I discovered Gois while I was waiting for my van to be repaired in the garage in Wals. I dropped it off at 7:30am so I had the day to kill til 3pm which is when they said it would be ready.
Wals is tiny so it took me one hour to explore the village so I crossed the main road and set off for the foothills of the mountains I could see.
I walked through a group of a couple of dozen houses then came out the other side and could see more houses and a church about a mile away. Halfway there was a lone tree by a field, with a bench underneath and I thought to myself ‘That’s perfect for a sit in the shade to cool off. ‘
And sure enough it was. The sun was scorching at about 35 degrees that day so to get a little shade was great for me and for Jack.
So I took my pack off and gave him a drink and I also had one for the first time from the Bobble bottle I bought. I first saw them in Tesco: plastic 75ml bottles with a filter cartridge in the mouthpiece. You can buy replacement cartridges and I thought at the time what a brilliant idea! However Tesco wanted £14.99 per bottle and £8.99 per cartridge. Lol I was never going to pay that. The idea was excellent but the product is simple and cheap.
A couple of years later I saw them again one day in Tesco, very much the same price except for some weird reason the blue opaque ones were cheaper. £4.99 and £2.99 for a cartridge. Supposedly you get 300 fills from a cartridge so that’s not bad value at all. I love the idea of not needing to buy overly expensive bottled water, and not creating yet more waste for landfills. But come on Bobble, you’re not exactly using brand new highly developed technology so I don’t get the silly prices.
So I bought one anyway and 2 cartridges and had filled it from a public fountain in Wals. I’d watched the council come around at about 8am and fill about 40 litres of god knows what chemicals into the fountain: bleach? Most of these types of fountains are not mains fed they use the same water over and over so they need to keep it clean. Anyway I filled my bottle more to try it out than anything, the water was warm, but sweet and fine so that was money well spent. It lasted about 3 fill ups then the lid split totally rendering it utterly useless. *sigh*
I note PC World of all places sell them too but they want about a tenner each pfft. Not that I would buy a thing from them ever again!
Anyway I digress. I was sitting minding my own business, watering the dog, making sure he was in the shade, checking his paws as we’d been on a hot pavement for a while, and answering the phone when suddenly this bloke comes out of nowhere and speaks in German to me.
I shrugged “No sprecken zie Deutsch.” And he says in lovely English “Do you mind if I sit with you?”
Well had this been the UK I’d have been suspicious and wondered if he was a dogger or scammer or something. But I noted the sandwich bag in his hand so I moved my stuff to make room and asked him to sit.
He of course had to fuss Jack a little, mainly cos Jack wasn’t going to let him get away without doing it. But he seemed happy to so I let him have his emotional fix and only intervened when Jack smelled the sandwich. The man sat and started eating it and Jack got bored and started digging a hole by the tree. He loves digging holes.
That sarnie looked mighty tasty so I said “Yum that looks nice!”
He laughed and said it was, although he’d have preferred chicken if they’d had it. And so we talked about sandwiches for about 15 minutes. Yes, 2 grown men, complete strangers, sitting in the shade of a single tree, in the middle of farmers fields, in blazing sunshine chatting about various sandwich fillings and then onto types of bread.
We agreed that Schwarzbrot is one of the best breads going and the American Max Super Soft sandwich bread which is all over Europe was about the worst.
I picked my rucsac up and got the dog and said bye as he was finishing his sandwich and he waved as we walked away and you know what? I felt amazingly relaxed and content after having a completely unexpected but innocent and pleasant conversation about nothing more than bread and sandwich fillings!
How odd life can be!
So we continued down into Gois and the little church on the little hill was looking rather pretty so I decided to have a wander up and see if it was open. They usually are not I have found here and I don’t know why that is, as God’s house is always supposed to be open. Anyway I wanted to try but on the way I found some horses in stables. They were beautiful, obviously not your normal old nag, more your classy equine.
I stopped to feed them cos like, if you pass an animal you have to feed it right? I have no idea why, I just know it’s true. How many kids have grown up feeding the ducks before they can even say quack?
Of course Jack wanted in on it as soon as I started to feed them. He made a very good effort to get over the little concrete wall so he could give the horse a big slobbery terrier kiss, and then probably tease it into having a little playful run around. Cos that’s how Jack thinks and that’s what Jack does.
Ask me to see the videos of him and the lambs. Go on ask me…
Anyway, feeding time was over so we continued on to the church and as we got closer to the dozen or so houses that surrounded it an old lady hove into view holding the hand of a little girl about 3 years old. Her other hand was dragging a little kiddies trike along behind her and I felt a pang thinking yup. All parents have gone through that ha.
Well dogs are really popular for some reason over here so I know they’d come over to say hello and they did. And Jack licked the little girls hands and face cos he knows they taste of yummy sweet things.
And she thought it was fabulous and laughed and danced. And the old lady laughed, so not to be left out I did too. And Jack was grinning.
Now people say dogs can’t smile. Load of horseshit. Ask anyone who has a dog and they will tell you they smile all the time. And Jack was smiling cos we were all laughing and we were actually having a really nice day.
So I continued on to the church getting a couple of photos of it from the bottom of the hill, then walking up the steep grass to have a look inside.
The main doors were open but there was a very substantial metal grille which locked the entranceway. I have no idea if it is a result of crime or respect for God that they lock the churches.
I snapped a shot off and then the old lady was there again with the little girl.
I baptise thee in the name of the Lord
She spoke no English and I speak no German but she managed to indicate that the child was baptised here. Oddly the font was in the porch, before the metal grille so I mimed baptising the little girl and we all laughed again. Apart from Jack. He was outside digging a hole.
So I pointed inside the church and told the old lady that it reminded me of the Italian chapel on Orkney. She seemed to be surprised and then made a face as if to say “Why yes, now you’ve said that I see the resemblance.“ Of course she had no clue what I’d said.
Anyway that was fun chatting to someone who has no understanding at all of your language but making yourself understood anyway, so I rewarded her by calling Jack over and asking him to give a left paw, then a right one to the little girl, who thought that was the best thing ever. So good in fact that she dropped her dummy.
I stopped Jack of course before he slobbered all over it and waved to the little girl and said “Bye bye” and she said clearly and strongly “Bye bye” as she waved a hand. Awww. No language, but loads of communication.
My little visit had been nice to Gois but it was almost time to move on now. I walked down the hill and past some new apartments, built in traditional style but modern materials and each block had their own underground parking. How cool?
I found another tree with some seating underneath. The Austrian councils seem to actually care about their citizens unlike most UK councils. It was lovely once again sitting in the shade and cooling off.
I noticed a piece of artwork installed next to the seating. This is in the middle of agricultural land, with the nearest large town about 6 miles away. I was most impressed. A very small village but a beautiful one, some really do know how to live.
I spent a little longer watching the farmer set up some automatic sprinklers for his lettuce and then set off back to Wals. I’d finished the water so getting some more was my next priority.