last july i visited a dear friend of mine from st. petersburg who at the time lived in the bavarian town of passau. it was a short but perfect weekend that we lightheartedly dubbed ‘pastoral’. we rode bikes through a forest and along a river to reach a farm where we drank apple cider and ate fresh bread with a pâté spread. it smelled strongly of cow dung throughout the journey. the weather was very hot and we took a swim in a lake. despite hordes of people there it was quiet. i enjoy quiet. obviously, it was one of the best weekends i’ve ever spent with a friend.