The Trail of Love

Hindelang

Hindelang

We woke up to snow yesterday.  I’d say about two inches fell in the valley, but it quickly melted in the lowlands.  Our view of snow in the mountains was gorgeous.

Snow in the mountains this morning.

We did a long hike to the Trail of Love, a forested  trail along a ridge overlooking the valley leading to two waterfalls, one significantly larger than the other.  The trail is dotted with benches and has a perfect gravel walk.  The benches have engraved poems on them and there are poems posted on some of the trees along the trail.  All of the poems are love poems written by German poets.  How I wish I could understand the poems. Ursula set herself upon the difficult task of translating the poems for me.

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Can love be expressed through words?  Can you take the sea home with you?

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Love conquers all.  No need for murder and bloodshed.

And the waterfalls:

All bundled up at the Veils Waterfall

All bundled up at the Veils Waterfall

waterfall

waterfall

Entian

Tbe wildflower, enzian, is in full bloom right now.  It is large bell-shaped cobalt blue flower, about as big as my thumb.

Back in the lowlands, we stop in a chapel to light candles and I say a prayer of gratitude.

Back in the lowlands, we stop in every chapel we come across to light candles.  I feel humbled in these quiet sanctuaries and quietly say a prayer of gratitude and remember my parents and sister Jeanie, who are always with me.

Of course, the cows.  We had to walk across their field, dodging cow pies and speaking softly to them.

Of course, the cows. We had to walk across their field, dodging cow pies and speaking softly to them.  Ursula and her sister hiked this trail in the past and, while crossing over this field, they got charged by a bull.  Ursula said she never ran so fast in her life, barely  reached the gate safely, and later caught her breath.  Luckily, there were no bulls in this field yesterday.

The breed of cows here are Brown Swiss Cows.  There are also Belted Cows, but I have not yet seen them.

The breed of cows here are Brown Swiss Cows.  (I really wish their ears weren’t tagged.)

A few notes on cows:

  • I found out that the Brown Swiss cows are a hearty breed of cows that can handle the high altitudes of the Bavarian Alps and the cold snowy winters here.
  • Traditionally, people in Hindelang lived off the land as dairy farmers.  Today, some residents in Hindelang still live as their ancestors lived, selling fresh milk, buttermilk, butter, and cheese as a way to make a living.  In fact, the majority of residents keep cows for Boutique Farming.  One family will have perhaps only six cows and take good care of them, milk them, make specialty cheese and butter and buttermilk.   They have the cows because of tradition and because they get great pleasure in taking care of a few cows.
  • One cow drinks 25 gallons of water per day!
  • Dogs are definitely forbidden to roam the fields of grass which will later produce hay for the cows.  If one bit of doggie doo is found in a bale of hay, the Brown Swiss Cows will refuse to eat any bit of the entire bale of hay that was tainted with the doggie doo.  Really!  So everywhere here you see signs requiring dogs to be on leashes, forbidding dogs to roam freely, and warning dog owners about the problem of doggie doo in the fields!
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Sign says: Keep in mind that this green grass helps produce our cheese and butter!  (I am sure it says much more..translate s’il vous plait.)

There are many such signs with various designs drawn and colored by school children to warn of the problem of doggie doo in the sacred cow fields.   Very effective, don’t you think?

And I also learned this since I have been here:

  • When lupine flowers go to seed, they produce a pod.  I knew that part, but what I didn’t know is that the lupine seed pod is filled with edible beans!  Ursula has a magazine with a recipe for a Lupine Bean Salad.  Maybe I should not have written this. Please be sure to leave some lupine beans for next year’s flowers!
  • In the ancient local Catholic Church (which I found out is not as ancient as we thought for the ancient church was replaced in 1939 by the current church built over the same foundation), I saw a very famous painting of the Madonna and Child, painted by Hans Holbein (1465-1543).  The same painting was also housed in the original church that was replaced by the current church (seen in yesterday’s blog post).   I have seen many Madonna and Child depictions and this one is very beautiful indeed!  Hans Holbein was so well known and admired that  he was called to the court of Henry the VIII.  He was asked to paint a portrait of Henry the VIII.  I am sure his life depended on doing a GREAT job.  Well, he succeeded to please the king and was kept on as the royal court painter.  He remained there and died in London in 1543.
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