We stayed in Munich a couple more days in the graciously offered apartment of the Tom & Jerry family. The location was ideal as the town center was only a three to five-minute walk through a local neighborhood and a park. Having successfully busked and built a good travel fund, we decided it was time to hit the road again. We cleaned up the apartment and packed our backpacks before dropping the key in the mailbox as directed. We walked out to the highway. Several other younger couples strung along the exit, sticking their thumbs out in hopes of a ride. Before long, a car drove slowly by the hitchhikers but stopped just in front of us, and we ran as fast as we could with our heavy packs to the waiting car.
“Where are you going?” the well-dressed businessman asked.
“We are on our way to Slovenia,” we answered.
“I’m not going that far, but I can take you a little way,” he said.
So we climbed in, putting Donna and the backpacks in the backseat. I climbed in upfront. He asked where we were from and what we were doing. I gave all the answers that we had come to abbreviate into a short statement that easily flowed out. “We are curious why you chose us as you drove by the other hitchhikers?” I asked
“Because you looked like you would have an interesting story!” He replied.
Then we told him of our adventures so far. He told us he was an insurance salesman. Suddenly, he pointed at the landscape and said, “Look, there’s a castle.”
Donna excitedly said, “We’ve never actually seen a castle before! Being from America, we just don’t have them!”
“Well then, I will just have to take you to the one where I’m going! It’s a lovely castle that I know you will like,” he said. “I’m on my way to a wedding in the town below the castle where I live.” We enjoyed the scenery of Germany’s beautiful countryside, and before long, we arrived. He pulled his car up to the parking in front of the archway entrance, and we got out. “We can come back for your backpacks. I would normally invite you into town to stay, but with the wedding…” he trailed off.
“No problem. We understand. Let’s go see the castle!” Donna said.
We walked through the huge archway and picked up a brochure from the rack. “Burghausen Castle, which has a length of over 1,000 metres, is one of the longest castle complexes in the world. With its still almost intact ring walls, it runs high above the town of Burghausen along a narrow ridge between the Salzach River and an oxbow lake, the Wöhrsee,” we read.
Our driver then informed us, “But unfortunately, the interior is closed right now. But, we can still walk around the grounds.” And that is what we did. There was an information station where if you paid a Deutschmark a speaker box would tell some history of the castle. He put a coin in and said, “This is on me.” It was terribly distorted and very low volume, but it didn’t matter. We were standing on the grounds of our very first castle.
After a while, we walked back to the car, and he drove us to where the road would lead us south. We thanked him and said our goodbyes. We stuck out our thumbs and waited. Sometimes a ride just comes, and sometimes you must wait for the right one to finally arrive. Synchronization of the serendipitous moment.