(Oktober 28) Berchtesgaden is about a 15 minute drive from here. There is an epic tourist hub in the main city to see the stunning sights of the Königssee. We were in Berchtesgaden last week to get the car fixed and N suddenly turns to me, having realized I haven’t been to this Königssee thing, and tells me I must go. Soon, too, because they close for the winter months. So a few short days later, she gave me the day off and I took what ended up being a perfectly timed trip: Bavaria is in the peak fall color season, the weather is lovely, and the sights were absolutely stunning.
The Königssee was formed by glaciers in the last ice age and is a long lake with steep mountain sides rising on all sides. It’s famous for several reasons: one being the pilgrim church of St. Bartholomä.
The church is located on a peninsula a good ways down the lake, accessible only by boat or hiking trails through the mountains. The Church looks pretty epic from the outside- I suggest googling “St. Bartholoma Konigssee,” it’s worth it. I was looking forward to going inside, but sometimes it’s just the history that makes it cool though… the inside reminded me of a mission church in its size, style, and decorations. I didn’t take pictures.
Another reason this place is popular is it’s remarkably clear echo. Tour boats on their way to the peninsula always stop and play a trumpet or flugelhorn into the mountainside, and the echo results in a hauntingly beautiful song that seems to be played by the water and mountains themselves. The boat I was on was filled with Germans and Asians: when we reached the echo place and the tour guide asked the Asians to open the windows, nothing happened since they could not understand. After having discovered this language barrier, the jolly guide proceeded to make jokes about how picture taking and filming was strictly forbidden- which I found particularly entertaining being as the boat was full of cameras in use. People here are used to speaking a language that others do not understand: this is something I have a hard time getting used to. When you can speak a different language, it is apparently common to talk about the people you are around since you know they can’t understand you. As I slowly learn the language, I’ve caught myself a bit embarrassed at what I hear being spoken of in my company, until I realize the people they speak of don’t understand. Being multi-lingual comes with strange customs.
To get to this lovely place, I took a train, a bus, and a boat. Traveling Europe could be summed up in the word “transfers.” I was proud of myself for not missing any of my transportation, getting on the right vehicles, checking times before I left the station, and standing on the right side of the road or tracks.
I had about 45 minutes to kill before my last train home, and I had used almost all my money, so I couldn’t even go sit in a coffee shop to wait. I contemplated what to do as I slowly walked through the station looking for something to eat for 35 cents. I dumdum sucker wasn’t really appetizing to me, but because part of me is still very much a child, I thought it would be fun to see if there was anything I could purchase in the surrounding shops for .35
This turned out to be an extremely self-entertaining game for 2 reasons: 1) it’s pretty stupid, and when you realize you’re doing something stupid but enjoying it, you have to laugh. 2) I was taking pictures of completely random items in the store. And I realized that if anyone asked me what I was doing, I couldn’t answer them because #languageprobs. I wandered through almost an entire drugstore before I found my first item: and then I really busted out laughing, because now I know that if I only have 35 cents in Germany, I won’t go hungry… but I won’t necessarily be happy either…
Things only got better from there. If had 50 cents- even 40 cents, I could have bought a candy bar, a granola bar, a bottle of water even. But with 35 cents… the choices are so far spread across the edible food spectrum that I’m honestly glad I took pictures for you.
I didn’t buy anything. I decided I wasn’t actually that hungry. This is the day I discovered I am easily entertained. And I caught my train, which is what really matters.