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I am officially in a fallow period, folks.  This is part of the creative process, I keep reminding myself.  There is time for sowing seeds, time for harvest, and time to let the fields lie fallow (empty) so they can recapture nutrients and richness in the soil for the next crop.  This is definitely that time.

Sunday morning I ate breakfast in the forest pension, and chatted a bit with the owners who confirmed for me that the forest Bavarians are a grumpy lot!  They were kind enough to take my €5 in cash and pay for my parking ticket via their online banking (parking tickets in Europe are a PITA unless you have a bank account here) and by 9:30am I was on the road back home.  It was a crisp-cold, beautiful misty morning, and I briefly considered overshooting my homebase by 90 minutes to hit Rothenberg since it’s been on my must-do list, but really at that point it was really my busy-addict that was wanting to go, just to check it off the list.  Thankfully that still, small voice inside yelled “Are you out of your freakin’ mind???  Have you been paying attention?  You’re tired.  Go home.  Rest.”  So I nixed that plan and just headed home.  Once there, I turned on the TV, worked on the sweater I’m making for my niece, and generally did a whole lotta nothin’ for the rest of the day.  Ahhhhh.  Yesterday and today I worked and did not much else.  Well, there are creative works happening and ritual practices (morning pages, meditation) still in place, but there haven’t been any huge inspirations.  And I think that’s just what my mind has needed.

Still, it’s nice to check in here and account for my days as I promised to do, and to actually notice that doing nothing can really be quite an accomplishment, especially when you’re addicted to busy-ness like I am.

I am officially in a fallow period, folks.  This is part of the creative process, I keep reminding myself.  There is time for sowing seeds, time for harvest, and time to let the fields lie fallow (empty) so they can recapture nutrients and richness in the soil for the next crop.  This is definitely that time.

Sunday morning I ate breakfast in the forest pension, and chatted a bit with the owners who confirmed for me that the forest Bavarians are a grumpy lot!  They were kind enough to take my €5 in cash and pay for my parking ticket via their online banking (parking tickets in Europe are a PITA unless you have a bank account here) and by 9:30am I was on the road back home.  It was a crisp-cold, beautiful misty morning, and I briefly considered overshooting my homebase by 90 minutes to hit Rothenberg since it’s been on my must-do list, but really at that point it was really my busy-addict that was wanting to go, just to check it off the list.  Thankfully that still, small voice inside yelled “Are you out of your freakin’ mind???  Have you been paying attention?  You’re tired.  Go home.  Rest.”  So I nixed that plan and just headed home.  Once there, I turned on the TV, worked on the sweater I’m making for my niece, and generally did a whole lotta nothin’ for the rest of the day.  Ahhhhh.  Yesterday and today I worked and did not much else.  Well, there are creative works happening and ritual practices (morning pages, meditation) still in place, but there haven’t been any huge inspirations.  And I think that’s just what my mind has needed.

Still, it’s nice to check in here and account for my days as I promised to do, and to actually notice that doing nothing can really be quite an accomplishment, especially when you’re addicted to busy-ness like I am.

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Can I just give you a quick run-down of my day today?  No, the last 24 hours.  Just a quick one, okay?  Okay, here goes (in bullet form it looks more impressive):

* Last night I chased a huge thunderstorm across southeast Germany, nearly running into the end of a road, encountering a 30-minute detour due to road closure, and trying to check into the wrong hotel before finally reaching my destination for the night.

*At breakfast this morning, I made use of my fancy new German word, “koffeinfrei” which means caffeine-free.  Unfortunately, either I said it wrong or the guy just couldn’t imagine someone wanting to drink coffee in the morning without the actual jolt that it brings.  Or maybe he thought I was asking “Is the coffee free?”  Jitters and anxiety for about eight hours.

* The tourist center was closed; the park information center had no resources in English; the Zwiesel information center had no resources in English and denied any knowledge of walking paths around Zwiesel, even though my Lonely Planet chapter indicated this was the place to get that exact information.

* I forgot contact lens solution but remembered my contact lenses.  In my eyes.

* The restaurant I chose for lunch had gluten in every single menu item.  I realized this after ordering a drink.  When I asked for simple sausage and sauerkraut, the owner made a face and said “Blagh!  This is Bavarian restaurant!”

* After lunch, I returned to my car to find a parking ticket on the windshield.

* After hitting a couple of galleries and shops along the Glasstrasse, I realized that…glass doesn’t really interest or excite me.  In the least.

* The starting point of the hiking trail to Lusen Peak denied being the starting point of any such trail, even though the Lonely Planet said it was here.

* I was completely underdressed for the hike to the Lusen Peak, anyway.

* On the 1.5 hour trail I did find on the mountain, only one animal joined me the entire time: a sweet old dog that was being walked.

* At the Freilichtmuseum, I enjoyed what I saw, but they had no signs or literature in English so most of the time I didn’t really know what I was looking at.

* I reluctantly decided to hit the town of Bodenmais “real quick” on my way back to the pension, just so I could see it.  My GPS took me completely past the town.  I gave up and headed for the barn.

* The barn (pension), when I reached it, averaged about 61 degrees from room to room.

* For dinner I tried desparately to avoid eating another plate of sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes.  I tried a Thai restaurant – nope, full up for the night.  I tried an Italian restaurant – nope, they only served pizza and pasta.  I gave in and had…wait for it…sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes.

Now, why on earth am I recalling this day?  Honestly, this is not a complaint or a rant at all.  I feel there’s actually a really important lesson here for me.  You see, last weekend a person who knows such things told me that it’s part of who I am to feel frustrated and stuck when I initiate action, try to make things happen.  When I sit back in receptivity, and accept invitations, all flows well for me.  This makes so much sense (as did many other things this person told me – I kinda fell outta my seat talking to her) that I have been observing myself intently on this point all week.  I have been watching what happens when I do sit back and wait, and when I get antsy and try to make things happen.  Observing myself make calls to the hotels in the forest…and not receiving any calls back.  Calling again…and again…and finally reaching someone.  I didn’t really know what I was going to do once I got here, and nothing I read about really excited me in my guts – in fact, I kind of kept thinking about just staying home, but for some reason I put this pressure on myself to “make” the trip work.  Well, apparently the Universe decided that since I was ignoring subtle cues, it would have to bitchslap me a little bit before I would pay attention.  Well buddy, I am paying attention now!  I’m going to go to sleep as quickly as possible, be much more specific about my coffee in the morning, and head back to my homebase here – which is where my guts really wanted to be all weekend.  Oy!

Epilogue:  Now that that’s done, I’ll share with you some cool things that did happen this weekend.

* The thunderstorm was actually pretty awesome.

* At lunch, the guy ended up being kind of funny in a grouchy-old-man kind of way.  He asked where I was from, and then called me “The Californian” for the rest of lunch.  His staff giggled every time he said it.  When I asked him how he made the amazing popcorn crust on the roast pork (see picture above), he took me into the kitchen and showed me the special oven they use!

* At dinner, I was waited on by a very nice woman who listened closely, made sure there was no gluten in the dish I ordered, and treated me warmly and with respect.  The table across from me giggled every five minutes for the whole time I was there – it was really cute and contagious.

* The fact that so few people here speak English meant that I had the opportunity to take more risks and see what I really could say in German, when I had to.  It always surprises me what I can communicate in this language.  (Apparently, I have not mastered “decaffeinated” but tomorrow is another day!)

* The forest was quite lovely at moments, especially when I found the sweet pond backed up against the trees.  And the beautiful mushrooms!  See the quartet of them above.

* I laughed all day long, at the sheer absurdity of everything that happened.

Lesson?  Sit back.  Relax.  I don’t have to make anything happen.  I only have to answer the call when it comes.  Wuuuuuuuuuush….

Drip.

Drop.

Drip-drop.

Drippity-drip…pitapatapit…dripdripdripdrip…pitapitapitapita

STORM!!!

Yep, that’s how it happens here in Germany.  The weather is more bipolar than any I’ve experienced – sunny and warm can turn grey, windy and downpour-ish in minutes.  And I love it!  It’s invigorating to my soul, a cleansing energy that washes through me and leaves me feeling brushed off and new again.

Tonight, on my way to the forest, I stopped in Regensburg to finally get myself a proper jacket (H&M to the rescue with a perfect fleece zip-up for €24.95!) and as I exited the mall I felt the familiar pit-a-pat of a brewing storm.  I looked up and sure enough, the sky loomed heavy and charcoal over my head.  I got to the car.  The rain came.  I drove onto the street.  The rain became a car wash.  By the time I hit the corner we were in full downpour, with lightning and thunder to boot.  A smile crept across my face.  My heart opened.  I got the jolt.  Pedestrians in dresses and suits dashed headlong into the intersection, ignoring the streetlights altogether.  Patient, dry drivers waited understandingly.

I hit the road for Zwiesel and the storm followed me, determined to keep me company on the way.  It stayed right on top of me for almost two hours dead east, but we did part ways eventually as I turned north into the forest and the storm headed for the Czech Republic border.  The rain slowly eddied, but only completely for about five minutes – the exact five minutes that it took me to find the darkened but lovely Landhaus Karin and get inside and up to my room.  Then the rain bid me a fond goodnight with one final, resounding downpour.  I was hoping to fall asleep to the sound of it, but that particular storm belongs fully to the Czechs now.

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Drip.

Drop.

Drip-drop.

Drippity-drip…pitapatapit…dripdripdripdrip…pitapitapitapita

STORM!!!

Yep, that’s how it happens here in Germany.  The weather is more bipolar than any I’ve experienced – sunny and warm can turn grey, windy and downpour-ish in minutes.  And I love it!  It’s invigorating to my soul, a cleansing energy that washes through me and leaves me feeling brushed off and new again.

Tonight, on my way to the forest, I stopped in Regensburg to finally get myself a proper jacket (H&M to the rescue with a perfect fleece zip-up for €24.95!) and as I exited the mall I felt the familiar pit-a-pat of a brewing storm.  I looked up and sure enough, the sky loomed heavy and charcoal over my head.  I got to the car.  The rain came.  I drove onto the street.  The rain became a car wash.  By the time I hit the corner we were in full downpour, with lightning and thunder to boot.  A smile crept across my face.  My heart opened.  I got the jolt.  Pedestrians in dresses and suits dashed headlong into the intersection, ignoring the streetlights altogether.  Patient, dry drivers waited understandingly.

I hit the road for Zwiesel and the storm followed me, determined to keep me company on the way.  It stayed right on top of me for almost two hours dead east, but we did part ways eventually as I turned north into the forest and the storm headed for the Czech Republic border.  The rain slowly eddied, but only completely for about five minutes – the exact five minutes that it took me to find the darkened but lovely Landhaus Karin and get inside and up to my room.  Then the rain bid me a fond goodnight with one final, resounding downpour.  I was hoping to fall asleep to the sound of it, but that particular storm belongs fully to the Czechs now.

Day 31 means I am officially in the 2nd half of my work assignment, and I want to document it consciously.  This trip felt like a two-parter when I first got here (the work assignment, and the vacation) but has become a three-act play; the 30-day mark has become important to me as I feel the effects of being gone so much this year.  Giving it a nod brings relief to my soul, as I increasingly balance the absolute joy and freedom of my special adventure, and the heart-breaking need to come home, nest, and see your faces in a cafe, or next to me on a walk, or across the living room or in one special case, nose-to-nose horizontally.  So here I am, on the first day of part two of the journey.

I realize that I haven’t written much about food on this trip, and the reason is simply that most of it is rather uninspiring.  The fact that I love typical German food means that about 80% of my meals out, and 50% of my meals at home, have consisted of some combination of sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes.  I am absolutely not complaining, but it’s not usually a blog-worthy culinary experience.

I did think, though, about the way I use my little hotel-room kitchen.

At home I often dream of a spacious, airy kitchen with miles of counter space and every item in its own special, perfect home; a space that begs to be used with joy.  Yet I’m finding that all I really need (at least, for now) can be found in eight square feet: a two-burner induction cooktop; a microwave that gets used for exactly and only two things – “baking” sweet potatoes and sometimes heating coconut milk for my coffee; a half-fridge that teaches me to use it well but not over-stuff it; an overhead cupboard that houses canned foods and food-keepers; a bar sink; two square feet of counter space, shared with a coffeemaker and tray; and an under-sink cabinet that holds one large and one small pot, a frying pan, a few utensils and a set of plain dishes.  Note the absence of a proper stove, which I do miss.  It is the only reason I use a microwave at all.

So despite the tight squeeze, I get to make some pretty good meals for myself.  Tonight’s one-pot meal is sort of a ratatouille with beef: shallots, eggplant, zucchini and tomato sauteed in olive and coconut oils until soft.  Add a pound of ground beef and a small jar of tomato sauce.  Heat through, then cover and simmer for a while.  It’ll taste even better tomorrow as the flavors blend.  This is my main go-to meal since I started these rotations; it’s quick, easy, and as cheap as you want it to be.  I go for quality ingredients, but still it is an affordable and plentiful dish – one batch will feed me for three or four days.

An another note, I bought myself three dollars of comfort last night: my new cafe au lait bowl pictured above.  There’s something about it!  My coffee with coconut milk tasted just a little bit luxurious as I sleepily sat for today’s morning pages in the early morning half-light.

This kitchenette is a great practice in simplicity, in making the most of a space without having to add to it.  I’m enjoying the challenges and fun, smile-inducing just-for-me victories in those eight square feet.

Day 31 means I am officially in the 2nd half of my work assignment, and I want to document it consciously.  This trip felt like a two-parter when I first got here (the work assignment, and the vacation) but has become a three-act play; the 30-day mark has become important to me as I feel the effects of being gone so much this year.  Giving it a nod brings relief to my soul, as I increasingly balance the absolute joy and freedom of my special adventure, and the heart-breaking need to come home, nest, and see your faces in a cafe, or next to me on a walk, or across the living room or in one special case, nose-to-nose horizontally.  So here I am, on the first day of part two of the journey.

I realize that I haven’t written much about food on this trip, and the reason is simply that most of it is rather uninspiring.  The fact that I love typical German food means that about 80% of my meals out, and 50% of my meals at home, have consisted of some combination of sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes.  I am absolutely not complaining, but it’s not usually a blog-worthy culinary experience.

I did think, though, about the way I use my little hotel-room kitchen.

At home I often dream of a spacious, airy kitchen with miles of counter space and every item in its own special, perfect home; a space that begs to be used with joy.  Yet I’m finding that all I really need (at least, for now) can be found in eight square feet: a two-burner induction cooktop; a microwave that gets used for exactly and only two things – “baking” sweet potatoes and sometimes heating coconut milk for my coffee; a half-fridge that teaches me to use it well but not over-stuff it; an overhead cupboard that houses canned foods and food-keepers; a bar sink; two square feet of counter space, shared with a coffeemaker and tray; and an under-sink cabinet that holds one large and one small pot, a frying pan, a few utensils and a set of plain dishes.  Note the absence of a proper stove, which I do miss.  It is the only reason I use a microwave at all.

So despite the tight squeeze, I get to make some pretty good meals for myself.  Tonight’s one-pot meal is sort of a ratatouille with beef: shallots, eggplant, zucchini and tomato sauteed in olive and coconut oils until soft.  Add a pound of ground beef and a small jar of tomato sauce.  Heat through, then cover and simmer for a while.  It’ll taste even better tomorrow as the flavors blend.  This is my main go-to meal since I started these rotations; it’s quick, easy, and as cheap as you want it to be.  I go for quality ingredients, but still it is an affordable and plentiful dish – one batch will feed me for three or four days.

An another note, I bought myself three dollars of comfort last night: my new cafe au lait bowl pictured above.  There’s something about it!  My coffee with coconut milk tasted just a little bit luxurious as I sleepily sat for today’s morning pages in the early morning half-light.

This kitchenette is a great practice in simplicity, in making the most of a space without having to add to it.  I’m enjoying the challenges and fun, smile-inducing just-for-me victories in those eight square feet.

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Yesterday was a basic workday, punctuated at the end by some exciting trip-planning: a bus ticket and hostel bed in Prague for only $75 total!  You’ll read about Prague around September 12th.

Today I joined some of the kids I work with, on their field trip to the Nürnberg Zoo (Tiergarten).  Now, I’ll be honest with you.  I had a nice time with the kids, and it was great to spend the day outside and walking in what looks like nature.  We ran into two sudden downpours (that left me soaked to the bone and with the certain knowledge that I need raingear – stat) but spirits stayed high and we made the most of the day.

But I don’t like zoos.  Zoos make me really, really sad.  To see magnificent beasts confined in cages or habitats that may resemble home, but in the way a stage set resembles home, hurts my heart quite a bit.  It may be my imagination, but the gorillas looked downright depressed, and the cheetahs seemed to have the space, but absolutely no natural reason, to run – to fully express their “cheetah-ness”, to borrow a concept from visionary farmer (and personal hero) Joel Salatin.  The pigs rooted in a foot of mud that had no truffle-y rewards at the bottom – why?  The dolphins and seals followed directions at the dolphin show, and looked like they were having fun, but were they?  I know, it’s a bit morose of me to rant on about it, but it’s just the way I feel.  I instinctively captured the feel in some of my pictures, particularly the caged great birds (griffon, eagle and owl) and the tagged cows.  (Oh those beautiful faces!)

My sister loves to tell the story of when my family went to the Livermore rodeo many years ago.  I was still a vegetarian back then, maybe even in one of my vegan phases, but spending the day with the family outside seemed like fun.  Well, the food vendors gave me no shortage of strange and annoyed looks as I ordered my tacos without meat or cheese, and sitting in the stands I was definitely the only spectator rooting for the horses and cows.  I actually applauded and whooped when a calf got away from a cowboy’s lasso!  And I’m sorry, but the tight 501’s make the cowboys run like they have pineapples up their asses.  I tried not to make a scene, but that worked about as well as…well, a rodeo clown trying not to make a scene at the opera.  Oh dear.  My empathy for our furry friends goes way back.

Tonight I am tired (the zoo trip required an early morning) but determined to carry on some ritual practices that I’ve started establishing in my life, and even put attention toward a new one tonight.  In the meantime, I think I have established trips for my remaining weekends in Germany.  More later this week, perhaps.

Solvo Bestia!

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Welcome to my first official crapload of pictures!  Plus a couple of videos.  This weekend was my best yet, by far: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a twin hamlet nestled in a valley just north of the Bavarian Alps, a beautiful place and my homebase for a weekend of sightseeing – a full but leisurely, totally lovely weekend.

Saturday: I drove down to Garmisch after work on Friday so I would wake up in the Alps on Saturday morning.  After a lovely breakfast on the veranda of the Hotel Aschenbrenner (my-home-away-from-home-away-from-home) I set out for the western portion of my weekend: the castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, at the southern end of the Romantic Road.

Hohenschwangau was the weekend hunting lodge for the royal family of Bavaria, and the childhood home of infamous “Mad” King Ludwig II.  A gorgeous residence, it is no wonder that poor Ludwig had a hard time accepting the real world.  Hohenschwangau is a fairy-tale castle in a fairy-tale valley, leaned up against a fairy-tale mountain range.  It could not be a more picturesque place.  Every view is a sweeping vista, and the castle itself is Italianate, Baroque, Romantic in the architectural sense of the word.  (The golden castle you see is it.)

Ludwig became kind of obsessed with castle-building, and for 17 years oversaw construction of his still unfinished piece de resistance, Neuschwanstein, a 40-minute hike across the valley from Hohenschwangau.  You know this castle; Walt Disney based his Disneyland centerpiece, Cinderella’s Castle, on Neuschwanstein.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more elaborate or stunningly beautiful building.  Every detail is sublime, and I wish I could show you but pictures are forbidden inside the two castles.

“Mad” King Ludwig…I’ve tried to support a case for him not earning his nickname, but I just can’t seem to do it.  The poor boy struck me as a photo negative of Prince Siddhartha, choosing to use his royalty to surround himself with fairy tale and legend, and support his delusions with extravagant expenditures of Bavaria’s money, rather than look reality square in the face and live in the real world.  The guy did have pretty exquisite taste, though, and an awesome vision for Neuschwanstein, which I kind of wish he’d been allowed to complete.  Instead he was charged insane, and died under “mysterious circumstances” on the shore of a lake near Munich.

The castles took me all day, and I returned to Garmisch exhausted, ready to eat and sleep.

Sunday: Another breakfast on the veranda, then I headed out to Eibsee to catch the cable car up to the summit of the tallest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze.  Zugspitze straddles Germany and Austria and can be reached from both countries, and I’ll just let the photos and video speak for themselves.  It was exhilirating.  Please note the picture of my sandaled feet standing in snow!  Yep, there were little pockets of snow here and there, alongside the glacier – a startlingly small, thin glacier, and a stark reminder of the climactic changes happening around the world.  I took the round-trip, up the cogwheel train through the mountain to the Zugspitzplatt (where a Bavarian oompah band serenaded sunbathers while the highest chapel in all of Germany rang its bell for Sunday service), then a short cable car up to the summit, then a longer cable car ride straight down the north face of the mountain.  There’s that word again: exhilirating.  At 47 Euro (about $60) it wasn’t a cheap ride, but so worth it.

The afternoon was spent exploring the town of Oberammergau, the site of the famous Passion Play that was first performed by the town’s inhabitants in 1634 as homage to God for saving them from the bubonic plague, and has been performed every ten years since then.  It’s happening right now, but unfortunately tickets are dear and I haven’t really tried to get one.  It was enough to see the town, just as well-known for its intricate wood carvings.  I picked up a good number of wooden souvenirs there, thanks to the odd fact that Oberammergau seems to be exempt from the German “no shopping on Sunday because it’s the sabbath” law.  Every shop was wide open, which I found ironic in the most well-known Christian town in the country, where every shopkeeper greeted me with “grüß Gott” (sort of a “Godly hello to you!”).  Why isn’t this town, of all towns, closed on Sunday?  I don’t know, but I enjoyed the shopping nonetheless.

The weekend inspired me to search out more of Bavaria’s charm and beauty, and I’m looking at a trip to the Black Forest, even though it’s a four-hour drive from my home base.  Is it worth it?  I don’t know; I can’t really tell what’s amazing about the Black Forest yet.  There’s also the Bavarian Forest to the east, hugging the border to the Czech Republic.  Hm…so much to explore.  Of course, outside of Germany, Prague is a scant three hours away; Austria the same; Switzerland maybe five or six.  What to do with my remaining weekends…

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Welcome to my first official crapload of pictures!  Plus a couple of videos.  This weekend was my best yet, by far: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a twin hamlet nestled in a valley just north of the Bavarian Alps, a beautiful place and my homebase for a weekend of sightseeing – a full but leisurely, totally lovely weekend.

Saturday: I drove down to Garmisch after work on Friday so I would wake up in the Alps on Saturday morning.  After a lovely breakfast on the veranda of the Hotel Aschenbrenner (my-home-away-from-home-away-from-home) I set out for the western portion of my weekend: the castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, at the southern end of the Romantic Road.

Hohenschwangau was the weekend hunting lodge for the royal family of Bavaria, and the childhood home of infamous “Mad” King Ludwig II.  A gorgeous residence, it is no wonder that poor Ludwig had a hard time accepting the real world.  Hohenschwangau is a fairy-tale castle in a fairy-tale valley, leaned up against a fairy-tale mountain range.  It could not be a more picturesque place.  Every view is a sweeping vista, and the castle itself is Italianate, Baroque, Romantic in the architectural sense of the word.  (The golden castle you see is it.)

Ludwig became kind of obsessed with castle-building, and for 17 years oversaw construction of his still unfinished piece de resistance, Neuschwanstein, a 40-minute hike across the valley from Hohenschwangau.  You know this castle; Walt Disney based his Disneyland centerpiece, Cinderella’s Castle, on Neuschwanstein.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more elaborate or stunningly beautiful building.  Every detail is sublime, and I wish I could show you but pictures are forbidden inside the two castles.

“Mad” King Ludwig…I’ve tried to support a case for him not earning his nickname, but I just can’t seem to do it.  The poor boy struck me as a photo negative of Prince Siddhartha, choosing to use his royalty to surround himself with fairy tale and legend, and support his delusions with extravagant expenditures of Bavaria’s money, rather than look reality square in the face and live in the real world.  The guy did have pretty exquisite taste, though, and an awesome vision for Neuschwanstein, which I kind of wish he’d been allowed to complete.  Instead he was charged insane, and died under “mysterious circumstances” on the shore of a lake near Munich.

The castles took me all day, and I returned to Garmisch exhausted, ready to eat and sleep.

Sunday: Another breakfast on the veranda, then I headed out to Eibsee to catch the cable car up to the summit of the tallest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze.  Zugspitze straddles Germany and Austria and can be reached from both countries, and I’ll just let the photos and video speak for themselves.  It was exhilirating.  Please note the picture of my sandaled feet standing in snow!  Yep, there were little pockets of snow here and there, alongside the glacier – a startlingly small, thin glacier, and a stark reminder of the climactic changes happening around the world.  I took the round-trip, up the cogwheel train through the mountain to the Zugspitzplatt (where a Bavarian oompah band serenaded sunbathers while the highest chapel in all of Germany rang its bell for Sunday service), then a short cable car up to the summit, then a longer cable car ride straight down the north face of the mountain.  There’s that word again: exhilirating.  At 47 Euro (about $60) it wasn’t a cheap ride, but so worth it.

The afternoon was spent exploring the town of Oberammergau, the site of the famous Passion Play that was first performed by the town’s inhabitants in 1634 as homage to God for saving them from the bubonic plague, and has been performed every ten years since then.  It’s happening right now, but unfortunately tickets are dear and I haven’t really tried to get one.  It was enough to see the town, just as well-known for its intricate wood carvings.  I picked up a good number of wooden souvenirs there, thanks to the odd fact that Oberammergau seems to be exempt from the German “no shopping on Sunday because it’s the sabbath” law.  Every shop was wide open, which I found ironic in the most well-known Christian town in the country, where every shopkeeper greeted me with “grüß Gott” (sort of a “Godly hello to you!”).  Why isn’t this town, of all towns, closed on Sunday?  I don’t know, but I enjoyed the shopping nonetheless.

The weekend inspired me to search out more of Bavaria’s charm and beauty, and I’m looking at a trip to the Black Forest, even though it’s a four-hour drive from my home base.  Is it worth it?  I don’t know; I can’t really tell what’s amazing about the Black Forest yet.  There’s also the Bavarian Forest to the east, hugging the border to the Czech Republic.  Hm…so much to explore.  Of course, outside of Germany, Prague is a scant three hours away; Austria the same; Switzerland maybe five or six.  What to do with my remaining weekends…

The Author

This is a site about saying yes to life - written by a multi-passionate rock star who loves to take life between her fists and kiss it full on the mouth.

"Make my boy realize that, at the end of the everlasting why, there is a yes. And a yes and a yes!"
- Mr. Emerson,
A Room With A View