Tolkien famously wrote,
“Not all those who wander are lost”, a line from the poem ‘All that is gold does not glitter’, written by J. R. R. Tolkien
Today’s story comes from my very own brother Dan, who tells us of the joy found in times of silly human error, through the appreciation of unplanned discovery.
I got a train from Frankfurt to Koblenz (note: Also spelled “Coblenz” or “Coblence,” this German city is situated on both banks of the Rhine).
Having arrived after a lengthy trip, I got off the train and got myself a coffee. I was asked to pay a couple of Francs for this. Feeling perplexed, I paid the barista in Euros and wandered down the street to the local petrol station following a map saved on my tablet that showed me how I was to get across the river to “Schoenstatt” – a community I was heading to.
The bread was so expensive in the petrol station, I had no idea why. But I continued on my journey. On arriving at the bridge having followed my map, I noticed a sign that read “Welcome to Switzerland”.
Flabbergasted I cross the bridge, and thereby the border! After chatting to a lady in her car, we work out that my map was for the “other” Koblenz (not the little Swiss one that I had found myself in!). I felt the whole situation to be hilarious and humbling. What a fool I had been! I had got a train to the wrong country, Switzerland, and spent about an hour thinking I was in Germany! She was extremely generous and offered me a lift to the train station in time for a train that I was about to miss. She also left me with a handful delicious apples.
What an experience! Made all the more special by the ridiculousness of it all, that and the generosity of a stranger.
Later, I got on a train to see my friend who I hadn’t seen in years up in Freiburg, Germany. It was a great day with picturesque views of a little sailing boat (pictured above) on the Rhein as I travelled Northbound to the correct Koblenz.
The whole experience highlighted the importance of kindness and helping each other. Kindness can help those who are lost to find a home through another’s friendship and get back on the right path.
Perhaps there is nothing that doesn’t happen for a reason?
Now let’s all chip in and get Dan a Satnav for Christmas.
(Photo – Dan – Germany – 2015)
(Quote – J.R.R Tolkien)