Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Weekend in Edelweiss

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Right after we arrived in Turkey, talk of a European Olmsted Scholars "reunion" (or union since we hadn't met most of them) began.  The idea was to bring together past and present Olmsted Scholars currently living in Europe for a weekend.  Mike and I jumped on the opportunity since we only knew of the people in Mike's class.  Plus, it was an excuse to go to Germany!  So, we planned our entire 11 day trip around this reunion weekend.  It just conveniently happened to be a week before the start of Oktoberfest.  How convenient :)

After a day of falling in love with Cologne, we flew from Cologne to Munich and rented a car.  We had an entire week of traveling around eastern Germany planned and it turned out to be more economical to rent a car than buying all sorts of bus and train tickets.  Plus, Mike got to drive on the Autobahn, which is a dream come true.  If we weren't already in love with Germany before, the drive through Bavaria to Garmisch confirmed it.  Mike and I continuously joked that if we had to leave Turkey and relocate, this is where we were going and I may or may not have said a few prayers that night to the big guy upstairs.

After an afternoon stop in Dachau, we headed down south to Garmisch. The drive through Bavaria was breathtaking.  It's everything I pictured Germany to look like and more.  Everywhere you look looks like a picture or a painting, but it's actually real.  The Alps are breathtaking, but the houses and greenery add to the stunning scenery.

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We stayed at Edelweiss Lodge, which is a resort for Active Duty and Retired Military.  They have a few around the world and conveniently, this one was in Germany. There were about 40 Olmsted-ers and their families staying there, which made it really fun.  We started off the weekend with a happy hour in the hotel restaurant.  We got to catch up with some of Mike's classmates and hear about their move oversees and some of the traveling they've done, as well as meet past and present Olmsted-ers in Europe.  After a little while, we all headed out into Garmisch for dinner at a traditional German restaurant to continue catching up. The party didn't stop after dinner was over because a bunch of us ended up going out to a bar.  We were basically the only ones there, which was kind of nice because we were loud and just happy to be reunited.  It was a great start to the weekend!

The next day, we were up early for breakfast and a hike.  The Partnach Gorge is right outside of Garmisch and all 40 some of us boarded a bus and headed out to the hike.  Let me tell you, it was gorge-ous (see what I dd there?).

Right outside of the gorge entrance is where the German ski jump team practices.  This is their practice jump!

At the top of the mountain, there is a small German restaurant that we all stopped at for lunch.  It took a while to serve all 40 of us, but they did it.  I had some of the best apple streudel I've ever had and definitely left very content. 

That afternoon, we had a couple of hours to nap and relax, which was much appreciated.  We ended the weekend with a big group dinner at an Italian restaurant in town.  There's but so much German food one can eat.  Mike and I sat at a table full of Navy people coincidentally, but it was a lot of fun because they were all people we hadn't gotten a chance to talk to throughout the weekend.  One guy was even a submariner, so Mike was in Heaven.

Overall, it was a great weekend catching up with Mike's classmates and their family, as well as meeting new faces and hearing about their Olmsted experience.  A lot of them could sympathize with our transition struggles, as well as reassure us that it's all worth it in the end, which was so nice to hear.  Plus, we made lots of new friends to visit!

Saturday Step Count: 17,719