The scent of the Mediterranean Sea and rosemary in bloom do not sink into my skin. Nor does the Sicilian sun. Instead, this fertile Bavarian valley gives off the rich scent of dairy cows and of fresh meadows filled with wildflowers. Here, it is the brisk mountain air that is absorbed deeply into my skin and lungs.
In Sicily, I would have seen many skinny alley cats warming themselves in the sun, but here I am greeted daily by robust German cats. They actually run out to greet us and flop onto their backs for a quick belly rub.
Everything is neat and perfect. Would the non-conforming slob be ousted from the village community? I think so!
Instead of digging my feet into warm sand and shallow waves of salt water, my feet experience the cold shock of glacial spring water in the Kneipp Basin where we go nightly to walk like a stork, raising our feet high and pointing our toes downward as we plunge our feet back into the basin and walk three times around in knee-high water. This stork walking in fresh glacial spring waters, Father Kneipp says, is good for one’s health! Respected natural healer Father Kneipp, who started the Kneipp Basins in this region also said, “Everything you need for healing and good health is found in nature. I wonder if what nature has to offer is too simple and therefore simply overlooked?”
Instead of putting on a simple t-shirt and shorts, I pile on the various layers I have brought with me and hike the hills and mountains of this heavenly valley. As I walk, the sound of cowbells, the call of the cuckoo bird, and the hourly church bells ring in my ears. My summer light-weight clothing remains clean, pressed, and untouched in my luggage.
I will miss Sicily’s almond trees in bloom this spring, but instead my eyes have delighted in seeing one apple tree after another in full bloom. My belly is not filled with Sicilian country bread (seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper), cavatti (hand made pasta), grilled artichokes, and ricotta cheese. Instead, I relish the dark grained bread, the locally made German cheese, the local specialty of steamed white asparagus, and schupfnudeln (hand made noodles) served with sauerkraut.
Bongiorno becomes Gruss Gott to fellow hikers on the trails. And guaranteed Sicilian May sunshine is replaced by the mercurial skies of Bavaria. In the time I have been here, I have experienced warmth, heat (one day), cool days, heavy rain, clouds, fog, clear skies, and today, a heavy snow fall right here in the valley village of Hindelang. We have not let the weather stop us and every day, we have gone hiking on a different trail.
Puccini gives way to Handel in the slide show I have put together of my wonderfully magical time here in Hindelang with Tom and Ursula:
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