Volcanic ash may be swirling in the air high above me, but here in Mainz the sun is shining, light streaming through the windows onto crisp white walls. Sara and Taylor's apartment is immaculatly decorated, starting with a palette of pure white as the backdrop. Orchids soak up the sun, nestled next to window panes that peek out from under gabled dormers, and a triangle of glass in the loft lets in light from the terrace. I've hung the sheets outside to dry in the unseasonably warm weather, hopeful that they might be dry within the hour, at which point I'll be headed out to catch another train, this time for Luxembourg, taking all my luggage with me and leaving behind the key to this lovely place.
The only thing that would have made it better, I have to concede, would be if Sara herself were here. But as fate would have it, she and her husband were off to the United States mere days before I flew into Frankfurt, with the result that I would up with a free place to stay but no company with whom to share it.
It's been a lovely week, though, and I can't even muster up the will to worry about whether or not Iseland's ongoing volcanic erruption will prove disruptive to the tour I'm scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Brussels or not. For the first time in a long while, I will be leaving this afternoon with no reservations, only a plan to stop by the hostel in Luxembourg city, hoping they have a bed available (although I can't claim to really be so adventurous and devil-may care, considering I did check their website yesterday to make sure they weren't fully booked).
I'll miss my temporary home in Mainz, but it's also time to pick up the pace and get back into the travel routine, for I don't really conside what I've been doing this past week to be travel in the true sense of the word. A break from the routine, sure, and definitely a means of getting away from it all, spending time on my own without any agenda other than to do nothing beyond what I feel like doing, something which is surprisingly difficult to accomplish at home.
Goodbye, Germany. We'll meet again soon, I hope. Maybe in this very same apartment, over one more cup of tea.