I hop on my next Luftansa flight, this time starting in Berlin, laptop and projector ready for the first official presentation of the MotoSoul concept. I meet with a woman who has bought an old manor house in the middle of no-where and converted it to a hotel and high end restaurant. We sit at the KaDeWe at the coffee bar for a few hours talking about many things, but mostly about “if she had it to do all over again would she, and what would she do differently.” During this time I learn a whole lot about the hotel and restaurant business due to her willingness to be open and answer all of my varied questions.
Next stop Döben, and I know this will be a great one! The address on my GPS reads 1 Schlossstrasse (Castle Street). How cool is that! The Key Keeper of the Castle has arranged for me to stay at the Guest House of the von Below’s at Schloss Döben. I have already googled this in advance and learned a bit of the history and seen pictures of the family. From reading the history and seeing the good work they do in the community I have “a good stomach feeling” as the Germans say!
I arrive to find that lovely combination of what is restored, what is new, and what is left in ruin. The picture, when put together, creates a feeling of warmth and love that overwhelms me. I meet the lady of the house, Frau Dorothea von Below and from the first moment know that we will be friends. We laugh together, as she tells me that the Key Keeper had me stay there to see if I could survive the cold of sleeping in a castle with no heat but the fire to warm you – sort of like a test drive! However I must admit the modern inclusion of in floor heating is a nice touch!
I am eager to get to Schloss Mutzschen and to see the areas that we did not have the keys for on my last visit. But first, Dorothea and I attend the opening reception for the Denkmal (historical preservation authority) Fair in Leipzig. I wander off on my own after the opening speeches and happen to briefly share a table with a woman who heads the International Women’s Group in Leipzig. We have a lively discussion about living as a foreigner in the region. Amongst the many things she shared, the best thing of all was her strong recommendation for the school I had selected for my children. She offered to put me in touch with other families that have their children there, in addition to anything else I might need. The group meets once a month and speaks in English, so I look forward to participating in that one I move here.
I wander a bit and I find Dorothea surrounded by a group of people that look like an interesting crowd. I learn that they are part of the “castle owners” club in the region. We laugh about what it takes to embark on this journey and how you have to be both adventurer and dreamer to even consider it. A little bit of eccentricity seems to be the common thread, which means I fit in just fine. They laugh about my motorbike hotel idea, but also realize that it is my passion, and as a group, I think they can all relate to pursuing your passion, so therefore I am instantly welcomed.