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Updated: May 13


I decided I wanted to try to get into a doctor Monday morning (before Doug and I took our road trip outside of the main city) since I was still having some weird skin rash thing. I didn't sleep the best, since I was nervous about so many things: whether self-pay was an option, whether they could take me same-day, whether I could get by on my German, etc. etc. I got up around 7:30 and walked into one doctor's office I'd found on Google, my breathing shallow; the doctors' names are like posted on signs outside of apartment-style buildings and you have to navigate your way through hallways and up staircases until you find it. The lady at the front told me that self-pay was an option, thank God, but once I showed her my symptoms using Google translate she gave me a business card for a different office down the road, so I went there instead, but they weren't scheduled to open until 9 am. I waited outside the door with one young woman; I asked her if she knew whether the office took walk-ins, since I'd read online that most German doctors offices have built in "office hours" where anyone can walk-in for like a 7-minute same-day session, and she said she wasn't quite sure because even when she made appointments there she still had to wait. We started chatting (in German) and she told me she was from Iran but has lived in Munich for about 7 years now and that she moved there because of a job. She said she prefers Iran to Germany, that her homeland is very beautiful and her family is there, including her dad who lives with her older brother, but that she only gets to visit once or twice a year for about a month at a time, and that her dad suffers from depression and doesn't eat much when she's not around, so it's all a bit difficult. She told me she's never been to Berlin and then asked if I liked Germany better than America, and I took a while to answer but sort of said yes, because there are lots of things I love about Germany or at least Berlin (architecture, liberal mindset, intelligence, public transit, etc.), but in retrospect I don't know if it's true that I like Germany "better"--there are also many things I love about home (family, memories, friends, independent transportation, dance community, sweet and caring people, etc).

Anyway, the office finally opened at nine but the lady at the front desk told me they do not accept walk-ins--she was getting annoyed with me because she thought I couldn't understand, even though I could and all I was asking was whether she knew of some other place around that did. So I left there a little flustered, but then Googled one more time and ended up at one last place where the (also unfriendly) lady at the front desk said they had an appointment at 3:30; I hesitated because Doug and I were supposed to rent the car and head out on our road trip by 11, but I also knew if I didn't see a doctor the whole trip could be ruined by my anxiety-OCD; but as I was contemplating, she said nevermind she actually found an appointment for 9:30 that morning! So I filled out a German form using my Oma's address and then waited in the waiting room for about 15 or 20 minutes. The doctor was nice and actually spoke English and sent me home with not quite a prescription but something that was supposed to help.

I chatted with Austin while Doug picked up our rental car, and then Doug drove us to Tegernsee, where we parked and hiked the Achenpass trail near Lenggries. It was my first hike in Germany this whole time, and it felt incredible to be out there in the hills, out of the city, although my mind was preoccupied. I tried to inhale the forest air and enjoy; there were little things that helped, like a charming little hut and a breeze that softly blew tall grasses, and a panoramic view that got better with the climb, when we looked out past all the tree lines into the grayscale mountainscape.

Lunch was indulgent: we ate PB&J and fruit and little chocolate-filled cookies while looking out at the town way below, giant rainclouds threatening but never falling. Doug played the Sound of Music on his phone as we sat by the big cross on a wooden bench, the only people up there--two women left shortly after we'd arrived. I was thinking how it might feel to live there, or at least to come back; how Munich is only a short drive from that kind of soulful terrain. The descent led us through hilly pastures of cows: bell-clad brown ones that looked up at us when we walked past, my heart thumping because big animals (even domesticated ones) always put me on edge. The cling-clang of their collars in the otherwise still and silent space did feel like such a distinct Bavarian sound, and the last leg of the hike led us through a pasture behind a row of houses and through a detachable barbed wire fence.

That night we walked from our Landaus Ertle Bed and Breakfast in Bad Wiessee to a restaurant that had Rouladen (the rolled beef we first ate in Munich), potato balls and apple red cabbage. Doug said it tasted really good after our long hike, but it wasn't my favorite: this one tasted more pickly and softer but in a mealy kind of way. There were a couple of white-haired, weathered Germans smoking next to us on the big table we sat at, and Doug said he wished we could have talked to them--they weren't saying much to each other and wished us Guten Appetite and also goodbye, but I wasn't in quite a chatty mood and felt tired from the hike.



Tuesday morning I chatted with Austin while Doug went on a walk around town, and then we both headed out around 10:30, grabbing a few things from the breakfast bar, which looked incredible: meats, cheeses, yogurts, jams, jellies, breads, fruit--it reminded me of every German vacation I've ever been on with Oma and Opa and Mom, and it felt very American and rude to just grab a couple things to-go rather than sit there and enjoy the ambiance.

We drove a couple hours from Bad Wiessee to the famous Castle Neuschwanstein, possibly the most touristy spot in Bavaria, stopping at an ADORABLE strawberry stand on the way there: like a 3D doodle. Instead of paying money to get a tour of the castle along with a million other tourists, we decided to hike around the castle: a hike that was also overflowing with people on the paved spots but at least provided a little more breathing room and space, especially the higher we climbed over slippery mud and roots.

It looked like rain, just like the hike the day before, but I love that kind of beautiful grey sky. We waited to eat our lunch until we had a good view of the lake below; one man asked if we were coming from the very top, and then I said no but I think the trail goes on and on (we'd already hiked past the official "end" point of the castle trail), and he said yes it does, that we're only about halfway through to the next peak! We contemplated only for a few seconds but it was already mid-afternoon, so we descended instead. Throngs of tourists were still around, finding the best selfie angles.

From there, we drove to Freidrichshafen and found the Select Hotel after a bit of parking stress. It was dinner time when we arrived so we walked down to Lake Obersee Bodensee and ate a pretty tasty dinner at a Greek restaurant Delphi; we've been trying to get two different dinner plates and split each in half so we can try both; I ordered Moussaka, an eggplant bake with lamb and mint, which was soft and delicious, and also tried some of Doug's chicken skewers. The sunset sky was beautiful over the lake; we'd walked up a platform before dinner and looked out over the water, and I really could have stayed there for a long while; I was feeling pensive enough for all the people and noise around me to sort of fade away. Sometimes there are those literary moments in life where a place/environment interacts with your inner turbulence/mood in such a resonant way that being there feels entirely purposeful, like you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

More pictures from Doug's camera:


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Dianne Huffman
Dianne Huffman
09 jul 2023

Oh my gosh the pictures are so beautifu!

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