Mittenwald is a small town in Bavaria, Germany, that the mother was dying to visit. And so we did.
The train from Munich pulled into the Mittenwald station at 8.30 pm. The town was dark and deserted, as though there was a curfew on. As is habitual with us, we had no hotel booking. It was 6 degrees Celsius, I was wearing nothing warmer than a windbreaker and that damned trolley bag kept slamming into my thigh as I carried it for about 600 metres until a group of young men that got off the train with us pointed us in the direction of what they said was a hotel, but turned out to be a beer garden guesthouse wherein we rented a small room that we later discovered had no heating and no WiFi, all for a ridiculous 80 Euro.
The best of beginnings it was not.
As I dragged the bag into the garden up to the entrance of the guesthouse, I spotted a huge white mass of soap suds by the gate and wondered what became of the normally active environmental consciousness of the Germans.
After a good dinner of pizza and pasta at an Italian restaurant around the corner while fully exploiting its WiFi connection, we spent the night shivering beneath one blanket (the mother refused to use hers after she found strands of hair on it that didn't stray from either of our noggins). After a miserable breakfast, the mother set out to find alternate lodgings, while I got ready to get the hell out of there (I must admit however that I had no wish to venture into what I considered was below freezing no matter what temperature the weather app displayed). It was Monday and apparently the staff's day off; there wasn't a soul anywhere in the guesthouse. The keys to the room included one to the front door, which had to be locked. Nobody had thought of mentioning to us where we were supposed to deposit the keys after locking the front door when checking out. So I kept them (with the key card to the luggage room from the hotel in Munich that I'd forgotten to return to reception), thinking I'd return them the next day
The mother called me to the garden as I got the bags out.
"I want to introduce you to someone."
"There's no one here.."
She pointed to the white fluff. "Meet Snow."
"That sludge is snow?! I thought it was a mass of soap suds!"
The pile of 'snow' was adulterated with fallen leaves, dirt and mud. What happened to its purity and fluffiness depicted innumerable times on TV? I felt cheated.
The second hotel was a far cry from the first. The room we rented (for the same rate) was equipped with every amenity and both the interior and exterior were very pleasing to the aesthetic sense, as the balcony looked onto the craggy Alps that towered over the edges of the town.
|The room with a view. Breathtaking, innit?|
|More craggy mountain tops|
My only complaint was of the miserable WiFi connection, but at least it existed.
A walk about the town revealed more of its inhabitants and visitors—old people. There was no one there under the age of 50. I felt weirdly out of place.
It was Eid that same day and the first one ever without sheer khurma. Not that I missed it but the occasion necessitates the satiation of the sweet tooth. We celebrated with baklava from a Turkish restaurant and Kinder Bueno ice cream from a shop selling gelato. A very satisfactory break from tradition.
I might have forgotten to mention that with regard to clothing, I was grossly unprepared. My only thought had been the Munich run, and besides a waterproof windbreaker, compression tights and a couple of tees, all I had for the Alps was a thick sweater and jeans. I moaned as I thought of the warm coats back in Prague. This is the story of my life. Pitiful. Oh, so pitiful.