As the sun was throwing fewer beams of warm light through the panes of Bilbo’s windows, now settling behind the tall mountains of the west, I began to hear guests congregating outside. Party business interrupted what would have surely been a nap at Bilbo’s desk.
There is a certain fellowship one feels even among seeming strangers at events like these, and Tolkien Society members will know exactly what I’m talking about. You may see old friends only once a year, or every few years, but often it feels like no time has passed at all. Hugs, arm-clasps, boisterous laughter and long awaited conversations begin as old and new friends begin to arrive. A wide array of ages, backgrounds, languages and nations all converged at this one party for what truly felt an International Tolkien Fellowship. I raised my glass to Marcel, Shaun, Becky, Rene, Jay and many friends old and new. The Greisinger’s provided a welcome dinner in the spacious convention room which is a giant underground garage; the long expected party had officially begun.
There is no need to fear the giant Rhino as he is kept in check by five solid marble lions!
Its not everyday you get to see a massive armored Rhino head in the mountains of Switzerland.
As the evening wore on, the long travel combined with ale & food began to weigh upon my eyelids. I gathered my bags and left the dinner with the skill of a burglar. When I opened my eyes the next morning, it was to the sound of a bell ringing seven times. I could not help but think of “bells ringing in the dale”. I could see the source of the sound from my room’s window:
I walked down from the third floor of the
Prancin… Gasthaus zur Traube, and met some new friends from Holland who were staying there as well. Together, before breakfast, we met the “stone-carrying wolf-dog of Jenins”. As we were standing outside the Gasthaus, this hairy grey dog pranced up to us and dropped a rock at our feet. He just stared at the rock, then us, then back at the rock. There was a certain peculiar intelligence in the beast’s eyes. One of us kicked the rock, and sure enough the dog darted after it, picked it up and dropped it back at our feet. Yes, he was a rock fetching dog. We all wondered at the humor of it. I decided to take a walk around town and meet my new friends later for breakfast. The stone-carrying wolf-dog followed me…
…and he followed me, and followed yet more – all around town. He walked in the center of the streets, yet if he heard a car coming he would move to one side to let it pass, then back into the street. When I talked to him he would let out a quiet bark. I asked him which way to go and he led me to the Duke of Rohan. This is not simply a tall tale, but a true one. Just as I was deciding to turn back for breakfast, I saw the tall statue in the distance. My wolfish guide led me well. I decided to take a quick look at the statue, and you can imagine my incredulous reaction as the inscription read “Henri, Duke of Rohan”. Duke of Rohan? Surely Bernd had something to do with this being put here.
I later found out from Bernd that he too was just as surprised to find the Duke of Rohan so close to his Middle-earth themed museum. Jenins has Rohan to thank for bringing their famed grape vines to the region. After my visit with the Duke, I turned back to join my friends for breakfast. The wolf dog followed me all the way back to the Gasthaus. As I walked up the steps of the Gasthaus, I turned back to look at the dog. I waved to him and said, “see you later buddy…” he then turned and darted off down the street. As I was eating breakfast later, I heard him barking, but I did not see him again the whole weekend.
I did not get through the back door of Bag-end today, but I will tomorrow. Join me again on Legendarium.me as I tell you tales of my journey to Jenins and the Greisinger Museum. If you did not read part 1 yet, you can find that here: Part 1
Fair travels for now…