“Destination: Garmisch, Germany. Five hours, thirty-seven minutes. Take the first right, then turn left.” the monotone voice of our trusty GPS echoed through the car. We did as we were told. I looked out the window, which appeared as though I was watching the Travel Channel. I wished we could wake up in Locarno every morning. I’d swim in the lake every day, and watch the stars while being cradled by the Swiss Alps every night.
“Everyone, come on.” My dad said, waking us up. My eyes awoke to a blurry world, and focused on a sign that said, “Autogrill”. Instinctively, I stepped out of the car, and allowed all the blood to rush back into my legs. I slowly approached the doors.
“Oh my god. Kinder? Yes.” I grabbed a jumbo pack of the sweet German chocolates and smiled back at the little boy on the package. I glanced around the store for my mom.
“Mom?” No answer. Suddenly, all the kinder-generated happiness evaporated and was replaced with unsettling thoughts. I scanned the store once more and saw an old man descend into the ground. “What?” I walked over cautiously and realized there were stairs. I walked down and went to the Ladies’ Room. “Mom?”
“Yes.” Relief eased back into my body.
“I got Kinder!” I replied. She made her way to the sink and laughed, “Okay.”
We exited the restroom and i was blinded by the flash of my mom’s camera. Stars and sparkles flooded my vision, and slowly faded to reveal a playroom. Without thinking, I ran in and sat in a little car.
“Hey guys, check out my ride!” I yelled, while laughing. My sister replied with only giggles. “My turn!” She exclaimed. I sprinted to a giraffe shaped chair and posed with my new animal friend. After nearly twenty minutes, we decided to leave our playground. We walked up the stairs, and my brother appeared. “Hey, look at this!” He said as he vanished into a hole. “Where does it go?” I said in bewilderment. “Find out!” My mom said.
We all had found our way back into the playroom. Laughter filled the air and tears filled our eyes at the ridiculousness of the situation. We looked up, only to see that we were being observed by a group of elderly men with smiles on their faces.
“Okay… time to go.” I said as we laughed. We forced ourselves up the stairs once more, and left all temptation behind us.
“Where are we anyways?” I asked as we approached my dad.
“I’m not sure.” He replied.
“Are we in Germany?”
“No, I think we’re still in Switzerland.”
We pulled out of the Autogrill and headed for the rest of our journey. I thought to myself about how much fun I had at that little rest stop we had stumbled upon. I pondered, and revealed to myself that maybe it doesn’t matter where you go. Anywhere you travel is just another location on a map. It’s the people, and the memories you make in those places that make everything reality.
I smiled at the world outside my window, and closed my eyes while the soft hum of the radio narrated my dreams.
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