We made it back to St. Bartholomä in time to look around and scout out the souvenir shop. It was stuffed full to the brim with little trinkets, maps, patches, miniature cowbells and other memorabilia. The eye couldn’t figure where to wander first or on what to settle. Of course it was the maps that seemed most practical as we explored a few cool hiking trails of the surrounding area. Today was not the day to purchase this map, but already it was the pre homework for a future trip. This trip was short and we knew it, nor would it allow enough time to do such a hiking exploration. It was stolen time, as I left Mom behind in the hospital. It was time to give myself a short break from everything, but it was also the beginning of the groundwork, the birth of an idea which would inspire a future trip. The day of return would come, with more time at hand and perhaps different circumstances, I just knew it right then.The boat tour at Bodensee offers two different routes. One that docks at St. Bartholomä, and the other that continues on further to the end of the lake. The later one offers a hike to a waterfall and to a hut above the lake. You could spend weeks just hiking from hut to hut, find modest accommodations, a roof over your head, with the atmosphere and feel of a simple existence, a life less complicated while food was all included. We were undecided of which one to take and in the end we choose the one to St. Bartholomä. Leaving the boat, after getting there, I immediately felt as if we made a mistake and I wished we could continue on. In hindsight I think it was the right choice and it leaves a yearning in my heart to return and to explore the second option when time is not such a big issue. I imagine myself up on the mountain, hiking the green pasture, smelling the wildflowers amongst the wild peaks, watching chamois and other wildlife in the distance while hearing the rhythmic sound of cowbells, enjoying the bliss, while taking a nap and feeling the sunshine on my face. It has to happen in the summer when the days are long, so this wonder can be enjoyed as long as possible. The future was already unfolding in my mind and I understood as to why our initial choice felt like a mistake. But for time sake and for making the most out of what we had, I know that our decision was perfect. Our hiking excursion to Eis Kapelle, the ice cave with the chamois was nothing to complain about and I’m glad we saw it.
We boarded one of the last boats that would leave St. Bartholomä this evening. A growling noise from my stomach came as a reminder that we really didn’t eat all that much. We noticed a few places that offered food along the way, and they were typical of the touristy feel of the area, as well as the price point that came with them. We decided to push on and it was getting late, we still had no place to stay for the night and this became a priority. It was no big deal and in the worst case scenario we would sleep in the rental car. The mid-size, compact car I had reserved for this trip, turned out to be a touring van that provided enough seating for seven people. You should have seen my eyes as I first saw it. If that was what “compact” looked like, I’d be curious to see what “big” looked like. I never experienced a van with so much power, driving this fast and gliding over the road with such ease. Not that I have experience with such a thing, but I was impressed and it quickly grew on me. Now, on top of it, it might just become the perfect solution in case we got stranded and found no place to stay that late. It was getting dark already as we arrived at a place near Ramsau, and the only thing that was still available was a whole apartment flat. It was perfect and we took it. The night was saved with a hot shower and a hot meal in the accompanying restaurant. The balcony would be awesome in the morning to enjoy the surrounding views, and we knew right then, that we wouldn’t leave a minute earlier as we were required to. We would soak up one moment at a time and it is something that I have come to enjoy and value these days. The awareness that I have gained over the years, to make the most out of these moments, to be still, without rushing through them, the ability to realize that every one moment, every one experience only comes ones in a lifetime, allows me to slow down and pause for awhile. It is very satisfying and I find a lot of gratification in those adventures.
In the end, the apartment was wonderful, but either way it would have been fine. I would tell you that if you find yourself on an adventure, and if you can stay flexible and limit your expectations, every outcome will be perfect. You might find yourself surprised about the simple things, and the moments that will hold the highest meaning. Your time will be free of disappointments, with more moments to enjoy what truly matters.
Still, the comfort and the beauty of this spot, the views and the feel of being surrounded by Germany’s mountains was hard to beat. Everything was exactly how it was meant to be.