Vacations can be stressful. So much pressure and expectations of having that ‘very good time’ can take the fun right out of it. Planning is necessary but ultimately you need to put everything on hold at some point and just enjoy the fact you’re alive.
After my day of mountain madness it felt awfully good to sleep in and let the day dictate what’s next. Breakfast came at lunchtime and the day officially started at about 3 pm. Thanks to Ibuprofen and being reasonably fit, I woke with little or no pain. The most exertion was writing the story of our ‘mountain hike’. When that was put to bed, we climbed on our bikes and rode along Lake Konstanz, the most beautiful lake in southern Germany, to the neighboring town of Überlingen. When you’ve spent a day clutching the side of a mountain and cheating death there’s something reassuring about a stroll through a medieval town with discrete shops, charming cafes housed in ancient buildings and views across the lake to evermore charming villages and castles.
An invitation to dinner at the home of one of my oldest and dearest friends was just the ticket. That night at their home in an old converted train station in the storied town of Salem, home to one of the most beautiful private schools in all of Europe by the same name, we sat, ate and drank the most delicious meal we’ve had since our arrival.
Doddy and his wife Cordula are the most welcoming and loving hosts I know. He and I apprenticed under Hubert de Givenchy in Paris together as 20 year olds back in the 80’s. His path led to the house of Courreges then to Bogner, the ultimate in ski wear known the world over. He’s been Creative Director for the past 30 years (an unheard of tenure nowadays). Doddy, Gotthardin Thylman is his full name, inspired and encouraged me to start my business way back when. Our shared experiences from that time have held us close for all these many years. Spending an evening talking about the impending election, the twists and turns of getting older and reminiscing about our insane time together in Paris made for an evening I hoped would never end.
It was the sort of evening that makes you glad to be alive. It was so clear to me that it’s our friends and lovers that define and make us who we are. I feel extremely fortunate to have those sorts of friends. All the adventure, excitement and glamor of a charmed life means little if there’s no one to share it with. That wretched mountain that almost got the better me was a blessing in disguise. I learned once again that it’s not the big things, the stuff that inflates an already inflated ego, accomplishments or the lack thereof that make one feel good or bad that matters. It’s simple humanity and an appreciation for taking another breath or gazing at a glorious sunset that can give you peace of mind.
You don’t have to go half way around the world to find it. It’s right there in your hands all along. I forget all too often what a good life this is.