Hello everyone and thank you for leaving so many comments in my absence. I have to go back and read them all - what a nice thing to return to!
In truth, though, I didn't go far. I was actually physically here, but mentally absent - tied to my desk, correcting final exams. In the midst of the horrors of correction, I was whisked away to southern Bavaria for the celebration of my father-in-law's 65th birthday. His wife, my mother-in-law, planned a lovely day out for us all. She's a tip-top planner and regularly flexes her organisational muscles when Mr Gingerbread and I come to visit because we are - to his parents' eternal disappointment - utter sloths. While they'd rather be whizzing around the country, Looking At Stuff, or trekking across Azerbaijan, Looking At Stuff (I do not jest), Mr Gingerbread and I would rather be in the comfort of our own home, Not Looking At Stuff.
In any case, we visited a Nepalese temple in the depths of the Bavarian countryside. The owner bought the temple after the Expo in Germany a few years ago, and transported it back down to the middle of nowhere and set it in a beautiful park, complete with an array of reclining Buddhas, prayer scrolls and wind-chimes.
In any case, I enjoyed the rare pleasure of being the youngest person in sight and strolled along the pathways, trying to stay out of people's photos. I have tremendous admiration for people, like the owner, who put such obvious care and pride into their work. The park is beautiful, even if it's a bit bizarre to see a Nepalese temple in a field of German ferns and heather.