I secretly harbour a burning, fiery love (to the core of my being) for little village towns. I love the homey atmosphere, the cosy houses, that lovely, blanketing feeling of fire and smoke and cooking things on a stove, the sense of quietude and calm, the clean air, the simplicity. It's for this reason that I've always loved travelling to our family friend's beautiful house in a blue mountains town for this reason. It's also for this reason that I harbour not so easily realisable desires to abscond to a cabin somewhere isolated and secluded to cook, and write, and be alone.
I think that's why I was so comfortable in Oberammergau, the little alpine town we travelled to in Bavaria. We arrived in the dead of night and didn't have much chance to see the surroundings, other than the spire of the town's beautiful embellished church. So when the sun rose the next day it was almost shocking to see that we were surrounded by perfectly formed Gingerbread houses, sloped roof, wooden shuttered windows, hand-painted houses and all. Famous for its wood carvings and its annual Easter crucifiction re-enactment (images from the event were stenciled all over the houses, and immortalised in wooden figurines), Oberammergau reminded me of a children's book we used to have as kids. In it, a family with 14 children (many sets of twins) lived in a mountain town in a cute little cottage, where the mother would make elderflower jam and the children would frolic in the woods. One snowy day (it had turned into winter quite quickly) a carriage went past carrying the King and Queen and their sons and daughters, who came into the house for refreshment and tried the mother's jams. The Queen instantly fell in love and asked the mother to come to the court to be her royal jam-maker. While there, the Queen's four eldest children fell in love with the four eldest of the alpine children, and they had an extravagant quadruple wedding complete with fur hoods and sleigh rides and a cake filled with elderflower jam.
Of course, it's easy when you put it all together. It's the child in me that loves these kinds of towns, the child in me that loves cottages and gingerbread houses and that truly idyllic, truly story-book kind of dream location.