One side effect of travel that I’ve often noticed is crazier dreams than usual. Last week, before beginning our road trip through Germany, I had a dream that we had a lion for a pet. In the dream I realized how neglected our poor lion was: I never let it outside since it would scare the neighbors, and I knew I hadn’t been feeding it properly. When the lion stood, I saw that its back legs were severely arthritic and it was dying.

I would’ve forgotten the dream except that I saw a lion statue the next day. And I’ve seen some representation of a lion every day since. Lions, as it turns out, are the symbol of southern Germany. And so, since my dream, I’ve felt a strange connection to this part of the world and all of its aging lions.