A Guide to Living Life Fully

Seefeld, Austria

Seefeld, Austria

Sep 20, 2012

Without hesitation on the morning of the 3rd, I packed my bag and headed out to the information center in search of a map of hiking trails. I found some not so helpful sources, so I simply walked toward an off-season ski slope. From the base, it didn’t look like getting to the top would be too difficult. Fifteen minutes later, I was resting with the cows on the slope as chairlifts paraded over me. A drink of water for me and a handful of grass for my friend the cow and I was pushing onward and upward. I reached the top a much sweatier version of myself (even though it was chilly). Unfortunately, the overcast weather forted the amazing views but I was happy to just explore and walk. I walked/hiked around the top of the mountain before descending down the opposite side from the town of Seefeld—when I didn’t like a trail, I would walk through the woods or the open fields until I found another one. Eventually, I found myself on the outskirts of another town about forty-five minutes from Seefeld. The walk back at the base of the mountain was much less technical and but just a scenic. Shortly after arriving home, I started to prepare dinner—I used a soup packet I had and Italian dressing as the spice for a delicious chicken, pasta, and bell pepper medley. After dinner, we went out and played a round of putt-putt golf—it was odd to play such a commonplace game in such a magnificent place (also, Austrians have really odd putt-putt holes…some of the holes didn’t even have holes; they were more obstacle courses for your ball). A quick gelato stop later and Madison and I were sitting on top of the foothill taking in dusk while enjoying two incredibly terrible bottles of wine (drinkable shit).

We woke up early on the morning of the 4th to hop a train for our first day trip to Munich. We realized shortly into the trip that we left a few places that we really wanted to visit off our itinerary. Since Munich was only a two and a half hour train ride, we made the trek. First we toured the Olympic site, infamous for the Munich Massacre during the 1972 Olympics. We paid homage to the Israeli Olympic team and Mark Spitz’s swimming records. After we did a quick tour of the BMW/Rolls Royce Museum (Mini coming soon) on our way into the heart of Munich to Hofbrauhaus. Soon we were each several liters deep in fantastic beer, making friends with people we didn’t share a common phrase with, playing rummy (with the deck of cards in my backpack), and learning/doing card tricks with a random waiter. I found a train for us to go back toward Seefeld with one switch in either Mittenwald or Innsbruck and passed out with the attendant waking me at the last stop and a text from Madison (who was already on the other train) saying “Ur changing trains here right?” I made it on the train and found a nice open window to watch the looming silhouettes of the mountains passing, barely visible in the moonlight.

We went to the pool on the 5th! That’s right, we went to an awesome pool in the Alps…with waterslides! Not just any waterslides, crazy dangerous non-USA waterslides (not as dangerous as the ones in Costa Rica). One of the slides was only open 20 minutes of every hour. The last hour we were there, I managed to go down it 10 times within the 17 minutes (the lifeguard jipped me from a run or two) it was open. This includes running up the stairs, making it through the three drop-pool sections of the slide (with moderately dangerous hydraulics), pushing past children and families, and not getting anything more than bruises while going down. This was basically the day’s activities in their entirety; other than listening to Madison curse up a storm while trying to prepare scrambled eggs and salad for dinner.

Having been battered and bruise by the waterslides the day before, I got up leisurely on the 6th. I then headed to check on renting a scooter to go to Neuschwanstein; unfortunately, the place only sold them. Since I wasn’t about to buy a scooter, it determined the next days long train ride process. I then bought a few postcards and walked around town filling them out in the various spots depicted in their pictures. When I went to mail said postcards, the post office was closed for a two-hour lunch break. So, I headed back, packed a bag with plenty to drink, and talked with the lovely Doc P. When the standard Austrian lunch break was over, I headed to the post office and sent my three post cards (over five euro…wowza) and headed for the hills… literally. The tallest peak in Seefeld was taunting me; therefore, I started toward it. Given that it took me 25 minutes to get up the other ski mountain (with the jumps) this one was much bigger; I reached the top after two and a half hours of hiking, scrambling, sweating, and panting. But it was immensely gorgeous and felt like such an accomplishment, as I was literally on my hands and feet inching my way up the last 100 meters or so (stopping every meter to catch my breath). It took me an hour and a half to get down (including gawking at some girl screaming at her boyfriend because it was too difficult for her to get down the slope). Also, as I set out on the hike, some old man ripped one of the loudest farts I have ever heard directly in front of me (I don’t think he knew I was there and I contemplated holding my nose as I passed him). We had dinner at one of the swankest places in Seefeld (they dished out half of my chicken stew onto my plate and took the rest in the kitchen to keep it warm, when I finished they dished out more). While eating there was also a random marching band.

We woke up early on the morning of the 7th to catch two trains followed by two buses in route to Neuschwanstein. Neuschwanstein is the castle that the Disney castle is designed off of. Needless to say, it was breathtaking. To steal Parul’s words, most castles are built to be functional, little slits for windows so arrows can’t easily pass through, and not to be romantic. Neuschwanstein is built to be a fantasy (literally, look up the crazy commissioner King Ludwig II of Bavaria). Although the inside of the castle was brilliant (featuring many Swans, wall paintings of scenes from Wagner plays, and a cave room), the view from a bridge over a waterfall overlooking the castle was the most memorable part (other than a mother asking a little boy if he wanted a cave in his house one day and him replying, “a man cave”). We worked our way home, fending off a drunken German on the train, and made pasta for dinner.

The 8th was a relaxed day for me. Madison and I found a laundry place and washed our clothes. While the cycle was running we walked around town, which happened to be hosting a big festival. There were so many talented artisans (the wood carvings were incredible). I bought some delicious dried meat. During the tractor parade, one of the tractors featuring a fake cow, managed to shoot water from one of the cows utters directly into my face/eye; funny but kind of gross given the smell of the water. I did a few more laps around town, worked on some blogs, talked with Parul, and generally relaxed. For dinner I made scrambled eggs (no serious cursing) and we ate leftover pasta (which was pretty gross). It was the one-month mark of the trip.

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