Like I previously said, sometimes a ride just comes, and sometimes you must wait for the right one to finally arrive. Synchronization of the serendipitous moment. This time we had to wait. It’s not like this was the busiest highway. The main road would have led across the border directly into Salzburg, Austria, but we were let out on a more minor road that was on the German side.
We waited patiently as a couple of cars passed us, obviously not our rides. Time passed, and we watched the flowers growing on the side of the road. We were sure we saw a new leaf or two sprout as we waited. Another car passed, then a truck. Tired, we wondered if we would need to climb up the hill and set up the tent when a small box truck pulled over. “Need a ride? Where are you going?”
“We are going to Slovenia to an International Peace Gathering.” We said.
“Well, I can take you a little way, and offer you a bed for the night, if you like,” the driver said.
That sounded good to us, so we climbed into his truck. Hans introduced himself, and we introduced ourselves. The truck was full of empty bottles that clanked a little as he pulled back onto the road. “What are you doing with all these empty bottles? We asked.
“My wife, Inge, and I are importers of olive oil. We bottle it up and sell it to some of Munich’s nicer restaurants. I’m on my way home to fill a huge order. I hope we can finish it on time.” He said.
“Is there something we can do to help?” We asked.
“Maybe! You could help us put our labels on the bottles and perhaps help fill them up!” He said excitedly.
Beautiful little home
He, his wife Inge, and young children lived in a very small community of just a few houses in the middle of a large expanse of farmland. Their tiny house, which he had built, was indeed a work of art. After showing us our sleeping quarters, similar in size to our tent with a large skylight to look at the stars, we were invited to dinner with the family. Stirfried vegetables, rice, and homemade bread with, you guessed it, some amazingly delicious olive oil! They had barrels and barrels of it that they had imported from Italy.
After a lovely dinner with wine and stimulating conversation, exchanging travel stories and local history, we climbed up into our berth and pulled up the covers. Being in the countryside, there was no light pollution, so we could see all the stars shining brightly in the night sky. We talked softly to each other about how absolutely lucky we were to be on this beautiful adventure. I watched the stars until I fell asleep.
In the morning, we woke to the sound of a rooster and bottles softly clinking and clanking. Sliding out of bed and down the ladder, we walked down the short hallway to the kitchen, where Hans and his wife were already wiping the bottles and preparing to place the labels. “Would you like something to eat or some coffee?” Inge asked.
“Mmmm, coffee would be nice, thank you! So, let us know what we can do to help you with the olive oil.” Donna said.
“It’s easy. First, we just need to fill the bottles, placing one here and turning the tap to fill it to this point. No more, no less. When we get enough done, we put the labels on and put them in these boxes!”
“Seems easy enough!”
“It is, but quite tedious after a few hundred,” Hans replied.
We watched them go into production as we drank our coffee and woke up a bit. It was a pretty simple process, so we took over while they got their two kids ready and out the door for school. One of us wiped off the bottles while the other filled them and set them to the side. Before long, we were operating like a well-oiled machine. Swish, swish, clinkety clank, glug, glug, cork. One more wiping after several cue up on the side, and the placing of labels began. It was tedious work, as Hans had said, but being new to us, it was still fun. We had several boxes of olive oil filled and ready to go by lunch. “That’s a good beginning, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is to be done. We’ll take over and give you a break,” Hans said.
“I don’t feel so good”
They were admittedly more experienced and faster than we were. I welcomed the break and was feeling a little woozy. I decided to lie down as production continued. When I woke up, it was much later. I was sweating quite a bit and felt too warm. Donna took my temperature and told me to stay in bed while she continued to help with the olive oil bottling.
That day, evening, and next morning all blurred together for me as the three of them continued working. By that afternoon, I was over the fever and functional enough to help place labels on the remaining bottles. Whatever it was knocked me out for a day! We all celebrated my recovery and the completion of the bottling. They were grateful for the help, and I was grateful for a good place to recover. It was agreed the next morning Hans would return to Munich to deliver the order. On the way he would take us to the border where we could cross into Austra and continue on with our travels south.
Sometimes a ride just comes, and sometimes you must wait for the right one to finally arrive.