So here’s the story on the violins: Mittenwald was struggling around the mid-17th (?) century because it was getting shut out of its trade markets by competing towns (this sentence is inspired by a true story). But then the town was saved by a man who happened to go to Italy and become a luthier and then came back home to set up shop. Somehow (I really don’t understand this) this snowballed into the town’s largest industry (except tourism, these days), and a still-prominent violin-making school was founded here. There are a good number of violin shops, and the town posts information on random walls to help you find the various luthiers that are currently active there.

I did not visit the luthiers, but instead went to the museum of violin-making. It was fine, I guess, although I did think it was strange that they told us all about how fine their violins were, but the only music in the whole museum was a recording of a zither (total number of people who have ever cared about the zither: 0). After debating about whether it was worth spending my youth in jail just to have a 350-year-old-but-in-pristine-condition violin (just barely not), I set off for the train station to go back north, past Garmisch-Partenkirchen, to the village where I would spend the next 2 nights.

Wow, what an amazing view! Only problem: literally the ENTIRE time I was here, the cloud cover was lower than the tree line. When you compare the pictures I actually took to the ones every OTHER person who’s ever visited this village has taken, you’ll get a taste of my disappointment. If not for the frescoes (now there’s a phrase that’s never not been followed by a first-world problem), they could have been taken in the foothills of Georgia.