Here I am – FINALLY, the real traveling has begun!
By the time Bauma had concluded I was fully recovered from my high fever the week prior. I loaded up my backpack, said goodbye to new buddy and roommate Joerg (the only USR employee other than myself to make it to Germany during the air-traffic freeze), and headed out at 5am for Schloss Neuschwanstein, aka “Mad Ludwig’s Castle.”
This was the one and only tourist day I had on my calendar for Bavaria, and if you search Google Images you’ll see exactly why – Neuschwanstein truly looks like something straight out of a fairytale. Designed by a stage designer rather than an architect, overlooking a postcard-perfect view of sprawling green fields on one side and the bavarian alps on the other, it became the model for one of the world’s most well-known corporate logos: the Disney citadel.
Perhaps you can imagine how heartbroken I was when I arrived and, after nearly a week of perfect blue skies in Munich, the weather was wet and gloomy. Fog almost completely obscured the scenic views below, and slippery rocks closed the three-hour hike to the towering cliff from where you can normally take the actual “Neuschwanstein postcard shot.” The only time I can remember getting that screwed by weather was in Rio, where I had no view from either sugarloaf or Corcovado – two places known specifically for their their spectacular panoramas. Damnit.
Oh well – at least i can now cross that World Heritage site off my list, even if I didn’t come home with the perfect photo I’d hoped for. Of course, as soon as I boarded the train back to Fussen – the nearest transport hub to the castle – the weather cleared up and the skies were blue once again. What luck 😥
Since there was no telling how long the blue skies would last, I decided to spend a few hours wandering around and photographing Fussen rather than returning immediately to Munich. I’m so glad I did. It turned out to be a delightful little town, sandwiched between some pretty spectacular snowcapped peaks.
It’s interesting, those couple hours of shooting really made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve played with my SLR – or any camera for that matter. It really felt like I’d forgotten how to take photos – whereas I used to see the world around me literally jumping out in front of my lens, here it seemed like a forced effort to find scenes that really capture the vibe around me. So on the train back to Munich I dusted off my old Nikon D40 manual and photography notes…in hopes of plucking my photographer’s eye back out of wherever it’s been hiding. Hopefully I’ll get back in the groove of things before too long. Hopefully I’ll never spend so long locked up continuously in the US again either 🙂