Monday, June 9, 2008


Just got back from a wonderful weekend.  Short but wonderful.  A few years ago I ran across an article in one of my many home deco magazines about a farm not too far from here (almost a 3 hour drive), and it was love at first sight.  I had always been hoping to find a nice get-away, where we could spend some holiday time each year, gather memories, have adventures and just let our souls lavish in beautiful surroundings.  Well, I’ve found it!  Grillenöd is a romantically isolated property about half an hour away from Passau (itself a jem), at the end of a long winding dirt road which leads up through an “Alle” of oak trees.  The Swedish style farm was lovingly and tastefully built over a ten year period by the Swedish wolf researcher, Eric Zimen and his artist wife.  Since his death 5 years ago, Mona Zimen has managed to run the farm, work full time as a teacher, raise their 4 adoptive kids from Columbia, host children’s camps two weeks every summer as well as several weekends throughout the year, run a guest house, and expand her already impressive artistic repertoire to include sculpting.  It was inspiring and exciting to meet such an accomplished woman.

Contrary to the internet weather reports, the sun held the stage until  way past supper time Saturday, when stormy weather finally drew the curtain on out door activities.  Jan, our kids and the two Zimen boys cooled down in the pond before and after lunch, while I tried to relax and read on the pier.  This was after visits to the horses, ponies, and donkeys and an energetic soccer game.  The kids got to hold a new born lamb, and play “Mary” to the tame lamb, which would have even followed them to school had it been a Monday.  It was hilarious watching this sheep “hang out” with the group of kids as if they were a flock of sheep.  Charis made breakfast for Jan and I, even getting the eggs herself from the chicken hutch.  Sunday was another beautiful and sunny day of sleeping in, an unhurried breakfast, and quickly packing. The kids took another dip in the pond, while we enjoyed getting to know Mona Zimen, who was finishing off a bronze bust, and an acquaintance of her family, Joseph.  Again, it was the stormy weather which called curfew to our visit, and finally sent us on our way home an hour after we had actually planned to leave.  

We signed the kids up for a week-long summer camp, which is the first week of summer break in August.  Jan and I hope to get back there sometime as well for a longer stay, if not this year than next.  Sure beats the long drive to Sweden! 

 I'm posting more pictures on piccasa, and you can check out the website to see even better pictures from my list of links under the title "Check it Out.    


Anonymous said...

Pardon me? She works full-time as a teacher, single mother of 4, runs a guest house and works on her art? Please tell me she has some help, or I will be very depressed as of this minute.

Lee Fischer said...

Yes, she had someone who cooked and cleaned for her, up until recently. I was relieved to find that out too! She has someone to come and clean the guest house.