On our last afternoon in Germany we drove to the ruined castle of Plesse. A plaque there noted that Goethe visited there in 1801 - doubtless for the same reason as we: to soak up the romantic atmosphere. We were there in the late afternoon, surveying the long valley before us, the ridge to the west across from us, and the thickly forested hillside behind us. We squinted at the trucks on the highway to judge whether a passing caravan of traders would have been visible and imagined means of defense and attack of the castle. Anabel and I had an interesting talk about overcoming the antipathy towards studying war. Regardless of its folly, it is another window on the human soul, which is the great subject. Not to mention the watershed effect of certain wars on the development of societies. This subject came up as we walked toward a playground near the castle. Simon and I and the three younger children played for a long time - first balancing on fallen tree trunks and duelling with sticks and then making castles in the sandbox.
For me, one highlight of our last meal together was trying some different beer. We had been drinking mostly Einbeck lager and some of their excellent bock. I had also enjoyed Hasseröder Pils at one stop. This night, J and I picked up a sampling of beer at the supermarket, the best of which was Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel - made in a Bavarian monastery and worth a pilgrimage.