Barbara's Random Thoughts

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ten Years Ago Today (er, a few days late)

This feature kind of fell by the wayside, didn't it? On Sunday, I dug out my Italy journal one more time and came across this account of visiting Neuschwanstein with Melinda. As I poked around in the journal some more, I discovered that the day of my leaving Florence ten years ago corresponded with the day of my leaving the Bay area this year. Kind of a cool parallel. Anyway, here's my journal entry from Dec. 17. I would illustrate with some hilarious pictures, but my scanner is in a box somewhere. (You can say the same about most of my belongings at this point.)

Fussen, Germany ~ Bed & Breakfast ~ 11:23pm ~ Dec. 17th, 1996

Tonight is the last night Mel and I will have together! Tomorrow at this time, she will be on her way to Budapest, and I will be waiting in Munich for a train to Florence. It’s so strange--I still can’t really imagine that I’m leaving. I don’t want this to end. The past few days have been so good--Austria, Prague, here...! I don’t want to go back to lovely, smoggy, dirty LA! [Heh. Not too excited about that now, either!] Today was so wonderful. We got into Munich at 6:30 and hopped on a 6:50 train to Buchloe, then a regional train from there to Fussen. It was so beautiful, the sunrise, the trees covered in frost, the countryside and little houses in a blanket of snow! This area is just incredible. We are in the Bavarian Alps--they are just right there off in the distance, covered in snow!

We got into Fussen at 9am and began to walk to the youth hostel. We kept on walking...and walking...we passed this little place that said “Zimmer Frei”--rooms free--and so we thought we’d ask if it was the hostel or where the hostel was. Turns out that the hostel is closed for renovations until Dec. 27th. [Here you have a representative example of how well we planned in advance!] But, it was a nice bed & breakfast we stopped at, some people were just leaving and said it was very nice [lots of nice here] we’re staying here! It is awesome to see how things have worked out so well. (Apart from my losing things everywhere! But I’m not going to go into that!) [Heehee. I had managed to lose both my gloves and my camera case in Salzburg--possibly more items that I can’t remember now. I was very sad for the loss of those gloves!] We dropped off our luggage here and Mel took a shower, then it was off to the town to buy groceries and exchange money before catching the bus to Neuschwanstein. We got there and were so clueless as to where to go or what to do! The castle was way up the hill and we didn’t know how to get there!

We saw that a bunch of other people had gotten onto horse carriages which set out up the hill. So we went over there and got on the next one. We sat there and then noticed where the trail up the hill was...debated as to whether to take the horse carriage up and walk down or vice versa...I just wanted to stay where we were, but Mel wanted to hike...we went back and forth with our reasons and ended up getting out like indecisive fools (which I guess we are!) and heading over to the trail. We walked up to the castle through the trees and woods in the snow, catching glimpses of the castle through the tree branches. We got up there and managed to join up with a group from a military base--I think we got a better tour than we would have otherwise. The guy was so nice, went in and bought our tickets along with the rest of his group’s, let us tag along on their was [wait for it...] rad! We started at 12:15 and the other tour in English began at 12:30. They ended up passing us towards the end—we got to see more! After the castle tour, we hiked up to a bridge behind the castle. Or rather pulled ourselves up by the railing! The snow had not been cleared away and it was really packed down and slippery. But we made it to the bridge and looked out over the castle and the valley below, all covered in snow. It was so gorgeous I can’t even describe it. It was freezing cold but I’m so glad we came in the winter with the snow. It’s so beautiful! We crossed the bridge and tried to continue on, but the trail was covered in snow and we had no railing to even give us an indicator of where we were! We climbed around the hillside in the snow for a while, then headed back to the bridge. We stood there for the longest time, waiting for the sun to rise a little more and shine on the castle! It was so freezing--my hands and feet and face were numb! But the sun finally crept around and we took our pictures--many pictures!

On our hike back down to the castle, we had a rather interesting time. The snow was still very slippery and going downhill was much worse than going up! We slid down, clinging to the railing...I almost fell once, slipped, and grabbed the railing and kind of swung around under it...then a few yards later, slipped again and fell really hard on my butt! I landed on my hip and it hurt so bad! The ice was so hard! Mel was laughing at me until halfway down the next slope when she fell flat on her back! It was so hilarious--us sliding our way down the hill! [Could I use any more exclamation points?]

We got back to the castle, looked in the gift shop [the conclusion to any good activity], and then got on a horse carriage down to where we needed to catch the bus. That was cool, riding along past the trees and the snow, glancing back at the castle. We had 20 minutes or so before we needed to catch the bus, so after taking pictures with the carriage driver, we wandered down a street, walking over snow and looking at the alps in the distance behind little chalets and fields of pure white untouched snow.

I can't believe I didn't narrate a couple of things here. On our way up the hill to the castle, we took a detour off the path to a less-travelled trail that looked like a shortcut. It was indeed a shortcut, but it required clambering over a more rugged, snow-covered and slippery route...after we struggled our way to the top, we found a sign marked “sommer-weg” = Summer way. Thanks for putting that at the top of the climb...

The other episode I left out: the stupid stuff we did while waiting on the bridge for the sun to come up. The Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland is modeled after Neuschwanstein. So, Melinda and I made all kinds of Prince Charming jokes and stood there singing “Someday My Prince Will Come”...we commented that perhaps we were actually waiting for a prince instead of for the sun to rise. There's a brand of cookies in Germany that have a prince on the wrapper, and we had been eating these cookies during our trip...I actually saved the cookie wrapper just so that I could use it on the corresponding page of my photo album. Again, I wish the scanner was out. The visuals are priceless, but you'll have to take my word for it at this point.

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| posted by Barbara | 2:02 AM