Monday, January 16, 2006

The Spas

‘What counts is the delight of meeting others.’ Katharina Gilowska and I are returning to Salzburg by coach after a visit to the spas. She leans forward on her seat until our bonnets are touching. 'Not that I am ever tired of you, Nan.'

I smile. I shake my head and say nothing.

‘It’s the pleasure of shopping and riding, playing cards and dressing up for balls - it's much more fun attending church or the theatre in another place.'

She eyes me shrewdly as I untie my bonnet strings and remember the days I spent at Gastein with Mama.

'Nanny dear, it’s walking up and down beside the springs in our bathing suits after we have enjoyed the waters.' She lowers her voice so the other passengers can't hear. 'It's... retiring to the assembly room for a gossip with the other bathers and listening to the latest dance music.’

"I know, I know, I know,' I mutter, still remembering.

She doesn’t mention the smell of dungeons where we change our clothes before and after we bathe. She forgets the tedium of a long coach journey there and back. Katharina Gilowska is permanently enthusiastic. She ignores my many moods and is of course, a true friend. N.


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