February 23, 2018

Goatherd Encounter in Mittenwald

While all of traveling results in special memories, every once in awhile we have an extra special memory that stays with us for years!

One of these travel moments happened while I was in Mittenwald Germany.

If you are a Sound of Music fan, you know “High on a hill was a lonely Goatherd” is the opening line to a song written by Rodgers & Hammerstein and sung during the Marionette scene in The Sound of Music.  The “Lonely Goatherd” song is one of my favorites but

Did you know Goatherders are real and can be found in the Bavarian Alps?

I have never given much thought to Goatherders until I ran smack dab into them in the hills above Mittenwald.Hummel Little Goat HerderI really thought they only existed in this song or the Hummel figurine.

I was wrong!

It was scorching the day I arrived in Mittenwald.  My hotel, the Alpenrose, suggested I take the bus up to one of the local lakes to cool off.  After spending a little time wandering the village and touring the Violin museum, I decided to take their suggestion and escape the heat by climbing in elevation.Lautersee a lake above Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

The bus dropped me off at Lautersee a beautiful lake high above Mittenwald and surrounded by mountains.  As I wandered around the lake, all of a sudden I heard a lot of ringing bells.    My initial thought was “Wow, these hills are alive with the sound of music!”Goats making beautiful music Lautersee Mittenwald Germany

Not being able to see what was making all the noise but expecting cows; I turned the corner and came face to face with a large herd of goats!  They were everywhere.Goatherders in Lederhosen Mittenwald Germany

After taking a few pictures, I continued along the path and noticed two goatherders sitting under the nearby tree to my right.  They were even dressed in Lederhosen!

OMG, they’re real!!!!!

The goatherder of song and story actually exists.

As the afternoon wore on, I ended up at the edge of the lake to dip my feet in the cool water.  With shoes and socks off I heard the bells getting louder and louder.  They were coming right at me!  Some came to the waters edge for a drink and others kept to the trail.Goats stopping for water on the way home Mittenwald Germany

There were two goatherders leading the pack and one bringing up the rear!Goatherders leading the way home Mittenwald Germany

My close encounter of the goat kind was one of my favorite memories of this trip!  Experiencing culture and randomness like this is so much fun.

Goatherders. . . Who would have thought?!!?


What is your favorite travel memory?

An Evening in Edinburgh

Recently I’ve been spending all my time writing about my recent trip to Germany and Austria, so I thought we’d shake it up a bit today by enjoying a guest post on Edinburgh by Jesse Langley.  Enjoy!

The rain fell in grey sheets against the grey granite walls of the hostel and I looked out the window into a bleak grey sky.  Edinburgh is the only city I know that can produce so many varying shades of grey. I decided to wait out the rain and get some reading done.  My university fellowship in Edinburgh revolved around an in depth examination of the Scottish author Tobias Smollett and one novel in particular; “The Expedition of Humphry Clinker.”  I began reading Clinker for maybe the fourth time, determined to stick at it until the rain stopped.  As if sensing my determination, the rain slackened until it became individual droplets again.  The wind coming off the Firth of Forth and over Arthur’s Seat pushed the low-hanging grey clouds down Princess Street toward Holyrood Castle.  Before long, the grey sky gave way to a pale wash of early autumn sunlight and the rain was gone for good.

Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland

Arthurs Seat by Jesse Langley

I rooted around in my oversized olive drab duffel until I found a thick grey wool sweater less wrinkled than its relatives and slid it on over a white cotton t-shirt to minimize the itchy wool on skin effect.  I stepped into a freshly laundered pair of Levis and laced up my boots snuggly.  Before leaving college and undergraduate life for good the year before, my favorite English professor told me that if I made it to Edinburgh I needed to climb Arthur’s Seat and look down over Edinburgh and take in the view stretching from the Firth of Fourth all the way over to Holyrood Castle. I told him that if I ever got to Edinburgh I’d make the climb.  Less than a year later I was ready to honor my promise.  I tossed my well-worn journal and an ink pen into a messenger bag with some granola bars and my well worn copy of Clinker and headed down the five stories of stairwells and into the streets of Edinburgh.

The wind had calmed to a brisk breeze and I plugged my headphones in.  I matched my stride to The Proclaimers singing “Sunshine on Leith” in their distinctive Scottish brogue.  I walked along the blacktop path leading toward the base of Arthur’s Seat.  As I got closer, I could see hawks circling on invisible currents of wind over the summit.  I was eager to share their view and as the blacktop ended I began the initial easy part of the climb.  Fifteen minutes later I was sweating profusely with the effort of the climb and stopped for a quick break.  I removed my wool sweater and tied it around my waist and started climbing again.  This part was the steepest and I hoped the view was worth it.  I met some climbers who were on the way back down and the wide grins on their faces after gaining the summit gave me a second wind. I finally arrived at the top and found the Firth of Forth stretched out beneath me to my right.

The Firth of Forth Edinburgh Scotland

The Firth of Forth by Jesse Langley

I found a big granite rock and sat down and took in the view.  I had Arthur’s Seat all to myself except for the hawks wheeling over my head.  I jotted some notes in my journal and ate a granola bar.  I began to read Clinker where I had left off in the hostel.  Down and to my left Holyrood Castle nestled into a patch of green landscape and all of Edinburgh lay like an unwrapped present at my feet.

Holyrood Castle from Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland

Holyrood Castle from Arthurs Seat by Jesse Langley


Have you experienced this view in Edinburgh?


Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He is an advocate for online education and has a keen interest in blogging and social media.