Congratulations to Germany who won the World Cup Final last night after a 24 year wait since their last win. The competition had me thinking how the world comes together for this four yearly competition. It unites people, countries, men and women and even if, like me, you don’t have any interest in football, you would have been hard pressed to completely ignore it. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed watching the game last night.

With Germany being one of the finalists of the World Cup, I recalled a recent riding trip I made to Iceland. My travelling companions were two German couples, a single German lady, a Swiss mother and daughter, two single American women and myself.

For two nights we stayed in a mountain cabin, up in the Highlands of Iceland with not much connection to the outside world. Each night at the mountain cabin, our guide Helga, who is also an opera singer, produced a songbook that had a variety of songs from various places around the world, including Iceland, the UK and Germany. She was determined to teach us an Icelandic riding song called “Ridum Ridum”. We sang the first verse in Icelandic, the second in German and the third in English.

Singing the songs together united us all and caused much laughter. Initially we were shy about singing but soon all our inhibitions were lost.   Songs in the songbook included, “Oh Suzanna”, “He’s got the whole world in his Hands”, “Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Da” and many more. An eclectic mix, carefully compiled, knowing that there would surely be a song for everyone and each nation.

One of the German ladies, Birgit, requested that we sing “Lili Marlene”. When we had finished singing the song, Birgit said that her father had sang that song to her as a child. He told her that during the World War it was played every night and all sides of the war would stop fighting to sing the song. Birgit told us that if her father was now looking down it would make him very happy to know that all nations who had been fighting in the war were now sitting around a table, united, happy with each other and singing a song that they had sang during a time of war and turmoil. The atmosphere in our little mountain cabin that night was charged with pure unity and happiness. It was a very special and magic evening.

I for one feel truly grateful to all those who fought in the war and made this possible. I am sure they would be very proud because now we are at peace, able to travel freely and make wonderful new friends.

Wishing everyone a very happy week full of love and happiness.