10 Reasons I Love the German Mountains

I first visited the Alps in 2001 as a 17-year old on a post-graduation France trip. It was my first time to see “real” mountains, and not from an airplane either. Initially our group had fought our teacher on the decision to do a 3-day extension to Chamonix at the end of our 17-day tour. We all wanted to go to Italy, but our teacher wouldn’t budge.

The kids last year hated Rome. It was hot and crowded.… we’re much better off going to the Alps,” she told us. We whined a lot, but it was to no avail.

We arrived in Chamonix after a hot and crowded few days in Paris. We were there for the end of the Tour de France, and so the city was packed and our un-airconditioned hotel provided no relief from the heat of the city in July. We were all country kids, we’d been traveling for two weeks, and this was so far out of our comfort zone it wasn’t even funny. But then…


…and also this….


I was sold. We took two cable cars and an elevator to visit the Aiguille du Midi, which gave us a view from 3842m. Far below us the brightly colored jackets of the mountain climbers stood out in the snow as they made their way up Mont Blanc. It was an amazing view, and I couldn’t believe that some of our group had opted out due to their fear of heights! 

On the way back down we took a break between cable cars and ran around the side of the mountain. There was snow in the shade of some of the huge boulders, and we went sledding in our jeans. We’d been traveling for over two weeks, it’s not like they were clean anyways. In the sun the grass was green and full of wildflowers. I wanted to change my name to Heidi, get some goats, and move on in.

Turns out, our Madame C. knew best. Just don’t tell her I said that. 


After France I had to lead a mountain-free existence for many years. It was sad, and sometimes I felt like Bilbo Baggins….

But then I came to Germany. 

One of my first trips in Germany was to Berchestgaden. And once again, I was hooked.

I love everything about the mountains in Germany. Here are 10 reasons why….

1) I love the rolling landscapes…

View from the Feldburg in the Black Forest


2) And the ummmm…. pointy-er landscapes…

View from the on the Zugspitze

3) I love getting to see the same views in summer and winter…

Both views from before heading up the Zugspitze

4) I love the picture-perfect mountain towns…

5) And the picture-perfect mountain town festivals…

All from Berchtesgaden

6) I love fields of sheep behind Alpine hotels….

In Ettal

7) And hiking through fields of cows wearing giant bells….

On the Feldburg. Shhhhh, don’t tell BV he’s on THE INTERNET.

8) I love whatever this is….

9) I love the view from the top…. oh, and the feeling of accomplishment from getting there on your own two feet….

View over the Blaueishütte, Berchtesgaden

10) And I love that you can get a beer at the top whether you took the hard way-hike or the tourist train (or bus, or cable car, or whatever).

At the Eagle’s Nest, Berchtesgaden. Shh, don’t tell my dad he’s on the internet either.

Now I’m not saying that I’m looking into real estate or anything, because I’m not looking to “settle down” right now. But someday I would love to live in the mountains. I’m okay with being a city mouse for now, but in my opinion nothing would be better than waking up to this every morning…

Unless of course, it was if I was looking at that view from a house that looked like…

It’s a little close to the road for me, and a little big, but  you get the idea. Wooden shutters, geraniums, cows next door… I love it all.

And of course I’d have to go whole hog on the decor….

A little blurry, sorry.

But if you’re going to live in an Alpine-style house, you have to go all wood and floral and deer on the inside, don’t you? In retrospect I think this is all due to the fact that when I was a kid, I wanted to live David the Gnome’s house.


And over a nice big fireplace, I want to hang these pictures. They are currently for sale at a nearby antiques shop, and I know this is REALLY WEIRD, but I love them. LOVE THEM.

Actually these pictures are what started this whole post off. Talk about a train of thought rerouting. Yeesh. On second thought, it might be time to leave Germany, because I’m clearly going insane.

Mountains? Beaches? Where do you want to go?

A Quickie

A quick couple of links, that is.  

Since landing on Friday, I’ve spent most of my time unconscious and I still had to promise myself that I would go to bed by 9 o’clock tonight. Today I managed to talk myself out of going to work to make copies for my classes tomorrow, so I have to do it on the way to work, which will involve leaving the house at about 6:20am. Sounds like fun, right? In my defense, I had a pretty solid reasoning… When I got home Friday, I discovered that my key won’t work in the door downstairs. Luckily, a neighbor let me in when I buzzed, but my landlord had no idea if the locks had been changed or something along those lines. And since Friday was a holiday in Germany, there was no chance of him being able to find out until Monday. So this weekend, I decided it was better to stay in the house (minus one complete FAIL of a shopping trip, but at least I got groceries), than to be stuck outside in the cold/rain for any period of time.

Luckily a friend of mine sent me the link for my new favorite web site, and that took up a solid amount of time today. It’s called Thought Catalog and they describe themselves as “a place for relevant and relatable nonfiction and thought.” Sounds good to me. A quick perusal of the offerings will find something for everybody… there are articles about what the Ferris Bueller movie would look like today, New Years Resolutions from celebs (my favorites are Zooey Deschannel, Ryan Gosling and Tim Tebow), a holiday newsletter from a single person (much more entertaining than the smug crap you might read from your 3rd cousin with their 5 honor roll students and adorable puppy-mill Cockapoo**), and a plethora of other scintillating topics that you didn’t even know you were missing until you read them. 

But this is the one that started the journey down the Thought Catalog rabbit hole for me….
Why You’re Beautiful 
The friend that sent this to me has been dealing with a break-up for the last few months, and we’ve had some good chats about our respective situations. Normally, an article like this one would be way too high on the cheese radar for me if I based it on title alone, so I probably wouldn’t have read it unless she had sent it to me. We have some tentative plans to meet up later this year, hopefully in India or somewhere else in Southeast Asia. I just hope we aren’t including becoming an “ashram-cleaning cliché” in this plan. Although that is a pretty good line. 

After the sad-face love post, I moved onto this one and have read it about three times since then today. And I laugh every time. 
Post-Break Up Blog Post Titles 
I fully intend on using one of these after my next relationship. So in the future, look for a blog post titled either “Every Secret My Ex-Boyfriend Ever Told Me: An Illustrated Guide” -or- “On Reality TV Marathons and Sweatpants.” Except I would change it to pajama pants. Because I don’t own sweatpants. And never will… especially after the nonsense I saw people wearing while at home.* And if I’m being honest, the title of the entry will probably be, “How to Ignore Your Feelings Through Prodigious Alcohol Consumption.” So look for that blog post whenever I actually start dating someone.  And by ‘whenever,’ I mean ‘if.’

*I’m talking to YOU sloppy pony-tailed girls with PINK sweats tucked into Ugg boots carrying your Coach bags around the mall parking lot. If you have enough money to buy a Coach bag (or daddy does), you (or daddy) should have enough money to buy normal pants. Jeans, for example, are appropriate pants for every day life. Sweatpants are appropriate for bed or the gym. That is all. End rant.
**I don’t have anything against the Cockapoo specifically. I love dogs, but I hate how these “designer breeds” are mass produced at puppy mills. Get a shelter dog, or research a breeder with a decent reputation. Don’t buy a dog as an accessory, I don’t care how well it fits in your purse. They have four legs, they can walk. End rant.

This Modern Love… Breaks Me.

If you don’t know this song, I suggest you take a listen. Apologies that the video is boring.

I read this great article yesterday on the New York Times. As much as we’d all like romantic stories to end with a ‘happily ever after,’ I always love it when someone can write one that’s beautiful, honest, and something you can relate to. I think I’m becoming a sap in my old age. 

Image via www.postsecret.com

This is what it should look like.

I’ve been tossing this one around for a while, so it’s a bit dated now. But I’m going with it anyway. It’s long, so I’m sending this one off on a jump….

 Those who know me, know that I have long been a skeptic of this whole “marriage” idea. But maybe skeptic isn’t the right word. Or it is. Hard to say. My parents are still happily together, and I haven’t had any traumatic experiences in my family or immediate friends that would make me wary of the idea. Up to this point, I’ve just felt that I wasn’t old enough or experienced enough, or really ready in any way to consider the idea. 

But in the last year, I’ve thought about it more than I care to admit. Maybe because I met someone who I could see it with, and that’s never happened before. I could see it. And the sad part is, after everything, I still can. It’s still visible, but now I have to second-guess myself. Which I hate. I have to question if what I saw was the real thing, or if I just wanted it to be. Or if I just saw his vision of what life could be, and accepted it as the right thing. It’s hard to say. But this summer, I got to see what it should look like.
Back in June, I had the privilege and the pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my best friends. This was the first one (to my recollection), that I’ve attended with absolutely no doubt in my mind. I’ve known Courtney for a disturbingly long time now, and the first time that I met her fiancé, I knew it was the real deal. 
It was pretty easy to see. We were down at Summerfest in Milwaukee one night when the two of them were back to visit from Vegas. Courtney had gone to the bathroom, and he turned to me and said, “I think I’ve got something special there,” and I said, “Oh, she’s special alright” (in the usual sarcastic-Heather tone). But just the way they were together and the way they could laugh and be ridiculous, it was clear what a good fit they were. I saw an assortment of relationships float through her life in college and since, and this was clearly different. She was herself, and happy. There was no anxiety, there were fewer questions, and there were less cross-country phone calls to me on Friday nights. That was a few years ago, and this summer they finally had the party to make it official. And when I say party, I mean party.
Courtney has always been close to her family, and there are a million of them. Speaking as someone from a relatively small family (made even smaller by the far-flungness of some of them), this family is something to see. I’ve never really felt that a big family was something I needed or wanted, but spending a weekend around these people made me reconsider. And yes, every family has problems; mom’s drive their kids crazy, siblings fight and so on; but just to have a few days in the presence of that much love, fun, and general happiness was really fantastic. And I thought, yes, this is what it should look like. A family that truly enjoys each other, celebrating two people who love each other. It was fantastic, and it was something that I think all of us want to find, and can only hope that we are so lucky. 
So congratulations to you, Court. When we first met, you and your pink capris and bejewled tank top scared the crap out of me. And now you’ve set a new standard. And not just because of the eight beers on tap, the epic band, or the nacho bar. All of which were awesome. When I said I wasn’t getting married unless it would be as awesome as that day, I was serious. The atmosphere of the whole weekend was something that everyone wants, at least on some level. It made me think. And it made me re-evaluate the things that I want. And for those of us who were there, who were lucky enough to witness such a thing, it was beautiful.*
Myself and the lovely bride.
*No, this does not mean I’m moving home.

I need to stop reading.

“Letters are just pieces of paper, … Burn them, and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish,”

 ~Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

I’m sitting in a beer garden just about to start my second Kellarbier. It was a beautiful, warm summer day; now the wind has shifted and a gray cloud is hanging in the northern sky. I’m watching the trees that surround the park, keeping an eye out for the silver undersides of leaves that mean rain is coming. But I don’t know if these are the right kinds of trees for that old trick.

 I just finished reading “Norwegian Wood.” It’s been a book I’ve picked up a hundred times, and on Monday, I finally broke down and bought it. Books are more important than food sometimes. I sat on my balcony on Monday afternoon; and drank in the first half with my wine.

~I had to stop there as the sky opened up and drenched the garden. I sat under my umbrella (under the already-in-place garden umbrella), until it was time to move on. So I’m continuing from the bar with slightly better umbrellas.

The book was beautiful and I will re-read it many times I’m sure. There was more than one time when I found myself reaching for my highlighter. However, it’s not a great book for my current state in some ways.

I like the passage about letters. Many times I’ve wondered how thing would be different in this ex-pat life if more people wrote letters. It seems like some connections would be long-lost and some would be so much stronger. But it wouldn’t be the same.

I also feel that this passage sums up so much of what I’ve felt in recent weeks. I find myself wishing that I had written down more of what happened or what was said in the last year. But when it comes to it; what good would it do? All day, every day , we say things. But what is true and what isn’t? You can know one thing for sure one day, but feel something completely different the next. We are fickle, fickle beings. That’s all it is.

“What stays in your heart will stay.”

I will remember what happened. I will remember the looks, the laughs, the touches. I know that what was there was real. If he wants to deny that, he can go ahead. He has his own reasons, and it’s not up to me to solve them. I know what we had, and I can see what could be; but that door is closed.

Now, I live for myself again.

I was willing to forgo things, I was willing to go with what he wanted, and now I know better. Well, maybe not better, but differently. I would have done anything he wanted, if it would have made things easier. I would have let things go, let things slide, for his sake. I would have done anything I could to make his life better. I know what I saw, and I would have tried to fill  the gaps as well as I could… but that’s not what he wanted. And then that’s not the life I wanted. Maybe if we hadn’t walked on eggshells for the last year, we both would have realized that.

Everything in Transit…

Big ups to Jacks Mannequin for my title.

Two weeks into February. Two years in Prague. Too many things I haven’t done. Too many things that have happened. Too much to say in too many words. Well, I’ll try.

At this time last year, there wasn’t much to say. Friends were here, fun was had, and so on. Work was slow, and I was trying to save for Alicia’s visit and our trip to Dublin.

Again after Dublin, I spent two months recovering until Cassie came. The day she left I met up with Joel. And I feel like since then things have moved so fast that it feels like nothing at all.

I feel like my whole life has changed. But I’m sitting in my same bed, in my same apartment, with the same job, same clothes, same friends… but everything is different.

I’m thinking about things I’ve never thought of before. Granted, there was a time when I thought things were going a certain way. But it was more what people expected, not so much what I (or he) wanted.

Now I’m not sure what is happening. Here is someone who spent all summer selling themselves to me. Spent five weeks making breakfast and giving rides to work and planning trips. And at first, I was hesitant. It was a whole life that I could see, but was it what I wanted? I’ve always held out against that kind of thinking. I want to do what I want to do and everyone else be damned. Some people say selfish, I prefer to call it independent. But I warmed to the idea and decided to go all in.

For me to even put myself out there is kind of a big deal. I haven’t done it in so long and it’s only mildly terrifying. As the cliche goes, “you know when it’s right,” and I can only hope that’s true. If not, it might be a rough road. No one wants that.

There are things that I’m considering that I didn’t think would happen…. ever. Or at the very least for a good few years. But here we are. At the beginning of last summer, I said to the roomie, “It’s a whole life I never thought was possible. But I’m not sure if I even want it.” Now if it is what I want, what happens if it all blows up?

“Defeated love is still a treasure, and those who choose lovelessness have won no victory at all.” ~Moraes (Moor) Zogoiby, from The Moor’s Last Sigh

Well said Moor.

An excellent book if you were wondering. I think I’m becoming a fan of Salman Rusdie. I also very much enjoyed Midnight’s Children, which is another recent read. I should chronicle everything as I finish it here, but lack the motivation to do so today. Perhaps next time it’s raining.