The first picture shows the one I selected for my class. The second picture shows the one I actually like better.
POV 1-Older Couple Nearby*
*Imagine this being said in German.
We had the place to ourselves until they came. The only noise we heard was the clank of our plates, silverware, and glasses mingling together. We come here early to avoid the noise and people. Visiting the Eisenhut Restaurant after five in the evening reveals a different atmosphere. Just below the main dining terrace you will find a biergarten usually only visited by locals. Somehow these Americans stumbled upon our secret lunch location.
The group is loud considering the absence of other diners. Klaudia and I watch them for a few minutes and try to grasp some of their English sentences. Neither of us was very familiar with the language, so the information we did collect was fairly vague. There appears to be two couples, two sisters, and one young woman on her own from what we can understand.
Klaudia wondered how they knew each other. She figured they must be long time acquaintances because of the ease of their interactions. They drank rosé wine and shared plates. The young woman on her own had a huge camera and kept taking pictures of the dishes and her tablemates.
Watching them interact with the waiter showed that they knew little of our language. One of the men in the group took the lead with describing what the dishes were. He must have had some high school German. Beyond “prost,” the rest were clueless.
I was amazed at their confidence and comfort in this new place, despite the language barrier. The young woman was even brazen enough to grab plates from the waiter’s station when they realized they were short the correct number of plates.
Towards the end of their meal, they scattered about trying to get a group photo. One of the men had a tiny tripod that he tried to attach to the oversized camera. They positioned the camera, and then they positioned themselves, bumping shoulders and leaning in to fit in the shot.
The friends lingered for almost two hours before leaving. Once again, the place was quiet and all we could hear was the fountain in the lower terrace.
POV 2-My Digital SLR Camera
She relied on me like a pillar for over a year now. I am her crutch. I am her excuse to get out and possibly talk to people. There was one before me, but I am a better model with improved features. She rarely leaves me at home for fear of missing a moment. The moments happen regardless of my presence, but she doesn’t seem to understand that. I appreciate my status, but at some point she has to realize that living the moment is more powerful than capturing it on a little SD card. Perhaps it is her nostalgic nature that relies on me.
Although our time together has not been that long, I’ve seen a change in her. The fact that I will soon be taking a group photo of her with people she has only known five days is representative of her change. The change actually began before today. Day one, she brought me out immediately to photograph the group at dinner. Day two, she bought wine, meat, cheese, and crackers to share with people she had just met hours before. I can see a comfort level in her that she doesn’t usually show this early on. She drinks wine when she wants, and shares meals and sips with her new friends. Conversation comes naturally rather than her desperately searching for something to discuss. Even when there is silence, it is okay because her purpose is not to entertain; they seem to like her regardless.
I worry for her because I see her growing dependent on others. I find her using me to snap shots of the other group members. It appears she is trying to hold onto every moment with each person. She never needed that before; other than a few very close individuals. Although I see positive changes, I’m worried she will have difficulty recovering when her new friends are no longer around. What will happen when she is not around people that need this like she does? I hope she can find comfort, even when this group is separated.
We searched the inner and outer city of Rothenburg for a biergarten, but found ourselves unsuccessful. Apparently Germans don’t let the festivities begin until five pm. Settling is not in our nature as travelers, but what are you to do when hunger drives you? Listening to the trusty voice in our Rick Steves’s guidebook, we made our way inside a hotel restaurant. They also have a biergarten, but of course we had not reached the hours of operation just yet.
Walking onto the terrace made me question whether the dining experience would be in our budgets. It was an elegant hotel with empty tables perfectly set, waiting for the rush to arrive. The outdoor seating was even more stunning. Our level was equipped for eating while the terrace below was sectioned off as the biergarten. When I create a mental image of a biergarten, I visualize picnic tables lined up for optimal seating. Instead, you find a fountain, gardens, and a view above the town.
As we approached our assigned table, we only saw one older couple ordering their lunch. They appeared to be locals, so at least that was a positive sign. Our first gaze at the menu confirmed Rick’s recommendation. Several dishes appealed to us, so a few of us decided to share some samples with each other.
While we munched on our “crisply green salad,” meat plate, and stuffed mushrooms, I felt content from the ease of the interactions with these people. Some may argue that it was the wine that distracted my typical worries, but I know that even wine is not that potent. I was sharing plates, sipping from other drinks, and simply taking in the pleasure of sharing this meal with company. I’ve never felt so much joy from eating with people I’ve only known five days. Perhaps it is the special circumstances that create this atmosphere. Would I have connected with these people outside of this experience? It is hard to answer the “what ifs” of life, but I found myself not really analyzing the situation. I was just living.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one taking in the moment because we decided a group photo was in order. As I took a friend’s mini tripod and attached it to my gigantic camera, I hoped that for once, time would slow down. Even though it was only day five of twenty-one, I knew time was going to pass too quickly. I couldn’t begin to think of the day we would have to say goodbye. At least I would have this photograph to immortalize this moment in my life.