hellooooooo gentle readers. if you follow me on facebook i’ve been posting a video each day of our bavarian journey. i’ve not done that before but find it an easy way to keep in touch while traveling. it’s easier for me than IG and light years faster than blogging via computer. but of course if you don’t do facebook, well, here i am. drinking coffee on this late LA morning and enjoying the pleasing mild temperatures. as you can imagine the temps in bavaria were deliciously cool. wait. not there yet.
where was i? oh yes, right here and finally blogging. tapping out these missives is how i order and document my world. and so i begin.
ann tyler was right about it being a patchwork planet and you know that when you’re high in the sky winging your way over the countryside of your destination. below the plane a soft green quilt unfolded. tiny roads to tiny villages unwound like a map.
we picked up our sixt car rental – a most satisfactory experience i must say – and knew we were getting off to a grand start when we were upgraded from our economy car to a BMW wagon. yes please, and thank you v v much! i didn’t pay for the navigation which was costly, but that was thrown in too. the best part was picking the car up from the underground parking and not waiting at a long counter line. our navigation was changed from german to english and away we went!
first thing i noticed about germany is how clean, sensible, and efficient everything was. the roads and signs were clear and direct. even though i did think the 80 km. speed limit sign was the number of the highway and “aushfart” the name of a town. a hint of language barriers to come. we would spend our entire trip decoding words, signs, diagrams. never knowing if they were correct or not, but pretty sure they WERE NOT. there’s only so far a translation app can take you.
we headed south and about an hour out of munich got our first glimpse of those distant alps.
we knew at once that this driving-in-a-foreign-country business was going to be a breeze compared to previous experiences driving in italy, france, and turkey. those were category 3-5 experiences depending on the location.
the village of wallgau awaited us with large doses of unexpected fairytale charm. this village is tiny and i didn’t find a lot of information about it ahead of time. we sort of went on a wing & a prayer. oh what a right decision that was!
peaceful and quiet, with panoramic views, one after the other, spread out before us. there were even 2 balconies, not just one as the airbnb listing indicated.
oh heavenly days!
parking the wagon in the narrow drive with literally inches on either side was hair-raising. i went inside while our kindly neighbor ervin guided carol inside.
ervin spoke english, but we would find as the days went by that this was the exception rather than the rule. most menus were in german only and several people remarked in the various villages we visited that americans were less common in this part of bavaria and certainly in wallgau. this was exciting news for carol & i who love to be surrounded by people speaking the language of the country we are visiting. it also fed perfectly into that travel fantasy i have of being a stranger in a strange land.
as modernity shrinks our world more and more, finding roads that seem less traveled, feels rare. i didn’t expect to find this in germany, but there you are, we did!
Ervin our neighbor sent us off to the post hotel for dinner our first night. i found this lovely little video from that establishment that showcases the wallgau region and the isar valley.
the isar river stole my heart from the first moment i laid eyes on it. it flows here in this wild river landscape between the karwendel mountains and wetterstein massif. if you decide to make your own pilgrimmage to wallgau perhaps you will appreciate knowing that it is in the general area known as the alpenwelt karwendel in southern bavaria and includes the villages of mittenwald, & krün.
the fairytale king ludwig II often retreated to this very region and according to his 1871 diary entry he favored this area for its, “romantic location and good visibility”. i enjoyed reading in some brochure or other how on full moon nights his majesty would have his servants row him across lake soiernsee so he could revel in the moonlit atmosphere.
ooooh can’t you just see that scene playing in your mind’s eye? i can! except in my mental movie giant swans are pulling the boat.
on our 2nd day in bavaria, we made our way to the leutaschklamm a stunning waterfall river gorge thusly named because of the roaring blue leutascher ache river which eventually flows into the isar near mittenwald. it’s located right on the border of austria and germany and is most easily reached by walking from mittenwald.
we picked our way along a wooden walkway that leads into the narrowest reaches of the gorge. deeply thrilling. i shan’t soon forget that pale blue water churning under our feet.
sister went on a very challenging hike from here while i stayed behind content to admire the scenery and inhale lungfuls of the meadowgrass air.
thus concludes my first postcard from bavaria. more to follow…
the very next day after i returned home i got to spend time with my old college roomate from DC that i hadn’t seen in 14 years! dear steve.
over 30 years ago we drove cross country in his vw bug without stopping. we put the seats down and made a sleeping nest out of the back. whenever it was my turn to drive i waited until he was asleep then pulled over and went to sleep myself. i woke before him and hit the road so as to give the appearance of having driven my fair share. HAH. couldn’t fool steve, then or now. the years have been very kind to him which he attributes to his bikrim yoga practice.
we reminisced about our alice walker inspired revolutionary garden where nothing grew. our past boyfriends. grace jones. the violent femmes. people who’ve faded out of our lives. the cancer he survived. so many things. past lives. future lives.
how good to reconnect with someone and see that tiny flame of friendship from decades past roaring back to life with a few breaths.
we did blind contours which steve had never done, but he was quick to point out that i was cheating by looking. HAH! nothing gets past him.
steve flew back to DC last night and i’ve been happily going through my trip photos and finding little scenes to paint on this gorgeous arches cold press paper block. piddling. settling back into domestic bliss here at moss cottage.
hope the summer has been treating you well and that you’re off on some creative adventure. do tell. i’ve missed you. auf wiedersehen. see you soon. and all that jazz!