A Church By the River – Ramsau, Germany

well I don’t know if we will make it before dark… but we’re already on our way so…

might as well try!

That’s the exchange Julia and I had as we drove from Salzburg, Austria to Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany while we were trying to decide if we would make it in time to see the church she was taking me to or if we’d arrive after dark. After getting turned around twice while trying to navigate our way out of Salzburg, it was anyone’s guess at this point. The postcard worthy scenery as we made our way- tall lightly snow dusted mountains, lush green valleys and a winding road that showed it all to the best advantage- had already made the drive worth it to me though.

And what were we on our way to see? Why, another church of course! The Parish Church of Saint Sebastian( if you haven’t read my previous post on all the churches we visited in Salzburg- here it is – , which might give you a greater insight into why we both enjoy visiting these places and how truly worth the visit they are even if you wouldn’t normally be interested in these kinds of places)

The town of Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden is a small one, and one I had never heard of before Julia mentioned it. She told me the area was very popular with tourists though, as they liked to photograph the church, which is situated by the lovely Ramsauer Ache river, with the surrounding mountains rising in the background. It just sounds very picturesque, no?

The gently curving road eventually deposited us outside the town and I can say with full honestly the first words out of my mouth were a solid “wow”. The town is like something out of a fairytale, nestled right into the valley, with the main street tucked next to the river. There were also plenty of hotels and Gasthäuser in the area, not to mention a few tour buses and vans spotted here and there so it’s definetly popular with tourists of all kinds.

After finding a lucky parking spot just by the river and walking across the bridge to take a couple of photographs of the church opposite the other side, we meandered around the streets there for a bit and then made our way back. We crossed the surprisingly busy street (well, busy for the small town atmosphere) and found ourselves looking up at the church. “Should we go inside?” Julia asked and why not? We’d come this far, it would be almost silly not to really take it all in.

We encountered a group of German tourists at the entrance and they asked Julia to take a photo of them- coincidentally, they both had the same camera model after which they headed off and we looked around to realize we had been left with the whole place to ourselves.

The inside of the church was modest, at least compared to some of the other splendorous insides we had seen that day, but there was a really wonderful intimacy that was unique to the space that still stands out to me when I think back on it. We stayed inside for a bit and then quietly made our way back outside, where we took the path just next to the church that leads up to the cemetery.

Is it in bad taste to comment on the aesthetics of a cemetery? Maybe, but that doesn’t stop me from saying this was one of the loveliest cemeteries I’ve ever visited. It’s situated right behind and slightly above the church, which means it overlooks the valley, river and surrounding mountains, providing a really unexpected kind of view. We walked through the area there before heading back down and then taking another path around the side of the church through what ended up being a historic graveyard.

What I can most easily remember as we walked there in the town and around the church was the gentle smell of burning firewood somewhere , something heady and slightly sweet that wafted over us and made everything seem that much more idyllic.

Eventually though, true darkness began to settle in the valley and we decided it was probably high time to make our way back home to Julia’s apartment- especially since we wanted at least a little bit of an early start the next day when we headed to Herrenchiemsee, to see the palace built by King Ludwig II that was intended to be a Bavarian Versailles.

~m

Crinkled Maps, High Hopes and Rain Clouds- Loch Lomond, Scotland

The day started earlier than I expected, at 5am. Jetlag sucks, but at least it helped me get an early start to the day, which included a brisk walk down into the center of Morningside (the district in Edinburgh my hotel was located in) to pick up some breakfast and grab pastries to bring along the planned roadtrip up to Loch Lomond. The day was already a bit rainy but I had hopes that maybe it would clear up as it went on. I also had hopes that I wouldn’t completely collapse on the side of some Scottish mountain while trying to keep up with someone who was much more accustomed to being out and about in the woods than me. Only one of these two would be fully realized (lets take a guess which one).

Fun side story: the week before I left for this trip, actually just 4 days beforehand, I endured a grueling hour long 3-person panel interview for a new position at work that I still wasn’t even sure if I actually wanted. The reason this is relevant is because I couldn’t help from worrying about hearing back about it, as I can be a tight-knit ball of stress sometimes that doesn’t know how to relax even when on vacation. I do honestly still feel bad that Rob had to deal with that while just trying to enjoy this mid morning hike up around Loch Lomond that we eventually decided on, but then again he’s been my friend for a good bit now and knows my personality can be a fun grab bag of both good and bad. 

The thing about this hike was, I didn’t realize till about a 3rd of the way- at the point where I needed to take a break every 15 minuets- that we would only be going straight up and the landscape wouldn’t level out till we started making out way back down. It was at this point that I decided to just gracefully bow out of further physical exertion and head back down to the lakeside to rest and de-stress. Though it would have perhaps have been more interesting for me (and this blogs readers) if Rob had followed me down and we had tried a different trail or continued exploring the area together, I urged him to finish the hike as he had been really excited to do it and I didn’t feel it was fair for him to miss out on the experience just because i’m a dumpster fire mess sometimes.

So after we parted ways, I took my time on the winding trail heading back down to the lake, photographing the beautiful landscape as it was laid out before me, the air so crisp and clean and scented with something I still can’t quite put my finger on. Green, wild and unknown. Eventually making it back down to the lake I spent the next two hours writing in my travel journal, talking to my boyfriend back home who helped me stop worrying about everything (the lost credit card, the potential job I was waiting to hear back from, the idea of meeting up with a bunch more people I had never met in real life and wondering if we would all get along, the stress of traveling through all new countries mostly by myself, ect) and by the time Rob made it back from the hike my head was clearer than it had been in weeks.

We headed back to Edinburgh to drop off the rental car, enjoying a leisurely drive that was full of more genuine conversation and laughter than had been there before and we wrapped up the day at The Worlds End pub complete with fish and chips, haggis and of course, surprisingly good warm beer.

The next day was another early start as I headed off to Amsterdam and though it wasn’t as quick or as easy as I had hoped (I missed my connecting flight and kept mistakenly buying sparkling drinks even though I hate sparkling drinks), eventually I made it to the city I had dreamed of visiting since I was 16 and all the struggles to get there were more than worth it.

~m

Coming up, Amsterdam (Walking tour around Amsterdam and the canals, the Rijksmuseum, Albert Cuyp market) and then Germany (Bavaria and King Ludwig II’s castles) and Austria (Salzburg).

Outtakes- 2017 Colorado Edition









As always, it takes me good while to get to the end of posting about a trip- between editing all the photos and just life in general, i’m actually pretty surprised it didn’t take longer. But, here we are! Two months from the end of the trip and i’m finally done and onto planning my next trip.

Getting the chance to explore these parts of Colorado more in depth was a perfect vacation and while I don’t see myself returning any time soon, I know i’ll be be back. Whether it’s to go hiking in Rocky Mountain NP, finally make it to Lake City, see the night sky at the Great Sand Dunes NP or just relax in the quiet of South Fork, Colorado is a state that holds too much not to be worth a visit for anyone with a sense of adventure.

All The Posts:
First Post, Overview
Rocky Mountain NP Pt1
Rocky Mountain NP Pt2
Caribou Ghost Town
Gem and Minerals at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Gem Carvings of Konovalenko at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Museum of Nature and Science , Last Part
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain NP
Garden of The GodsBachelor Loop, PT1
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Pt1
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Pt2
Sunset at Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveBachelor Loop Pt2

I’m taking a break from writing any blog posts for the month of June to give myself time to focus back on neglected art projects, finish up the editing for the novel i’ve been writing, catch up with friends and above all, plan my next trip. I bought a ticket to Paris back at the end of March and i’ve yet to really settle on an itinerary (or get my passport in order) so hopefully by the time I get back on here, i’ll be able to share some kind of travel plan. Or beg for suggestions.

Either way, i’m wishing everyone a fantastic start to their summer and much luck in their adventures!

not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

Quiet and Calm, Rust and Rot- Creede, CO











You know it’s not a roadtrip unless we end up exploring abandoned places…

Coming down the Bachelors Loop back towards Creede to head back to South Fork, we pulled off so I could take a better look at a structure partially obscured by trees and snow. Of course that ended up with me grabbing my camera and dragging myself (and the bf) to go up and over the hill, to better explore what looked more and and more interesting by the second.

I’m still not quite sure what this place is/was to be perfectly honest. When I looked at the Bachelor Loop map more close, it looks like this isn’t actually on there? The closest spot is #15, which is the Creede Cemetery (where I took the photo of that church from the end of my last post) but after that is #14 which is the Creede Scenic Overlook (again from where I took last posts photos). I remember passing a sign that said “Ponderosa” but thats about the best my memory serves me and no matter how much googling i’ve done, i’ve come up with nothing to give a name to this abandoned structure. To be sure, I also don’t remember any “Private Property” signs- which we saw a lot of while doing the other parts of the Bachelor Loop- and given the graffiti we saw inside plus the general air of disuse, i’m pretty sure I didn’t go stumbling through just anywhere.

What I do know for certain is that it was entirely unexpected but more wonderfully interesting and i’m always happy to get a chance to explore gems like this, even if I can’t always put a name to them.

~m

Fog Rolling in Through the Mountains- Creede, CO

Having spent the previous day at the Sand Dunes NP, the plan on Thursday (what was supposed to be our last full day staying in South Fork) was to head to Lake City first.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, the only real goal for the day was Lake City, everything else came a distant fifth. And why did I want to go to Lake City so badly? Because i’m a stupidly stubborn person sometimes and after the bf spent 2 years mentioning how the next time we were in Creede I needed to go visit Lake City, and how great Lake City was and did I know I needed to go visit Lake City… i’d had enough. We were going and the gods themselves would have to block my way.

The funny thing is, I actually said those exact words out loud to the bf as we set out on the road towards lake city, the sky overcast and looking like a bad idea. “The gods themselves are gonna have to come down and block my way.” . I’m not only stubborn but dramatic as well, apparently.
And did I make it to Lake City? The answer to that is no, because hubris is a lovely and fun thing.

Just 20 minuets past Creede, still about an hour away from our destination, the flakes started falling. And they kept coming. Heavier and heavier until the whole world was one giant coating of white. It got so bad finally we had to stop the car, the windshield rapidly icing over and the road itself only a suggestion. We turned back, because although i’m dramatic and stubborn and leak hubris like faulty car, i’m not completely reckless. We ended up on the other side of the Bachelors Loop tour road, the snow over here falling only in gentle flakes again, not in looming sheets of pale terror.

From up here you can look down at the town of Creede, nestled in the junction of the mountains, tucked in safe. The church in the last photo is actually visible from the high view (you can see it in the first three photos up top) and if your ever out here, on your way to Lake City and happen to get kicked in the teeth and made to turn back, I highly recommend coming up through the Bachelors Loop for the view. We had it all to ourselves that day and it almost made up for our interrupted plans.

(One day, i’ll visit you Lake City!)

~m