Have you travelled somewhere and decades later it still comes up in conversation at least once a week?
Maybe it was exquisitely beautiful or you had a most happy memory there. Or perhaps it even changed your life!
Well none of these soul-enriching reasons are why the German town of Dinkelsbühl can be heard through the rooms of my house on any given day. (You probably can already guess why.)
On our first trip to Europe in 1985, my husband and I drove from Vienna to Paris. It was definitely a test of strength for our very new marriage as we hadn’t travelled together before and my map navigation skills were a bit unpractised. So we’d frequently miss turn-offs and get lost, especially when not on a major highway. One rather tense day, we were making our way up Germany’s Romantic Road, in unromantic frames of mind. A stop for gas and lunch was urgently needed so my husband said “Where should we stop?”. When I checked the map, I said “Dinkelsbühl”. And then he asked again, “Where do I exit?”, to which I answered more loudly “Dinkelsbühl!” And the “Who’s on First” routine kept going, until I finally yelled “The name of the town is Dinkelsbühl!!” He started to laugh because he thought he was being called a dinkelsbühl (whatever that is). We howled in laughter, even as we pulled into the town gas station.
And we couldn’t get over how gorgeous the town was – colourful timber houses with blossoming flower boxes on every window, a lovely town square and inviting cafes. We didn’t expect all this beauty when we pulled off the road, but it broke the nasty spell we were under. For the rest of the trip, we’d affectionately call each other “Dinkelsbühl” and giggle, and that name has stayed with us ever since.
And Dinkelsbühl Germany is the subject of my first 2019 miniature ink and watercolour, inspired from a 34 year-old travel photo and story.
When I showed the piece to my son here visiting on business, he asked “Where’s that?” I said “Dinkelsbühl” and he looked at me with a puzzled expression and said “It’s an actual place? I thought it was a name you guys had made up to stop from cursing.” He had heard the word his entire life but not the story behind it. So now he knows…
Oh, the unexpected things we get from travel!
Original ink and watercolour now available at my Etsy Shop here.
So good !
This is a great story!! I tried to find out what Dinkelsbühl really means in English but had no luck.
Hi, Darlene: I looked a few years back but really didn’t land on anything conclusive. Google Translate thinks it means dinosaur, but no other dictionary thinks so. But dinkels means “spelt”, the grain – so perhaps this is closer. Who knows? It however will always mean something else to me – lol!