Archive for Oktober, 2014

A few days in Berchtesgaden

Drive one hour away from Munich and you arrive at beautiful lakes with a magnificent backdrop of far-away snow-capped mountains. Drive 2 hours away and you are rewarded with the mountains themselves. A few days at Berchtesgaden at the foothills of the alps brought with it such an impressive and dramatic change of scenery and countless walking trails, that I feel as relaxed as if I had been there for a week.

For once, days off work collided with glorious weather, so that nature seemed at its very best and the 3 days could be maximised to their most. The nearby and spectacular Königssee was within walking distance of our cosy and traditional alpine hotel.



A short but steep walk to one of the smaller and well reachable peaks (Kneifelspitze) was rewarded with a slightly cloudy panorama over the nearby laying Salzburg and the tastiest Germködel I’ve ever eaten.

An afternoon boat ride  across the Königssee  led us to the picturesque town of St. Bartholomä and a walk to the snow-field at the foot of the Watzmann (Germany’s 3rd highest peak). The roar of mini-avalanches and the intermittent downpour of snowfall along the cliff edges reminded us of the might and unpredictability of nature.

Our aching muscles more than needed the couple of blissful hours in the sauna and wellness area before dinner. Which by the way (if you can get used to the nakedness) is something the Germans just do better than the Brits.

IMG_1093 And as ever, the South Germans can be counted upon to find the perfect spot for a beer garden. Meaning that the walks could always be combined with sips of Apfelschorle or Weißbier sitting under the not infrequent rays of sunshine.

IMG_1108As we packed our bags and inhaled the fresh mountain air for the last time, we marvelled at how close ‚all this‘ is to our own doorstep and vowed to make as much use of it as possible. Never before was such a pure holiday-feeling available, so very close to home.

Autumn days


The crowds of Oktoberfest have thankfully dissipated and the streets of Munich are back to normal. And just as the celebration of October came to a close, it’s arrival has brought a mixture of perfectly sunny autumn days and blustery, rainy grey days. I’m the first to bemoan the loss of sunlight and to dread the arrival of the cold. But walking through Munich’s old town last night on a crisp and almost icy evening, wrapped up in oversized woolen knits, wandering aimlessly into a shop or two, killing time before my dinner date, made me think it’s not so bad.

Not to mention that another gem of the city was once again on show; the high-class street music in Munich doesn’t cease to amaze. The musicians pop up quite unexpectedly in various corners of the city. Indigenous South American singing at  the busy Viktualienmarkt, string quartets in grand alleyways, piano solos on a grand piano at the entrance of department stores and gentle guitar verses at a secluded courtyard cafe – the music always seems to fit the surroundings and makes you stop in awe and reach for your purse. Quite often you imagine you must be hearing a recording blasting from a shop front, only to find the artists playing animatedly in front of you.

I find myself slowly warming up to this city.

On becoming a mama bee

A year ago, I wrote about discovering a new world. The world of  blogs. A new world of creativeness and immediate insight into just about every walk of life. But whatever you read about life and think you understand about life, experiencing some things first-hand comes at a surprise.

I have been to many weddings over the past 5 or 6 years and catching the first glimpse of the bride in the church or at the registry remains one of my favourite parts of a wedding day. The bride walking effortlessly and assuredly down the aisle, looking radiant in a beautiful dress. So simple and a wonderful moment. Or so it always seemed. As I walked down the aisle more than a year ago to the man I had no doubt about marrying, I didn’t expect my legs to tremble. As my close friends and family turned to look at me, nothing about the moment felt effortless or assured. More an unexplainable giddy trance.

Now I seem to stand at the brink of another whole new world. The world of motherhood. Or expectant motherhood at least. And even at this early stage, it is not what I thought it would be. The weeks which I presumed would be full of excitement and wonder were filled instead with the unexpected and uninvited feeling of worry, uncertainty and a crippling tiredness. (I did not expect tiredness to be such a pronounced symptom of pregnancy and spent the weeks marvelling at my laziness and wondering what was wrong with me).

Maybe the worry comes because I come from a medical world. My 4-month stint in the emergency room years ago allowed me to meet more than a few expectant mums in their first trimester attending with miscarriage or suspected ectopic pregnancies to know first-hand all the things that can go wrong.

Or the fact that my working environment is full of potential hazards for a growing embryo like exposure to radiation and infectious diseases. Resulting in the need to share personal information with colleagues and bosses long before good friends.

Maybe it’s because doctors expect other doctors to know all about prenatal diagnostics and don’t inform them about the consequences and meanings of tests in quite the same way they would to a lay-person. I explain the risks of investigations and prognosis to my patients on a daily basis. But the risks faced by my unborn child seem to already be colossally high – at least in my eyes – and lay heavily on my chest.

The newness of the last few weeks, long before I show any outward signs of pregnancy, have pretty much flummoxed me.

But as I slowly shared the news with friends and family something else happened. Suddenly mums started sharing their stories and advice with me. Stories that put my feelings suddenly into perspective. Mothers of 2 and 3 who in all their expertise and laid-back attitude can swipe away any sense of worry with a few reassuring ‚been-there-done-that‘ words.

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The many e-mails exchanged with close friends and family (who all sadly live miles away from me) and this wonderful gift which arrived on a hopefully bright autumn morning has left me finally feeling ready to be a ‚mama bee‘.

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