Right now, the morning sun is breaking from the clouds that delivered yesterday’s rains. The bright orange glow is overflowing, radiating the sky, attempting to cut through the heavy haze of fog that lies like a blanket over the earth.
I see forest, dense populations of evergreens. The train’s high speed is blending and blurring them together, forming a wall of green outside my window. Through the gaps of this fortress and I see vast green pasture with wooden farmhouses randomly dispersed. White houses with bright red roofs, winding roads, and every once in awhile a church steeple rising from the center of the town. Picturesque. The quiet serenity of morning. Calm. I can’t help but think of my Daddy. It’s no wonder he fell in love with this place.
And by “this place,” I’m referring to Germany.
I’m sitting here at my train window seat, Verona-bound, leaving Munich, trying to take in everything from my last train ride of this trip. These past few days have been full of excitement and lots of picture taking – so much in combination, in fact, that I failed to recharge my camera (damn it). I would love to have it to capture the beauty I will witness out this window on my journey through Germany, Austria, and Italy, but the images I save from sight to my memory bank will have to do, and my words will have to paint the picture for you to catch a glimpse.
Now entering the scene out my window: the Alps. They are emerging from behind a curtain of morning mist and transforming from blue silhouettes to majestic snow-covered giants as we come nearer.
Little dots evolve into sheep and horses, grazing lazily in the open pasture. Then I decide that if I had to have the life of a sheep, I think I’d want it to take place in Germany as well, at the foot of the Alps.
I don’t know if it’s because I just wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I didn’t see cows. Or maybe I just mistaken the cows for sheep. Jenny said she thinks her neighbors that live next door to her at her farmhouse apartment have cows, but she hasn’t seen them yet. Probably because of how cold it’s been – they are probably in the barn, kept sheltered from the bitter cold of this year’s roughest winter. But they have chickens for sure, and sell the eggs they produce at the little shack nearby.
Now my thoughts go back to Jenny, and I think of how this trip came about. It all started with indecisiveness, as is typical for me when it comes to make any decisions revolving around a high involvement purchase, such as the plane/train combo it took to get to Munich from Malta to visit her.
After surviving the initial panic attack I’d experienced after seeing the final costs after (all the million bajillion) taxes of my trip (stupid RyanAir), I finally settled down and reminded myself that it would all be worth it in the end.
The next day, as if my cortisol levels weren’t high enough, I received an email from my professor, detailing the 500+ pages of reading, 2 essays, and 2 presentations we had due all within the next week. Followed by lots of reading, yoga, and breathing, the next day had arrived. I packed my almonds, fruit and water for the journey (tell me why I was strategically planning and rationing as if I was the tribute drawn to fight to survive in the arena? Oh yeah, because I just finished Hunger Games and it now consumes my thoughts), and headed to the airport.
It was probably a bad idea to have an Americano in the airport as I waited to board my flight, as the cup was probably double the size of a standard mug, but it was seriously the best Americano I’ve ever had in my life. Yeah, it was even worth not being able to sleep at all on the 1.5 hour flight + 6.5 hour train ride. Kind of.
I arrived to Munich, a zombie, and was greeted by Jenny who met me at the train station.
I’ve been to Munich before for a family trip, but that was five years ago. We went on a tour with a bus full of old couples, and jetted across all of Europe, spending a day or two in several different cities for the span of two weeks. Due to the very short amount of time we had, we did the touristy-tourist of activities at each stop.
But this was a different experience.
I got to experience Bavaria, Germany each day as a local through Jenny’s shoes. She lives about 40 minutes from the city, in a cute town called Seefeld-Hechendorf. She told me she lived in the middle of nowhere, and she was right. And it was perfect.
Because Jenny had to work from 8:30 a.m. until the afternoon each weekday, we arranged what would be my duration’s stay routine—she would go to work, and I would get up whenever and then head to the town at the next stop, Herrsching, and do school work at a small internet café called Pier 48. Then she would meet me, and we would go explore from there.
I loved the city, and its outdoor markets (where we bought the most delicious cheeses and spices) and the Friday night we spent there, dancing the night away. I loved the romantic towns by the lake, and their beautiful biergartens (and the beer itself, of course!). I loved going to the grocery store to get food to cook at home. I loved sitting with Jen on her balcony overlooking the farm with a glass of wine, chatting as the sun went down. I also loved Jenny’s homemade carrot and pea soup, a recipe of her grandma’s that she’d come to master. I loved being cozy in PJs at her apartment, enjoying girl talk and German Top Model with Heidi Klum. (I used to think the German language was so brash and scary, but watching more TV, hearing conversation around me, and mainly just hearing Jenny speak it fluently when we would go out, made me fall in love with it.) It was only three days, and it already felt like home. I’m glad I went, because now all I want to do is go back.
As I reminisce on the memories of the past couple days, I find my eyelids are fluttering, and I catch my head bobbing forward as my body attempts to sneak off to sleep to the hum of all these thoughts running through my mind. But I don’t want to fall asleep and miss the rest of the scenic journey back – we’re passing Innsbruck and it’s one of my favorite cities in the world.
It’s worth forcing my eyes to stay open for. Coming here was worth it. Everything was worth it, meant to be. And now I can’t help but think about how beautiful life is when you live it in refusal to miss out on moments like these, without the fear of taking risks, and always striving for the next adventure.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” –Hellen Keller