Posts Tagged With: ice cream

Enjoyable Echternach

Tuesday July 28I hadn’t set an alarm because I wanted to sleep in and enjoy waking up on my tent. The morning sun didn’t quite hit me as I hoped but it was close. It was pretty chilly so it was a little stretch to get up and out. I boiled up some hot water for my oatmeal to go and took my time getting ready. The tourist office didn’t open until 10 anyway. I went down to reception and went ahead and paid for two nights. I headed to the city center just past 10 and found it much easier to navigate when I wasn’t frustrated and hungry. The office lady gave me a small map of the town and paths but only pointed out one 12km loop trail. She said it was the best day hike in the region. I wandered into the cathedral next door before setting out to find the beginning of this trail. 

The beginning of this trail was also the beginning of many other paths, including a camino with the yellow shell marker. I started up the trail and immediately climbed straight up for half an hour. I stopped and looked back and there was quite a view! I could look out over the town and the surrounding hillsides because I’d climbed up so quickly. I spotted a wooden structure at the very top and hiked just a few more minutes. It was a large gazebo, complete with benches inside. I’d only been hiking for maybe 45minutes but it was around noon/lunchtime and this place just demanded a break. I pulled out a granola bar and began munching away as more people hiked up. No one seemed as interested in the gazebo as I was. I hiked on after eating a bit and wandered through amazingly beautiful forests. There were cliffs next to me and the trees were just perfectly placed all around. I rounded the corner and started descending very steeply into a gorge with high rock faces on either side. I came to an intersection where the trail went straight but it looked like there were trails up to lookouts on either side. I took the one to the left first, climbing many uneven slippery rock stairs before reaching the top. I could look down into the gorge and out across the surrounding areas. There were benches and many worn areas where it looked like people had camped. There was a mother and father chasing their two little boys around on the top. They climbed up here for lunch and the kids looked like they were having a blast. The cliffs were well fenced in all along the top. I could walk on top the cliff looking down at the trail I came in on. I clambered slowly back down the steep stairs I came up and climbed the stairs going to the right. This lookout was much smaller but had a bridge to another cliff island that was pretty cool. There was a troop of young adults that passed by, all grumbling and not very happy, each carrying large heavy packs. None of them stopped to look at either view, just bypassing it without even a picture from the center of the gorge. I was sad they didn’t stop. It really was quite fantastic up here and nothing is meant to be hiked through fast without looking around. I continued on a few minutes after they had passed, walking through some amazing rock formations, all covered in ferns and hanging vines. The rocks had been worn by the wind and rain and had pretty neat textures. It looked like a magical place with the ferns and vines combining to create an incredible aura. I stopped every so often just to stand still, in awe of my surroundings, slowly spinning around in circle. Everywhere my eyes landed was God’s perfect beauty. I passed a picnic shelter with a group of older people. They were all laughing and having a great time. I figured they’d get up and walk on but they all walked to the bus that was parked within eyesight. Well at least they were enjoying nature somewhat. I hiked on, not coming upon anyone for quite awhile. Then I could hear voices and laughter. I couldn’t see them but I could see where they would be. There was a giant rock face looming out over the trail and below it was a cave. This cave had a piece of rock all the way to the ground so you could walk under and around it. The group was sitting in the cave, their now joyful voices mingling and echoing throughout. I felt like this whole area was an incredible secret that Luxembourg kept for the special few. I came upon a sign to go to Berdorf or to continue on my trail. I’d heard that Berdorf was a cute little Swiss town with many shops and restaurants. I could go for an ice cream and it was only 2km there. I headed that way, making sure I remembered which way my correct path went. Soon I left the forest and started walking through fields of wheat and corn, with the occasional colorful poppy. I entered the town and was still able to follow the trail signs but I saw no shops or restaurants, just houses. I kept going but the houses got fewer and fewer. There’d been a turn off but I could easily see that was a highway through more fields. There was a gazebo where the young adult group was gathering. I saw a bar/pub but it only served drinks. Aha! I spotted an ice cream cone on that gate. My pace quickened and soon I was at the door, thinking about what flavors they would be. I pulled and pushed the door but it was locked. It was 2pm on a Tuesday and they were closed. Wow, I’d had such high hopes for this town and the picture of the smiley happy ice cream cone. I sighed and started walking back through the baking hot corn fields, back into the woods. I found my sign and began the way back. This wasn’t through the cliffs or gorge but at least it was beautiful forest with a gently sloping dirt path. 

I got back to town and still wanted a small something to eat so I found a bakery an ordered a cream filled glazed donut. Or what I thought was a cream filled donut. I sat down to eat and was given a fork and knife so I cut into it and took a bite. Mm yummy. I could just barely see the custard now so I cut into that and took another bite. Bleck!! What was that?! It tasted like hard boiled egg. I cut into the donut and tasted more. Yepp, that was egg filling my donut. I stared at it in wonder and disgust. It was glazed with a pretty chocolate drizzle on top. Fluffy. Round. Donut looking. But it was not a donut. I ate the outside, the sweet bread that had glaze but no egg with it. I walked away wanting more, completely unsatisfied with my little (mis)treat. I remembered seeing an ice cream shop but had trouble finding it so I went back to the tourism office to ask. They pointed me in the right direction, probably wondering how anybody could get lost in a town that had maybe 5 roads. Finally, I held in my hand an ice cream cone with hazelnut and caramel flavors. I sat on the steps in the square to polish off my cold deliciousness and just sat there watching people.

I meandered back to my campsite, this time looking in all the shops. I entered one an I thought it was just purses and magnets but at the back I spotted shelves and shelves of puzzles. It started with 100 piece puzzles and went all the way up to 5000! They were all Ravensburger brand. I picked one up and it said authentically made in Ravensburg, Germany. Oh wow, I must go research where that is! I would love to go to the home of the worlds best puzzles! I’d happened upon the Black Forest in Germany as being the home of the cuckoo clock. 

I got back to my tent, set my stuff down and began researching this puzzle city. Turns out it is directly between the Black Forest and Munich. Hmm, my mind started to race ahead of me. I’d like to go but I don’t know if I could fit it in. I’d had to sign up for a specific date to start the European Peace Walk from Vienna and then made reservations for two nights in the hostel in Vienna beginning August 2. It was the first time I’d had a set deadline for time and I was struggling with it. My moms friends friend in the Black Forest area was proving hard to get in contact with. I’d emailed my moms friend and received the contact info for the lady but wasn’t able to call, text, or email. The wifi at the campground was spotty so I tried using my data but that didn’t work. I should’ve been able to make a phone call or text by that wasn’t working either. I tried for several hours, getting more frustrated each minute. I was hoping to leave Echternach on the early bus out to Luxembourg city then down to the Black Forest. From Lux I could go either to Strasbourg, France then across to Freiburg which took pretty much all day or to a city in Germany north of Freiburg but that was way more expensive. I didn’t want to spend the whole day on a train/bus but also didn’t want to shell out big bucks to move a few hundred kilometers. And if course this all depended on if I was able to get in touch with the lady and stay with her or not. I wanted to hike a day and go to Triberg, home of the cuckoo clocks and this lady was right in the middle. I went back up to my tent and started to make dinner. I just wanted to see just a few things while I was in Germany because I only had a couple days to spend. I ate my pasta and thought hard but came up with nothing. I hunkered down in the lounge room as it got cold out and continued to plan. Nothing was coming together and my phone service I’d bought wasn’t working. I couldn’t leave the wifi with no plans if my service didn’t work. I starting shaking, partly from the cold, partly from the anxiety. I was trying not to fret, knowing that it would all come together but this was maddening. I just needed three more days then I’d be in Vienna and on my way down a long distance trail. I finally got the email out but it was past 9pm asking if I could stay there the next day so it probably wouldn’t work out. I wasn’t able to see a whole lot of timetables for trains and buses so I didn’t know how to from here to there. Eventually I went out into the cold and got into my sleeping bag just before midnight, not having a clue as to what I was doing the next day. 

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Killarney National Park

I got up, again not doing much besides slipping on my flip flops, and went down to breakfast. They had bread, butter, strawberry and grape jelly, cornflakes, fruit/fiber cereal and milk. I put 2 slices of bread in the toaster and poured some fruit/fiber cereal in a bowl with milk. I was famished and it was great now that I could finally eat. The fruity fiber cereal actually tasted pretty good. I packed my daypack and carried both packs downstairs. I left my large pack in the locked luggage storage rooms and set off for Killarney National Park.

It was 5km just to get to the park but  it was cloudy with no rain/fog so I was ok with walking especially with such a light pack. There were horse and buggies taking people back and forth between all the sights. I could hear them coming from far away…clip clop, clip clop. Some of the horses were large draft horses with big fuzzy feet with long hair swishing. I finally arrived at the entrance to the park, excited to see all the mountains, waterfalls and whatever else I might find. I really had to go pee but couldn’t because I was walking down a road. Now that I was in the forest, I had my pick of trees.

There were 2 paths I could follow, the paved one or slightly longer walking path. Of course I chose the walking path, especially as it went closer to the lakes edge. I ambled along the path, taking the many side trails to the actual shore. It was a sandy pebbly sort of beach with gentle waves sneaking in among the pebbles. I stood there for a spell, listening to the waves, to the creek bubbling and bursting through the rocks to meet the lake. I was glad for the cloud cover and it was too windy to be buggy. I meandered on, not knowing exactly where I was but that was ok with me.

I found the Muckross Abbey which had many graves/memorial stones out front. The Abbey was completely open to explore and I soon found myself staring up, up and up at a really old Yew tree. It was maybe 8 feet in diameter and the Abbey had been built around it so it was several hundred years old. It was neat to walk among the polished stones that monks or other religious people had walked on, praying over the land or whatever they did. I made my way towards Muckross House, just walking around it, not paying to go in. There were tons of horse and buggys waiting around, to take people to the different attractions. I just really wanted to pet one. I found the sign to Torc waterfall, another 4km further but had fun walking through blooming rhododendrons. It reminded me of the mountains back home. The horse and buggy would trot past, sometimes snorting and shaking their head. I passed another huge old tree before reaching the waterfall parking area. People could just drive most of what I just walked.

I started up to the waterfall next to the creek along with hordes of other people. The way up was ethereal, all covered in moss and a light misty fog. The waterfall itself was amazing, cascading down in several sections. I took a couple’s picture after they remarked that I looked like a good photographer and they in turn took mine. I wanted to eat lunch at the waterfall but there were too many people crowding the little viewing platform. I hiked on up about 80 steps to a small view through the trees. There were a few people milling about, taking breaks and taking pictures so I sat down on the dirt to begin my lunch. I dug out my water bottle and my pizza. Yes, this is still the same pizza…it totally lasts that long right? I mean, all it is is bread, cheese, a little sauce and pepperoni. I chomped 2 slices down and also tried the 9bar. The first bite was yummy, second, not so much. I got about halfway through before I had to put it down. The trail continued up but I overheard a group asking others coming down if it was worth it, if there was another view at the top. The answer was a resounding no so I headed back down, returning the same way I came. I saw a few new side trails because I was coming from a different angle. I wandered down one and it was amazing! The views up the mountains through the fog over the lake were just breathtaking.

It didn’t take me long to make it back to Killarney center where I promptly turned left to go to Ross Castle. I was pretty tired of walking on pavement without sitting down for a while so the 30 minute walk down there seemed much longer. About midway through, I sat on a stone wall to rest my feet and have a sip of water. The lady across the street looked at me strange as I was swinging my feet, kind of oblivious to the world, content with the music in my head. I finally made it to Ross Castle, situated next to the water. It looked just like the toy castle I grew up playing with, complete with trap doors, dungeons, heavy wooded doors and many paths and stairs. I wandered the outside as you had to pay to go in. I imagined enemies approaching from the sea and standing on the tower looking out for them. I rounded the corner and stumbled upon a tiny gift shop and food store. I spotted playing cards with 52 different images of Ireland for only 2euro. I snatched them up, happy that I found a deal as most of the other cards I’ve seen were 4 or 5 euro. I thought about taking a horse and buggy back to the city center but I figured I could just walk.

I made it back around 5, wandering into all the touristy gift shops and looking for ice cream. I found Murphy’s which makes their own ice cream but it was 4 euro for about 4 bites! The bowl was so incredibly tiny, I looked at it, the cashier and back. She smiled helplessly. Oh well, guess I wasn’t eating Murphys ice cream. Just around the next corner I spotted another ice cream sign. This store had many different flavors and prices more my style. As I gazed upon the ice cream flavors, one in particular caught my eye. Nutella cream. Ohmigosh, somebody finally put them together! I’d done it before on my own, microwaving a tablespoon of Nutella to drizzle over vanilla ice cream. I combined a scoop of Nutella cream with caramel crunch and sat outside, enjoying my creamy treat.

I then explored more shops, pretty much looking at the same Irish souvenirs with very little difference. I was ambling through one shop when something blue and sparkly caught my eye. Ooh, what’s that? I knelt down to have a closer look. It was one royal blue crystal clover necklace among a few other colors, green, amber and clear. I checked the price. 12.50 euro. It was really pretty but I couldn’t justify buying it. I stared at it then walked out quickly, wondering if I’d ever justify buying myself jewelry that’s more than a couple of dollars. I’d seen all the shops and made it back to the hostel, checking in for the night and getting my large pack back from the locked luggage room. I plugged my camera in and went back downstairs to use the wifi. I met a guy who hiked el Camino de Santiago in Spain and a lady from Montreal. They made plans to grab dinner together but again, I said I’d be making my own pasta. As we talked, my thoughts wandered back to that blue crystal necklace.

Why couldn’t I buy it for myself? I was in another country, I should be able to buy a trinket, a gift for myself. Aha, I could buy it for my mom and I could borrow it sometimes. We already share shoes and some clothes because we’re mostly the same size. I left to go buy it shortly after my new friends had left for dinner. We had talked about traveling Ireland, they were going counter-clockwise and I, clockwise. The girl had just seen Cliffs of Moher and said it was beyond words.

I found the shop and bought the necklace, waiting til I was back at the hostel to put it on. I pondered why I couldn’t buy it for myself, why I had to come up with another reason. I think one of the lies I believe is I’m not worth it. I’m not sure yet exactly where this stems from but I’m working on it. I really dislike when people spend money on me and I definitely don’t like spending money on myself. Or even time… God, rewrite Your truth into my heart!

I made my pasta and continued writing and updating the blog. I was hoping to get to bed earlier but typing out the blog on the tiny iPhone takes so long. I finally finished but then it took practically 10minutes for my shower to get hot. The window to outside was stuck open so I got a cold draft too. There were no hooks or any place set my stuff in the shower so it just sat on the floor. Luckily my toiletries are in a water proof sac. There was a box of q-tops on the counter so I took one. Ah, it’s the little things! I eventually crawled into bed just past midnight.

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