A shot from Gosau, Austria. It was chilly and the frozen snow cracked loudly beneath our footsteps. But the landscape was pristine, casting this icy blue hue onto the land. Quiet, without disturbance there it laid before me, while I breathed in the cold crisp air, admiring the beauty of mountains, glaciers and alpine lakes.
It looks like just another day in the shire, my small, little village where I was born. It’s where Mom settled with her parents, fleeing from the war as she was five years old. It’s where Mom and Dad roamed the streets, fell in love and later married.
How Mom loved her little village. She was a loyal supporter of the church and other projects, and even outside her village she would regularly donate or purchase goods from from organizations of a good cause.
This is were it all began and where I first saw the world. In the Valley at the foot of rolling hills, called the “Petersberg.” In the foreground is the St. Veit church and the cemetery where both Mom and Dad are now buried and remain in the village they once fell in love with.
A scene from the Ansbacher Christmas Market. What a cool little stand with it’s rotating roof that reminded me of something like a windmill. These ornate, usually out wood Christmas displays can be found all over Germany and are intricately detailed and carved. The stand itself was serving hot Glühwein (mulled wine) and more. There isn’t any Christmas like the one at home, here in Germany. Where the hectic and greed of making sales, keeping the stores open day and night hasn’t quite caught up as much. Here, you can still enjoy shopping the markets for unique, often handmade goods, many times benefitting a good cause and the less fortunate. Here, you still take the time to bake cookies, while children count down the days with daily surprises or goodies from their advents calendars. Here, you still enjoy family and friends, getting together for a nice meal and simply just be.
There is no place like home for Christmas.
Another shot from my recent trip traveling the German Austrian border. I was immediately intrigued about the jagged mountain range, although our trip took us the other direction, away from this wild beauty.
Our destination, Hallstatt was overrun by tourists, even this time of the year, which was surprising to me. I would later hear that there is an exact replica of Hallstatt in China and the tourists were here to see the original. We soon found ourselves seeking an area that wasn’t buzzing with quite as many humans. And guess what, that jagged, wild beauty seemed like a perfect solution. And it was.
This particular picture was taken at the end of the day when the clouds rolled off the mountains, leaving its breathtaking landscape in a mysterious and little eerie looking fog. Imagine the sound of church bells echoing through it all and you are literally right there.
In Germany it is the 1st Advent today. Next Sunday will be the second and so on, until the 4th Advent when Christmas arrives. I am not ready at all for Christmas this year and the feel is definitely different this holiday season. But I still enjoy the beautiful Christmas markets here in Germany and there is always some magic to be found. I am glad I got to spent Moms last Christmas with her last year and I miss her so much. Especially now spending all the holidays without her for the first time.
This picture was taken visiting St. Wolfgangs church in Rothenburg o.d.T. It features an underground maze called kasematten with several small spaces, stairways, and tunnels that spread below the church and date back to Middle Age hiding places. Most of the tunnels are narrow with low ceilings and tight openings from one space to another. It is definitely worth a visit and places like these can be found throughout Germany.
Another view of Colmberg Castle and this proud buck. He was first in line when it came to eating the chestnuts fallen from a bordering tree. He was even aggressive and all other females had to wait until he finished eating.
Males 😂 just kidding but couldn’t help it. My sincere apologies to my male followers and friends, but really? Why is this so? What happened to equal rights? 😉
Ok, I go now, I had my moment of silliness.
I have always loved Rothenburg o.d.T. and it’s always been a special place for me. I have to admit that there is a shadow that lingers now because it has become the city where Mom passed away. It’s too early to tell if this will remain or dissolve in time.
One of the several entrances into my favorite medieval city, Rothenburg o. d. T.
With the anniversary of being home and spending nearly a year in Germany, there is no doubt that things were tough. But like with most things, not all was bad, and there are plenty of reasons that Germany will always hold my roots. I don’t think I can live there all year round anymore, but there will always be people, cultures, places and things that will always remind me of where I came from, and draw me back.
Back to Germany and back to one of Mom’s favorite hangouts. The old fortress is privately owned these days and was converted into a guesthouse / hotel / and restaurant. A perfect mixture of old world charm with a modern flair. I got to spend the night there a few years back and would definitely do it again. Last year we got to celebrate Mom’s 80’s birthday there and it was a very special day.
This picture was taken at a later time with just Mom and me, enjoying a couple of deers in the foreground of the fortress.