12 December 2008

Let It Snow

We've finally been getting snowfall worthy of the Alps. Last Friday I was walking to the bar and the snow was falling so heavily that I felt I'd soon be covered by it, unable to move. The flakes were huge! But it was beautiful. I only took two photos because it was pretty wet out. The next morning the town was encrusted in snow. What a beautiful sight. It's been snowing on and off all week. If it continues to snow today, I'll try to get more photos. The one below is of the Franziskaner Church.
I'm planning on buying a sled very soon. Maybe it will be my Christmas gift to myself. There's a great hill in the north of town that's almost totally free of trees. I can't wait to go there. Also, the locals have been telling me about a few places in the mountains. Apparently, a favorite pasttime of the folks here is to go up to these old hunting huts (which are now restaurants, of course), drink some Jägertee, and sled down. Although, I've been warned about how dangerous it can be because there's a spot near one of them where you can basically fly right off the mountain if you're not careful. I think I'll try to get some friends to go with me.

There are a lot of small cultural, social, and day-to-day differences I notice here. I've been making note of some of them when I remember to, so I think I'll start posting some from time to time. One strange thing is that whenever I pack my cigarettes here, I get strange looks. That's because the German way to pack cigarettes is one at a time. How very inefficient. How unlike them.
They show really gristly stuff on television. The news can be a horrorshow. Especially when they show accidents, because it seems that the accidents here are always really bad. You can hardly recognize the car after a collision on the autobahn.
Another thing is that sink drains are so small. My kitchen sink drain is the same size as my bathtub drain. Not a fan of the small drains.

That's all for now. I'll try to post more photos soon!

(sorry it's a little blurry)

10 October 2008

Autumn Hiking Excursions

I spent a lot of time hiking this week to make up for the lethargy of weeks past. The weather has been lousy here lately. Cloudy and rainy and cold up until this week. Earlier this week I went to Marienbrücke, which is behind Neuschwanstein. It's an iron bridge but it's really high and the wooden planks that line it all buckle. I'm not afraid of heights, but the flexible flooring made me a bit uneasy. Walking back, I guess I had a funny look on my face as I carefully selected my steps, because these guys gave me a knowing smile like they could tell I was wary.

I started walking up further, but ever since the Tegelberg I've been nervous about my knee. I need to get a walking stick or something, like a little old lady. Anyway, today I was going to try to walk to the Falkenstein ruin but I didn't quite make it. I knew there was a chance I would back out. It takes over an hour to walk to the trail near the Alatsee that leads to it, and then it's straight up. I didn't think the path would rise so quickly since the ruins are pretty far away, but it was rough. So after about 15 minutes I decided to turn around and do it another day. My legs were already worn out from the walk. In fact, they were still a little sore from the trek up to Marienbrücke. The whole walk took about 3 ½ hours today so that's not bad. Plus, I got to take some fall photos of the Alatsee.

View of Alpsee from Neuschwanstein

Marienbrücke (it's a long way down!)

Kobelweg (trail)


03 October 2008

Fall aka Herbst

Seeing the snowy peaks gave me a flashback. Back to when I first got here. It was strange. I actually gasped when I first noticed the snow; after the clouds from the morning rain cleared away. Just yesterday I took a photo of the changing trees. Look at the difference! I can't wait until it snows down here.

I started school last week, so it's back to the grind. I've started studying German a little more, too. I'm getting better, but I need a lot more practice. Not much else going on. My bicycle seat is broken so I haven't been riding at all. No comments on the fat butt that broke it. The weather hasn't been great so I haven't been getting out much. Just studying and working. I'm going to try to go to Croatia for Christmas since I won't be able to see my family in the US. It's really cheap to fly and I have relatives there, so hopefully I can find someone who will have me. I figure it's a great time to get back there and re-connect.


Moon over Füssen

Fountain near the tourist center

04 September 2008

Bike Ride to Reutte (Austria)

Sunday I went for a nice long bike ride to Austria, which is very closeby. My destination was Reutte, which is about 13 kilometers away (8 miles). I recently found out that I can ride pretty far into Austria without worrying about steep inclines because there's a big valley that stretches down quite a ways. There was only one hill I had to walk up. It was really nice. The Lech breaks up into streams at parts, and is very clean and clear, much like it is here in Füssen. It took me about 4 hours round trip which is the longest distance I've ever rode my bike. I went a little farther than Reutte, so I probably rode about 10 miles each way. Then I stopped near the bridge pictured below and waded in the water for awhile because it was much too cold to swim in. A very nice adventure. Next time I think I'll go a little farther south since I can always take the bus back if I get too tired.

Here's a map so you can get an idea of the path I took:

19 August 2008

Finally Settled

At last! My new place is feeling lived-in, I've got adapters for most of my stuff so I finally have a proper stereo set up and I feel really comfortable here. Not much new going on, just studying and trying to enjoy summer before it's gone. I went for a long bike ride on Sunday to a nearby town called Pfronten. It's only 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) away but they have a totally different dialect there. Speaking of the language, I've been working on that, too. It's really hard but I just keep working at it.
Today I went for a ride to Austria, which was cool. All this time, I thought the bike path ended by the world's biggest wheelbarrow (which we are the proud owners of), but it continues on. That's great because for one thing, it's the easiest way to get to Austria and for another thing, cigarettes are cheaper there and they have 20 in a pack, as opposed to 17 per pack here.
I finally saw a squirrel today! I was starting to think they didn't have any down here. It was cute and brown and had big ears. But there aren't any fireflies, which I just thought about yesterday. And no racoons.
Speaking of stuff I didn't think they had around here...there was a torso found in the woods last Sunday. Thankfully they found the guy and it wasn't some random freak. He killed his girlfriend. Horrible.

I hate to end on that note, but I can't think of anything else new that's going on around here.

This is what I see when I'm sitting at my desk.

Here's the Säuling (the highest peak in the region)

Panorama from my new balcony:

Here's the view from my old apartment. We often get this phenomenon here; clouds to the south and sun to the north.
A rainbow during a storm a few weeks ago:

30 July 2008

Trek to the Tegelberg

I went to the top of the Tegelberg yesterday, which I found out is not the highest peak in the region: it is the second highest. (I was misinformed)

I keep asking myself why I did it and was it worth it? I still don't know. Here are some notes I took on my first break yesterday:

"This was much harder than I thought. I just stopped for a beer at the half way point of the hike (I think). My face is salty and my back is sweaty. I think it's the hottest day of the year so far. Definitely the most humid. (around 88F/33C with 85% humidity) *checks time* I've been walking uphill for an hour. Oh no, that means I'm only 1/3 of the way up. And that's after a 30 minute bike ride, too. Thankfully, I brought some lunch and there's another restaurant further up to boot. I must say I am annoyed by all of the people passing me the other way. Most of them took the cable car up, of course, so they are not sweaty or out of breath like I am. Fuckers. I wish they weren't allowed to go down the same way we're hiking up." The ones who didn't cheat!

After another beer at the top, I started to take a trail that seemed to be going down for awhile then started going up again. I was so pissed off, I ranted as I hiked back another 20 minutes to take the same trail down. I didn't want to take the same way down, but I had no choice. It was really steep and very rocky during parts. My knees took a lot of abuse on the last stretch down, which was paved but pretty much vertical. I never get knee pain normally, but today my right one hurts. I got on my bike a couple times today to stretch it out a bit, but my body waist-down is wrecked. And I have sunburn on my shoulders and chest because I failed to properly cover myself with SPF 20.

It took me almost 6 hours of walking round trip. Plus over almost an hour biking there and back. I feel a sense of accomplishment, sure. But really, if I had it to do again, I don't know if I would. It was really hard and the photos were good, but not breath-taking. Perhaps you guys will think otherwise.

The first part of the hike:
The first break. (Notice the natural arch):

This was one of the paths I could've taken up:View from the top:

Füssen from above:


The descent:

Check out the so-called "path" I had to climb down:

25 July 2008


I went for a ride to Weißensee today. I was there once before in early spring on a really ugly day. I always thought it was especially beautiful because of the pebbly bottom and the crystal clear water. Today it was even more beautiful than I remembered it. I was upset that I didn't bring my swimsuit because there was nobody around and the water was so inviting, so I took my shoes off and walked around a bit. The pebbles at the bottom really hurt to walk on so I wasn't there long. Then I rode around the lake until I got to a point where I couldn't bring the bike anymore. I came across a waterfall, which was pretty cool.

I went back around and by then I was a little hot from riding and walking. I really wanted to swim! Then it occurred to me that the underwear I was wearing was dark blue, so I decided that nobody would know the difference and I took off my shorts and went for a swim. I figure it wouldn't matter since people often swim here nude anyway. And I must say, it was liberating. And just look at how clean the water is. It was like heaven. Swimming there was so much better than Schwansee, as lovely as that is. I found a new favorite spot!