Saturday, October 29, 2011

More cow bell...

Our trip to Garmisch was just as everyone had promised it would be.  It truly is a beautiful place.  Hard to believe this was technically a TDY trip for Big R.  The Army's resort, Edelweiss, is a great hotel that really makes us crazy Americans feel at home (as if we need any help in that category).  It was a bizarre feeling to be in this characteristically German town and be paying in dollars and surrounded by Americans speaking English and talking slang. Even though Edelweiss didn't have the German charm that would have come with staying at a Zimmer or Gasthaus in town, there was a small comfort in staying there mostly because we were surrounded by families - translation: small children all running around and screaming and yelling.  Made us feel less like we were standing out, I suppose.  Not that little r is all that bad, but it does always feel like the German children are ridiculously well-behaved. I have to admit though that little r is becoming quite the little traveler and despite a couple of meltdowns, he was really great for us on this trip (it helped that one of those days I was able to put him into daycare on the post and enjoy some mommy-time.  I was feeling really guilty about it until I picked him up and realized he had a great day as well.)

To me, the best part about Garmisch was the scenery.  The town is nestled in the Alps and surrounded by beautiful mountains including the Zugspitz, which is the tallest peak in Germany.

This is a picture of our hotel and the view from our balcony...

And when the town is quiet (which, frankly, is a majority of the time), you can hear the sound of cow bells... right behind the resort is a cow farm and the cows all proudly wear their cow bells.  It is such a cool sound...

When little r and I first arrived on Wednesday, the weather was overcast and chilly.  So we just stayed inside and enjoyed some dinner with Big R and other officers and spouses.  It was a lovely evening.  Big R got a much needed massage, and then took little r up to the room so that I could enjoy an evening out. The next morning came much too fast, but I had a big day planned and there's nothing like a toddler to get you moving first thing.  I had reservations for little r to spend the day at the daycare while I got to enjoy a massage and some time sans toddler walking through the town.  I know, my life is rough... The weather was amazing, and I spent much of the afternoon walking through town with a new buddy and her sweet little 6-week old girl.  We had a nice time taking in the sights.  Here are some pictures from around Garmisch.

The best part of our trip, by far, was the last day.  The crew finished up the conference before lunch, so we spent the afternoon on the mountain.  The Zugspitz is apparently the place to go, but the price was a little high for our blood (35 EUR or $70/person - OUCH), and we got advice to do another mountain. That proved to be the greatest advice we had gotten all week.  We went with some friends (including my new buddy) and headed up the Alpspitz, which sits right behind the Edelweiss resort.  There is a Garmisch Classic package you can by for 24 EUR/person (that's more like it), that includes three separate gondola rides up, across, and then down the mountain.
little r thought he was riding on a train.

We went WAY up there.  Felt like we just kept climbing...

Here we are at the top.  Little r looks cold but it was actually very warm when we were there.

Walking up to the lookout bridge - Big R didn't go much farther than this... Turns out little r shares his Daddy's fear of heights.

Snow on the mountain.

Yummy German lunch that would make any vegetarian squeemish...
 After lunch we took the second gondola ride across the mountain.  From there it was a short hike down the trail to our next Gondola ride that would take us to the bottom.  At this point, little r was exhausted and we tried all we could to get him to take a snooze.

Turned out the only thing that worked was letting him fall asleep in my arms. He hasn't done that in over a year.

Here are some more pictures we took on our brief hike to our final gondola decent back to Garmisch.

The afternoon could not have gone better.  The scenery was breathtaking and the weather was perfect.  Unfortunately, we got stuck in hellish traffic heading home.  Seems everyone in Munich was heading out of town yesterday, and we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for a couple hours.  Not fun.  Even in Germany sitting in traffic sucks.  We took note of that and will try to avoid that area like the plague on a Friday afternoon heading home.

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