Since returning to work full time on 15 June, I haven’t done many outdoor activities. My first few weeks back to working full time were rough. It’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts to not being on your feet all day, and at the end of my work days I was useless. My days off were spent resting, or doing something low key.
My body has since readjusted to working full time, but I still opt for chill after work adventures – if any at all.
I haven’t hiked much since I finally summited the Kramer at the end of May. The bigger hikes take more planning, and my body has to be in a specific condition for me to succeed, but one mountain I can always count on even when I feel less than 100% is the Eckbauer. Although I never feel 100%, but you get the idea.
The Eckbauer is the perfect balance of “I need to move because I feel like a slob,” and “but I don’t want to do anything crazy.” The elevation of this summit is a mere 1237m (4058ft) with a gain of 529m (1736ft). Just enough of a sweat – an hour of a climb, without feeling destroyed at the end. At the top of the Eckbauer there is a Hütte if you fancy a bite or a beer.
This hike is arguably one of my favorite views for minimal work.
The Eckbauer is right next to the Olympic Ski Stadium, where the 1936 Winter Olympics were held. Before the Olympics, the town of Garmisch (where I live) and the next door town of Partenkirchen were separate entities. They did not associate as a unit. That was until Hitler decided he wanted to have the Olympics in little ol’ Garmisch.
Garmisch alone was too small for something as monumental as the Olympics, and Hitler decided to combine the two towns into one. While each town is still individually referred to by their original names, the technical name for the entire area is Garmisch-Partenkirchen. But don’t ever go into Partenkirchen and call it Garmisch, the older locals still value their separation.
I love history.
Another small hike (more of a mountain walk) I did last month was on the Kramerplateauweg, which I have walked on manyyyyy times. I normally wouldn’t blog about this because I have done it so many times, however this time was different.
Spring and summer time means animal time on the mountains surrounding Garmisch. What this means is the cows, goats, and sheep come out to play. The farmers in the area have spots of land on some of these mountains for their livestock to roam, and for weeks I saw a small patch of white specks on the Kramer from my room.
These specks made loud bell clangs that carried throughout the valley, and I knew they must be sheep. While I was on my walk this day, I found my way into the open field of sheep and it was like walking into Narnia. I didn’t seek the sheep, but suddenly there they were, and suddenly my life had a kind of meaning I didn’t know it was missing.
I admit there were a few times the sheep came walking towards me briskly, and it scared me. They were just curious and wanting to say hello, but anytime an animal with teeth approaches me, aggressive or not, I get a bit freaked. They just wanted to know if I came baring gifts in the form of food, but I sadly disappointed them.
I sat with these sheep listening to the comforting clangs of their bells for about ten minutes before heading back down to my bike. This was an unexpected, but wonderful surprise. I find such joy in the sounds and smells of farmland. I know that sounds bizarre, but it reminds me of the simpler times of open rolling hills in Ireland.
One more notable post work adventure I embarked on last month was to Badersee – a very small lake in Grainau. Grainau is the next town over from Garmisch (opposite of Partenkirchen), and I ride my bike here often when I want to shake out my legs. These backyard quickies are such great options for movement after work, or just on days I don’t feel like committing to a long bike ride.
A quick 15 minute ride, an even quicker 10 minute walk through the woods, and Badersee provides a breathtaking view.
I live in an amazingly beautiful place of the world, and the thought of leaving brings a physical ache to my heart. I feel the heavy throbs of sadness every time I think about it, and unfortunately I have been thinking about it a lot lately. My time here is coming to an end, but if I had come here with a significant other I could probably stay forever.
Alas, I have struggled with my job for a while now, and I have already stayed longer than I planned simply because I am head over heels in love with Bavaria.
My plan is to leave at the end of September, but I know this will be like pulling a rotten tooth without anesthesia – painful, but necessary. I would love to stay in Germany, and there are other options for jobs, but there is a small piece of my heart that tells me this is not the time. I am trying to balance my heart and my mind, and I am trying to trust that God has a plan for me I do not yet see.
I knew when I came to Germany my time here would be ephemeral in the grand scheme of life.
Sometimes I daydream about truly diving into the German culture, learning more German (Mein Deutsch ist nicht gut), making friends with the locals, and completely overhauling my life. Then I think about my cat, and my family and something stops me every time. Change is something I have always struggled with, which is ironic for someone who has enjoyed working seasonal jobs the last three years.
This job has been different, I will have been here just under two years, which is a significant chunk of time. The longer the time, the harder the change. Life here is nothing like it was when I first arrived though, and I sense the need to move on. As much as it physically pains me to say. I have become increasingly more lonely the last few months, as my core group of friends has left.
This might seem contradicting as I have posted about fun friend adventures, but those are brief weekends among months of loneliness.
I have only just begun to open the can of worms that is self healing from past trauma, and this adventure has been amazing, but it’s time to put more focus and energy into healing my spirit, mind, and body. I have also noticed with the return of my period, my emotions are out of control for one to two weeks of the month.
I’m talking really dark headspace.
Once the PMS weeks are over, my loneliness calms down, my body feels better, and I feel more intrigued by pursuing life in Europe with a different job. Is this the change I need? It’s hard to say, I don’t know which way is up and which way is down right now. Part of me does not want to come back to America, but I also feel very out of balance right now.
One thing is for certain – I cannot keep working, and living where I am. It is not healthy for me in any way, shape, or form. I must prioritize quality friendships ASAP. I will leave it at this for now as I reminisce on my June jaunts, and as I daydream about all the adventures I hope to embark on before I leave beautiful Bavaria.
Q: Have you recently made a difficult change that you knew was necessary?