Monday, September 20, 2021

Traveling With Foolishness


"Me aur meri tanhai" (Me and my loneliness). That is one of the most dramatic lines of Hindi cinema. If I could make any such grand statements, it will be "Me and my foolishness".

People take many things as travel companions and loneliness could be one of them. In my case, I travel with my foolishness and mild to moderate situational depresssion. Actually, the journeys are meant to show the depression new places. Foolishness just tags along for a free ride.

Bad Grund. I think it was foolishness which chose the destination. Generally, me, depression and foolishness look at the internet for places that are cheap enough to go and has a bit of nature.  Germany has a quite a bit of nature destinations; most of them are not particularly spectacular, but they are there. 

Traveling on every weekend or fortnight can be pretty expensive. But then, depression is a tough customer. I have decided that instead of giving it cocaine or alcohol or something similar which are all very expensive, it is better to show it new places. Since Germany is a great country to cry in public without anyone bothering you, traveling with depression hasn't been much of a problem. But a word of caution. If your depression is the suicidal kind, what you need is a hospital and not travel. Since mine is the mild to moderate kind, it has been travel safe so far.

Now on top of this situational depression, foolishness has decided to go and do a stint at heart break. Getting infatuated with uninterested or unavailable men have been foolishness' regular recipe to bring heart break to my door step. This time the candidate is an uninterested and unavailable but cute space cadet with some jelly fish qualities from this part of the world. Nothing but tears is ever going to come out of it. But when foolishness decides to have its way, you can't really do anything about it.

So, it was all getting too much mopping inside my shoebox flat. So, I hurled depression and foolishnesss together and took this journey to Bad Grund.

Now the thing is that no one really goes to Bad Grund. Not even people from Bad Grund want to go there. But Deutsche Bahn religiously runs train services to many such god forsaken places. Since my travel decisions are not always made in the best frame of mind, I often find myself at such places. This time, it was not just the destination. Foolishnesss had gone ahead and booked the worst pension (cheap accomodation) available in the place.

After alighting out of the train in the middle of nowhere, i.e, Bad Grund, I spent 4 hours looking for this pension. After a wrong bus journey which cost me 3.50 Euros, I decided to try the by foot method. This walking business and seeing new sights generally calms depression. However, I had one more unreliable travel companion-google maps. This app which functions with utmost precision in Berlin begins to behave like a drunk teenager outside the city. This time it was suggesting that I should walk over an unguarded railway track. Since in the past I have been brought to near death experiences by this drunk teenager version of this app, I decided to ignore the suggestion about the railway track. Eventually, with the help of a kind lady who didn't speak much English, I reached the pension at around 8 pm.

The woman who was running the pension told me that the check in time was over. I was dreading this and was cursing foolishness for booking this pension. I told the woman that I was roaming around for 4 hours trying to find this fucking pension from its hiding place. Eventually, she decided to take me in. I guess it was because they were not exactly overflowing with customers. So far all the communication have been happening in sign language since she refused to speak English and I did not know any German. She also conveyed in sign language that since I am in Germany, I should speak German. By this time, I wanted to ask her about her local AFD unit; but I decided to keep it for another day because I was too tired.

She gave me a rickety key to a rickety room. The room was built by an architect who clearly belonged to the drunk teenager school of architecture. It looked like a bad train cabin. The walls were paper thin and you could hear coughs from many rooms. That was when I remembered that Bad Grund after all has one claim to fame. It is considered to be a good place to recover from respiratory illnesses. The pension was clearly filled with people who hoped for such recovery. So, I had a sleepless night, admiring this sound design from hell that included lot of coughing, some flushing of tolilets and a wailing baby or 2.

As soon as I woke up, I paid my dues and ran from the pension. 

However, not everything about the trip was bad. I took a bus to Osterode to climb a tiny bit of what they call the witches' trail. It helped to calm depression down for a bit. I know it will wake up in a day or two, but any respite is good.

And, Bad Grund also has the kindest of bus drivers. They will always take in a teary eyed traveller and will ensure that she reaches her destination even if she can't speak any word of German.

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