Monday, May 29

My wet and wild weekend

a little bit of wild and a whole heck-uva-lotta wet.

Lindsay and Nic arrived in Munich on Thursday, which was Assension and a bank holiday here in good old catholic Bavaria. I gave them my oft-rehersed tour and then we came back here to hit up the Dorffest that has been going on accross the street from my building. "Dorffest" simply means town festival. When I first saw the signs I was expecting something like a county fair, animals, rides, giant vegatables... all that. But no, in true Bavarian style the Dorf fest is simply a large beer tent in a small field. I went last weekend with Katie one night and it was pretty crazy. Something like Oktoberfest only withouth the tourists and with lots and lots of high schoolers. Last Thursday was a bit more of an older crowd and the band was four middle aged men in leather pants. hot. After a couple liters of beer it seemed way less lame and really really exciting. There was even a fight near our table. And the band played alpenhorns which makes me kind of giddy, they are huge long horns from the alpine region of Germany. We started dancing with a few random Germans and stayed and until the ungodly hour of 10:30pm when the tent closed and they kicked us out. The next morning was a bit rough for all three of us, plus the weather was crappy so we weren't in any hurry to get to the mountains. We finally left around lunch time and hopped on a train.

We arrived in Berchtesgaden in the afternoon and decided to walk the 20min to the hostel. A tip for any travelers out there: Do NOT stay at the Berchtesgaden International Youth Hostel. Although it is fairly cheap, relatively clean, and has a nice view, the service sucks and it's weird and impersonal. They lock the doors at midnight, quiet time is at 10, girls and boys have to stay in separate sections, no smoking drinking dancing laughing or fun of any kind is allowed on the premesis, or so it seemed. There were a lot of random old people and families there as well as school groups. Weird. Not the kind of hostel I'm accustomed to.

But we didn't let the hostel get us down because, after all, we came to spend time outside, not inside. So we went to bed early and woke up bright and early- because we had to, although a rather nice breakfast comes with the rooms you have to be downstairs by 8am to get it. We woke up to lots of rain and fog so we decided to postpone hiking for a little while in the hopes that it would clear up despite dour weather forcasts. We popped over to a sporting goods store next door that happened to be having a basement clearence sale. I was in the market for a rain coat as my windbreaker was sadly less water proof than I had hoped. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. Lindsay and I found super snazzy bright pink rain jackets ON SALE and each bought one. The cheery color and the fact that we were walking around in matching neon pink coats helped us keep a positive spin on things for the whole trip.

After making our purchases we had ample opportunity to test them out as it was still raining. We decided to go to the salt mines which is one of the big tourist attractions in the little town. Apparently we were not the only people to think of heading underground in the rain because we ended up waiting a few hours. But, it was worth it. The salt mine was pretty darn nifty. We got to wear real minors clothes, ride a little train through dark scary tunnels and slide down wooden slides in the caves. I aslo got to see where the salt I've been buying in Germany comes from and how they get it out, which was pretty cool. After the mines we walked into the city centre, saw the church and castle and had some coffee and cake. It kind of almost started clearing up by early evening and we did a short hike in the area around our hostel. It's quite pretty down there and I perpetuately felt like I was in a kitchy bavarian postcard and/or beer comercial.

After another early night we woke up with renewed energy, intent on making it to the Konigsee and hiking even if we had to do it in the rain. The morning was actually almost nice outside and we walked the whole way to the lake, which took about two hours on a picturesque path along a river. Pretty much as soon as we got to the lake it started pouring. Hapily, the boat tours are in covered boats and despite the rain, the clouds were high enough that we still had a pretty good view of the mountains. Konigsee is very beatiful, nestled between some of Germany's largest mountains which are part of a national park. There is a little church on it which can be reached only by boat. It's not a terribly exciting little church, but we saw it and there is a fisherman there and a fish smokery, or whatever you would call that, and I bought a smoked fish which I just now ate for dinner and it was tasty. It was still raining pretty hard when we got to the other end of the lake, so we didn't get to do the longer hike we had been hoping to, but we saw the smaller Obersee lake and some cows and forests and a waterfall. Not too shabby. By this point our snazzy pink jackets were no longer keeping out all the rain or the gloomyness and it was getting chilly. The boat, bus, and train ride back was long and soggy.

Sunday evening was spent showering, eating and not leaving my room. It was perfect. Lindsay and Nic left this morning and I slept late before I had to go tutor. I would be posting pictures of my weekend right now except that I am an idiot and I lost my camera, BUT at least I'm an incredibly lucky idiot because when I realized my camera was gone today I caled Deutsche Bahn and it turns out they actually found my camera at the little train station where we had to switch trains! AND , I happen to be going back in that direction on Saturday because katie and I are flying out of Salzburg. So I can pick up my camera then and all will be right with the world. Whew.

Overall despite the rain I had a fun weekend, it was nice to see Lindsay again and I'm exited to have another minnesota friend to hang out with this summer. And although you might think that a wet and cold weekend may have put me off to more hiking, I am am now even more determined to do more outdoorsy things in the future. Maybe even a real bacpacking camping trip sometime. There is certainly no shortage of outdoors in Minnesota, so I think I will make it my goal for the summer.

Five days at home before I'm off again, jetsetting around north-central Europe. Better get something done!

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