Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Deutschland Diaries Part 3: Lautersee and Beyond - A Pictorial Journey

A bus took us up from Mittenwald to the glimmering lake, Lautersee (see is German for lake).

I turned to get a better view of my surroundings and spotted—SNOW!! The top half of a hillside caked with the stuff! I hopped over the wooden fence, ran across the meadow to get a better look but was called back by the mother who feared I was trespassing. How is it my fault if the snow decides to land on private property instead of on the road?

I needn't have bothered, as we shall soon see.

The lake lay still and clear, allowing one to see what lay beneath the surface, bunches of dried water reeds separating it from the road. A few trees stood bare, having been stripped of their autumn glory. Pine trees surrounded a part of the lake on the farther reaches of its waters, their once deep green leaves fading into ochre and red. The brilliant whites of the snow capped peaks that loomed behind neatly overshadowed those of the sparse clouds floating right above the Alps.

We followed a trail that led up a hill, away from the lake. The weather app foretold the mercury was falling to a single digit and I was still dressed in just my trusty windbreaker, thin sweater and jeans, but the stiff uphill climb kept my blood from coagulating. There was no wind to speak of; the sun shone bright but the trees lining the path before us cast long shadows upon it, so much so you couldn't even make out the colour of the earth.

And what did we see?


So. Much. SNOW!!

I packed some into a fist-sized ball. There was no one around to indulge me with a snowball fight so I told the mother to turn around and tossed it at the back of her coat. When we came to a field by the road where the white fluff lay untouched, I dropped flat on my back and waved my limbs against the snow to make a snow angel. The attempt drenched my jeans, but it was worth it! One-third of #13 on the Before I die list—make snow angels—can now be crossed off!

(Note: All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone 4S and appear before you au naturel, i.e. no edits or filters)

The mother wanted to move in the direction of the Schloss Elmau—going to a castle (the German word is 'Schloss') in the mountains couldn't be bad, right? Distrustful of the signboards that clearly indicated which turn we had to take, she asked a trio of old Nordic walkers passing by which way to turn. They offered to guide us and so we tagged along, pausing at intervals as I gleefully discovered more snow. We passed quite a few hikers, all of whom would greet us with a smile and a cheery 'hello!' =D Nothing quite like brief encounters with pleasant strangers.

First snow angel :)
We continued our hike and came upon another lake called Ferchensee. The air was so still, the scenery and its reflection met to form perfect symmetry. 

We marched on through woods, glacial rivers thundering by us. The trio of Nordic walkers graciously pointed us in the right direction, bidding us farewell. The trees began thinning out and a couple of cranes, almost camouflaged in the autumn hues, came into view much to my disgust. And finally, there stood Schloss Elmau. 

Corny, but I kept singing 'Walking in the Winter Wonderland'

Go forth!
Camouflaged cranes

We had been misled. Schloss Elmau was no castle, just a fancy resort. Disappointing, but the surrounding countryside more than made up for it. The sky is never this blue in Kuwait. 

Schloss Elmau

Lush green meadows lay concealed behind hillocks, and a steep climb on one of these revealed...

a basketball hoop. Strange place to have one but to each his own..

The commotion from the construction nearby was nerve-wracking. Add hunger and weariness to the equation and even a place as stunning as this can't stop irritation from building up. We walked to the resort to grab a bite to it but were daunted by a swarm of bees that were whizzing around. No freaking way was I going to eat there! The receptionist at the front desk arranged for the driver to drop us off at the train station a few kilometers away, without us even making any request of the kind. It was really nice of her. 

Once back in Mittenwald, we had seafood for dinner at a little restaurant. Ah, food. Food makes me happier than it should.


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