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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

italian schnitzel

Have you ever been to Frankenmuth? It's the tourist trap to end all tourist traps about an hour north of Detroit, Michigan. It's a "Bavarian" wonderland, filled with lederhosen, chicken dinners, and decor fresh out of the 80s.

I love Frankenmuth.

Up until three days ago, I thought that as much fun as Frankenmuth was, there was no possible way Bavaria could actually be filled with that much pastel floral fabric.

I was wrong. Oh, boy, was I wrong!

The Czech and I embarked on an Italian adventure last Friday and ended up in Bavaria. I think we may be the only people to ever plan a trip in Italy and have more fun in the rain in southern Germany. Oh well....

We stayed in a charming village just on the other side of the Austrian border at a small hotel run by a German couple. The wife was no more than five-foot-three and did everything. Changed the sheets, served dinner, vacuumed the halls. And she did it all in the greatest vests. The entire inn looked exactly like Frankenmuth, which perhaps made me feel even more at ease.

After coming down with the cold of the century, this hotel was a blessing of mass proportions. I took a bath in a pink tiled bathtub while listening to rain pattering against the pavement and the gentle chiming of cowbells from a nearby mountain pasture.

This trip got off to a really rough start, but I am unbelievably grateful we got to go.

We drove though, what I am convinced to be, the greater portion of the Alps. Swiss, Italian, Lichtensteinian, Austrian, and German. There were rushing rivers, wildflowers, cows, hikers, cliffs, trees, tunnels, waterfalls, and bridges. Churches older than I can understand sat atop ledges that no mortal man should be able to reach. Ruins marking the reign of the Romans speckled the landscape. It was beautiful.

I sang a lot of tunes from The Sound of Music understanding full well why Maria couldn't help running into the hills. We walked through the rain to see the "Cinderella" castle in southern Germany. We survived the switchbacks along the shore of Lake Como in Italy and drove like a bat out of hell on the autobahn.

I have fallen in love with the Alps and for the first time in my life want to learn how to rock climb. The Czech and I are now playing the "What if?" game and saying to each other, "What if we got a job, could we save up and go camping in Switzerland one summer?"

It was a much needed hiatus for the two of us. It was the first time we had been on our own since our honeymoon. After who knows how many hours in the car, I still didn't want to send the Czech to the office this morning. I wanted to go on a walk with him instead.

We got home yesterday and all day today I have been in bed drinking tea and bonding with dayquil while reading and recuperating. The Czech is back at work and there is a pile of laundry the size of an Alpine mountain waiting for me. Tonight, though, I think I'm going to fall asleep to The Sound of Music and pretend I'm still on hiatus.

high on a hill was a lonely goatherd, lay-dee oh da lay-dee oh da lay-hee-hoo! 

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