I’ve always loved this snapshot of Mom I took in Germany. We were on a Christmas Market tour in December, 1990. On this particular occasion we were walking back to the boat from a visit to Herrenchiemsee, one of King Ludwig II’s castles. I don’t remember actually seeing any of the rooms inside; I want to say maybe it wasn’t open when we were there, so our tour group looked all around the outside. In the snow. I do vividly remember that long slog through the snow.
It snowed constantly on that trip, which maybe shouldn’t have been a surprise. It added atmosphere to the doings, sometimes too much. And it was exhausting. I always feel as if I’ve taken a long swim after a walk through the snow. And it was often “bitter kalt,” a term I learned in my traveler’s German class the year before. It means “biting cold.” It frequently bit very hard, whether we were in the countryside or in a city.
In this picture, Mom is younger than I am now. (She was two years away from turning 60.) She had no problems getting around except when she was afraid of slipping on the tromped-down snow. I recall trying to help her through the streets of Berchtesgaden on a lunch stop; every walkway had a slick, marble-hard crust that challenge us both, but we still managed to see some of the town. (A visit to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest was on the itinerary, but the roads were so bad the tour bus couldn’t make it to those heights.)
Sometimes I get a little blue knowing Mom can’t walk very long or very well any more. She’s more philosophical, saying she’s got a lifetime of memorable walking to look back on. When I see this picture of her and think of all our adventurous treks on that trip alone, I feel a lot better.