Living in a foreign country is difficult for obvious reasons, like being away from family. But always feeling like you're a bumbling idiot in someone else's culture is the hardest, for sure. We've been living in Italy for a minute now and I'd say the hardest part to navigate about a new country is the different way of life.
Italians see many things differently than Americans — such as the concept of time, how quickly to eat dinner and varying styles of driving. Small interactions like asking where an item is at the grocery store can feel overwhelming, especially when you talk super quickly, butcher the pronunciations of beautiful words and are in desperate need of a bottle of wine.
Tyler and I took a trip to Germany this past weekend, though, and my goodness, we just felt right at home. Germans may not have that Midwestern nice feel (note to self: do not make eye contact on public transportation, you weirdo), but they are wonderfully orderly compared to Italians. Germany made me feel a lot less uptight and a lot more comfortable. Schedules were followed! Maps made sense! And so, our trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in the beautiful Alps in Bavaria was made that much better.
I cannot even begin to tell you how amazingly gorgeous Bavaria was in November — I can't imagine what it looks like closer to Christmas, with all that wonderful snow and the beautiful way they celebrate "Weihnachten," all natural and forest-y. We took the Autostrada north through Austria and were served breathtaking views of the Dolomite mountain range, the historic city of Innsbruck and snow-covered mountain tops.
We stayed in Garmisch, at the foot of Zugspitze, Germany's tallest, most intimidating mountain with the most badass name. We only had a weekend, but we packed it with plenty of schnitzel, pretzels and beer, but plenty of walking to work all that off. We took a hike — and by hike, I mean a walk through nature, because I do not hike — through Partnachklamm, or Partnach Gorge, an intense rock formation through which an amazing river flows.
Though it would've been great to ski, there was not yet snow on the ground in Garmisch and, anyway, Tyler and I did not fancy broken legs — we aren't the most coordinated of folks and prefer hot toddies in the lodge to braving the slopes. But we still had an amazing time, walking through the shops in Marienplatz, dining at restaurants featuring strange cat taxidermy or tourist-y accordion music and just taking in all the majestic mountains. We definitely hope to make it back again, with plenty of luggage space for salty, soft pretzels.