For full effect, play this video in the background while reading the post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx0r0R6q5YQ

Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann, und mir steckt’s auch im Blut.
D’rum wand’re flott so lang’ ich kann und schwenke meinen Hut.
Fal-da-ri, fal-da-ra, fal-da-ri, fal-da-ra-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Fal-da-ri, fal-da-ra, und schwenke meinen Hut. 

“My father was a hiking man, and it’s in my blood too.
I hike briskly as long as I can and tip my hat.
Fal-da-blahblahblah… and tip my hat.

It’s the last night in Bavaria, and it’s been a pretty good run (except Munich—Schade). On Saturday I checked out of the hostel and ventured out into the steady rain (yes, Mom, I got an umbrella) to catch a bus down to Mittenwald. Mittenwald, regarded as the “town of a thousand violins” (according to my guidebook and basically no one else, as far as I can tell), is so close to the Austrian border that when I sat down to lunch I had a text on my cell phone informing me that I would now be charged EU international roaming rates.

My day in the borderlands got off to a less-than-ideal start: when searching for my bus, I had failed to search specifically for the weekend schedule, so I arrived for my 9:30 bus only to discover that on Saturdays it leaves at 9:20. I commiserated with some equally lost and confused Brits and some Russians that wanted absolutely nothing to do with me (“commiserate” isn’t quite the right word here–rather, I briefly oppressed them with my stuttering), and then went back to wait in the hostel.

By the time I got to Mittenwald, it was cold, dreary midday, and the incredible peaks the town is famous for were completely hidden by clouds. This rendered my Alpine cable car trip impossible, which, once I saw the thing, I was a-ok with. If I’m going to take a trip that, though beautiful, is mostly going to be spent pondering my mortality and the narrowness of a cable, I at least want to also know that I’m not going to die alone. If I die dashed against the rocks in a freak accident, I’m taking someone else down with me.

Comforted by that happy thought, I proceeded on to lunch, where I once again failed to comport myself in a way that endeared me to the waitstaff (still not sure where I’m going wrong, but I’ve discovered that all manner of American-style gaucherie can be made up for with an American-style tip).

[coming soon: picture of Gasthaus] This is the point where I learned that my guidebook and I have very different ideas of what constitutes a one-dollar-sign restaurant. Sidenote: there are no true one-dollar-sign restaurants in Bavaria.

Feeling thoroughly derided after my failure to gracefully complete a transaction at any restaurant, ever, I wandered out to the edge of town to see the Leutasch Klamm (“LOY-tosh klahm”) (an impressive gorge/waterfall) and to hike into Austrian territory. Due to my inability to read signs, I went to Austria twice.

[pictures to follow]

Austria, as far as I can tell, is rather damp.

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