April 17, 2007
Catherine had said that Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle was the model Disney animators had used for Sleeping Beauty. “Oh yeah, really…great…that’s cool,” I said, not looking up from my magazine. We were in the classroom planning weekend travel. Lillian turned around in her chair and said something like, “Oooooo, castle! Let’s go!” Catherine added, “Oh, and it’s in the Bavarian Alps.” “Oooooo, what is?” I asked, now paying attention.
We sat with our heads leaned back in train seats. The air started to cool as we gained altitude. We pushed the windows up and closed. By the time the air in the train was warm again, the Alps had been sighted, the windows heaved down open, and our faces were numb from hanging our heads out to gawk at the jagged ridgeline growing larger before us. I’m pretty sure that heads out the window of a European train is not okay. The few other people in the car appeared concerned, but I reassured them, pointing to the snow banked mountains and flashing a big thumbs up.
We started taking pictures of the mountains, of each other taking pictures of the mountains, and even of the cows, which seemed more important than other cows, being Alps cows.
Bicycles are what made this trip exceptional. Catherine, Lillian, and I have rented these blue, old school junkers for the whole semester. A less nominal fee than we’d anticipated got our bikes passage on the train. We dropped our packs off at the hostel where we’d made reservations, then we were mobile and cruising the base of the Alps.
The rest of our trip was so perfect that you probably don’t want to hear about it. Seriously. Alright, I’ll outline it. We hiked through pines and snow, to a suspension bridge where we took our time gazing over Ludwig II’s castle and green Bavarian countryside holding sky blue lakes.
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