up Betty White.  She warmly asked me questions about where I come from and what it’s like there, as I picked out a couple of treats for Erin and me.  And, on my way out, she sweetly wished me only good things for my time in Germany.  What a treat.

As I returned to the florist, who we had come across an hour before, I found Erin busily ordering her wedding blooms.  This narrow shop, lined inside with  rustic, wooden counters was filled with buckets of happy sunflowers, white roses the size of saucers, violet flowers looking freshly field-picked (which upon asking I found was oregano!), pots of mini, fire-red peppers, and terrific, bright orange carthamus thistles.  These, Erin picked for her Tiger lily to nestle amongst in her bridal bouquet.  Personally, I think thistles and lilies are the perfect metaphor for marriage…combining to make something beautiful, and yet a little dangerous.

And, as I later sat on the train on my way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about a new song I had heard just hours before.  A guy in my business English class started singing it as he regaled us with his weekend plans of hitting the Rhein in his new boat.  I laughed and asked him for the name of the song, as the chorus has just a hint of familiarity.  Here is a snippet…hmmm…could great guy be a Matrose?  I have no idea what that is, but I’m pretty sure this could be his theme song:

Das ist die Liebe der Matrosen!
Auf die Dauer, lieber Schatz,
ist mein Herz kein Ankerplaz.
Es blühn an allen Küsten Rosen,
und fur jede gibt es tausendfach Ersatz!
Liebe der Matrosen!

(sorry, English-speaking folks, it’ll sound too harsh if I translate it..and I’m only mostly kidding...but for you I have another favourite sea-song, just don't mind the language, Captain Jack Sparrow)

For my new, positive out-look on life, here is a beautiful quote from Ms. Stobbe which I might hang on my bathroom mirror.  Accept everything about yourself - I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end -- no apologies, no regrets. — Henry Kissinger

P.S. Happy, happy birthday to the mother of my perfect nephew!
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