I Left My Heart in the Alps

I made a stop in Munich to visit Tracy— she tempted me by promising to take me on my first mountain biking experience and it turned out to be the best day of my trip, even as I write this sitting in my favorite cafe in Athens, a week and two destinations later. I think the only thing that will triumph this will be climbing Mont Ventoux in three weeks (my god, is it that close?!). Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all the places I get to visit and am living in the moment but those two things (and visiting Versaille) were the top three things to do on my trip!

Karwendal Alps

Tracy and Stephan has surpassed any hospitality I’ve ever experienced and had the entire day planned for me from letting me sleep in to preparing breakfast and lunch of fresh bread, pretzels, delicious spreads, meats and cheese to eat on the way, to dropping by her sister’s house in the mountains to pick up her bike for me to use. Her sister’s cottage was almost surreal to me— what a location it had and how amazing it must be to live in the mountains surrounded by green meadows and endless views. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood movies, Heidi, and her grandfather’s alpine cottage in the Swiss alps— a lot more grandeur of course. That is how I always envisioned my home will look like when I retire.

We drove the two hours south of Munich to the alps and I was enamored by the landscape— the tranquil green rolling meadows, the burst of colors from wild flowers dotting the landscape, the alps brimming in the distance… it was peaceful and relaxing and everything I imagined an European countryside to be (well some parts or Europe anyway), in which I eventually dozed off to my dismay. Hey, I was up from 3am – 1am the day I arrived in Munich. I woke up 40 minutes later and we were in Austria.

As we got closer, I started getting nervous about riding a mountain bike. I haven’t ridden one since I was a little and it was unfamiliar territory… I’ve been on skinny roadbike tires and that was what I was used to!! But this was reminisce of the feeling I got when I switched from a hybrid to road. I guess anything foreign will cause discomfort to arise but it went away a few seconds after I got on the bike. When I got on, it bounced due to the suspension and I screamed then I got use to the bounciness and it became fun. The gearing was also A LOT better than my road bike, which made climbing virtually painless. Of course we only cycled about 40k in a slower pace (a.k.a. not-road-pace) so I better keep my mouth shut for anything longer.

I took a ton of photos on the flats but really wished I bought that GoPro! I had the time of my life cruising up and down on the fat tires! Mountain biking is fun, yet requires a lot of concentration and coordination. The uphills are bomb but not so much the downhills… I was hugging my brakes the entire time and every large bump gave me a minor heart attack. I’m too much of a sissy for these things but that doesn’t mean I won’t go again! I’ll write more about my new love for this sport in a separate post.

Afterwards, we had coffee and ice cream and then they took me to dinner at a rustic country cottage outside of Munich in the Bavarian countryside. It was well deserved after that mountain we just climbed! I love Bavarian food because it consists of a lot of meat and sauce… paired with good German beer. But since I’ve never been a beer drinker, I had a glass of Austrian wine to wash down my meal with. Simply delish!!

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