|A flyer for the Schützenfest. I'm told it is a critical element of the local social (read: drinking) calendar.|
|Through a mirror, darkly, but only because it was a bit overcast.|
Ochtrup isn't far from the border with the Netherlands, so it's also not far from the border city of Enschede. This city is famous for a fireworks warehouse explosion nearly 15 years ago but we primarily went there for the large outdoor market and the curious sensation of seeing all the road signs switch over from German to Dutch with little notice. It doesn't help that stop signs in the Netherlands stay STOP on them.
|The market at Enschede. I'm not sure what those twisty metal structures are but the birds sure like them.|
|The lady finds her Backfisch. This market had more fresh fish than you could shake a squid at.|
|Here's some of that fish!|
|It's not all seafood. There are also buttons.|
|Also present: fries, the potato kind. They're just called patat, giving the impression you will be sold an entire potato.|
Not shown: that evening, which I spent drinking with some delightful old ladies. They do enjoy their schnapps and bolle (the latter is primarily sparkling wine with fruit in it, much like sangria).
The next morning was time for a visit to the Ferienhof Laurenz. It's a working farm with a restaurant, accommodations (including the aforementioned hay hotel, which is essentially a hay loft one can legally sleep in), gift shop, and friendly animals. After an excellent brunch, we visited all those attractions, but mostly the animals. Farm tourism is a force of nature in Germany to an extent that's difficult to describe, but if you've ever visited Lancaster, PA then imagine that area's tourism strategy without its dependence upon religious minorities but with a greater emphasis on an ambiguous rural way of life.*
|The brunch room. It's ready for Pinterest. Observe the many eggs.|
|This cow is artificial.|
|Do not assume the cow is alive.|
|It's authentic! We would have purchased gourds but they're easier to get at home and difficult to get through Customs.|
|It's the Hay Hotel! It sleeps 40.|
|Hello there, goat. If you look closely, you can observe my reflection in the goat's eye.|
|It wasn't the right time of day for the Biergarten.|
|We stopped at the Dreiländersee after brunch. It's a popular lake, especially with camping tourists, though it's quite small - if it was any larger, it would be in the Netherlands (or Saxony, at least).|
|You can't quite See it yet.|
|Aha, there it is. The Dreiländersee, that is.|
|Bonus photo: Dutch home goods.|
*I think this may be referred to as Hofleben in more than a few places, at least in the context of a Bauernhof (a farmstead). Hofleben looks like it can also mean "court life". Either way, your current lifestyle is likely not one of Hofleben.