Its was a Monday morning In Ireland, school run was done and I had just been served my morning coffee by the friendly South African coffee shop owner when I overhead what I thought sounded like a German conversation.
Adjusting my eyes and fine tuning my ears I finally spotted a group of young ladies chatting away in a language that appeared familiar. Even though I don't understand the lingo I smiled at the recognizable sound produced by the long blond tresses owner when she spoke to another blond hair girl seating next to a red hair and freckles youthful face. I wondered if the latter had family Irish roots while I considered the possibility that they were exchange students or maybe language assistants in one of the numerous schools in the area.
Unaware, I think my facial expression was probably showing a grin when I ended up day dreaming about my numerous trips to the land of Goethe. I have lost count but I have probably travelled to Germany more than two hundred times in the last twenty years. Mainly for professional purpose but not only. While I have not been to Berlin, I know Cologne, Aachen and Munich pretty well. Most of those cities and surrounding suburbs would have welcomed me for anything from an ambitious day trip to a week long stay. A week long stay would give me a chance to settle and offer me the opportunity to practice my favourite early morning ritual: Running.
Travelling and running have always been an intertwined lifestyle habit. I have ran in many countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal ,UK and France obviously but also less travelled spots such as Dubai, Moscow, Kiev, Tallin or even Sarajevo in Bosnia to name a few. That's said, there has always been something special about running at dawn in one of the German Landers.
Shoelaces usually tied by 6.00 am and equipped with a head torch or a reflective high viz vest I would brave fog and light drizzle in the winter or enjoy the rising sun in the summer.
While in some countries I would have wandered in the streets or parks on my own meeting only a few early risers, I was often reminded that the first light of the day triggerered a hive of activity in Germany. Getting up before dawn, people seemed to gear up to local train stations, kids were heading hastily to creches, teenagers cooly waited at bus stops not without having purchased a giant pretzel for breakfast or one of those massive yummy sandwiches.
When running I could observe how calm, unfussy and delectably comforting grown ups and youngsters entered the day in what seemed to be a well choreographed routine. I don't how to describe it but it appears to me that only in Germany I had that tangible feeling about life slowly lighting up, life bringing an almost palpable feeling of confidence, landing a soft but convincing sense of purpose. An altogether incontrovertible proof that existence was not about shiny living but more about a characteristic state of being. Time and time again I have always found the experience to be almost mystical if not complete, a mood trigger that was pleasantly upbeat.
I believe there is definitely something deliciously reassuring about German mornings and I wondered that day, all the while my hot cup was sip begging, if one of the three girls in the Café had been asking the other two what was the day about to bring.
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