Lake Königsee

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This past weekend -- our last weekend together -- Andreas took a group of 8 of us to Königsee.  He rented a bus and picked us all up at our individual residences.  

On the way to Königsee, we stopped to see a particular Sound of Music sight: the mountains from the end of the movie where the von Trapps are "walking to Switzerland."  Of course, in reality, the Berchtesgaden Alps border one side of the path, and the Salzburg Alps border the other.  At the beginning of the semester, Andreas told us that Christopher Plummer was carrying a "fake" Gretl in this scene because the "real" Gretl "had too many pastries inside" (translation: she was too heavy and he wanted a smaller child), so we made plenty of jokes about each of us having too many pastries inside to be carried anywhere anytime soon (we've all done a lot of eating here and none of us are even the least bit sorry about it).

We then made it to Königsee and hiked all around the lake, taking in the beautiful views.  We even dipped our toes into the lake, which was fun (although freezing).  But I think everyone would agree that the highlight of the day came at lunch.  

We were starving from all the hiking we had done, so Andreas took us to an amazing restaurant at the bottom of the Alps in the most remote location.  Just as I was thinking, "How does anybody find this place?" -- because it was just so in-the-middle-of-nowhere -- Andreas casually mentioned to us, "That's Heinz Schaden sitting at a table over there."  We look up, and sure enough, it's the Salzburg Burgermeister (the mayor) himself, sitting at a table, enjoying his view of the Alps with a cold beer.

Chris and Robert immediately started reaching for their cameras, asking Andreas if he thought it would be okay if they asked Burgermeister Schaden for a photo.  Caroline, Kayla and I rolled our eyes.  "They would," I said dismissively.  The next thing I know, Andreas is leading them over to the Burgermeister, who greets Chris and Robert so enthusiastically -- slapping them on the shoulder and smiling.  In that moment, Caroline, Kayla and I exchanged a single glance and without a word, we were rushing over to the table to take photos with him, too.

As he had biked there from Salzburg, he was dressed in his biking gear and helmet, with his bike leaning against his table.  We were so impressed that he'd biked all that way, but he seemed more impressed with (or at least more interested in) us.  He started asking us about our studies at Uni. Salzburg, where we were from in the States, etc.  Once we finished our introductions and small talk, he drank the last of his beer, bade us farewell, and rode away on his bike.  We returned to our table, and I glanced around at my friends; each of our faces were beaming with pride, so apparently excited about meeting a "Salzburg celebrity."  My absolute favorite moment of the day occurred a few seconds later, though; none of us had spoken yet, when Chris O'Connor opened his mouth, and proudly announced with a grin, "That's our Burgermeister."

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