We planned for a day hike out to Lautersee (lake) from our Mittenwald apartment. This time, best laid plans worked. We headed out along narrow streets lined with fresco-ed homes, carved wooden accent pieces, wide open screen-less windows, and yards full of flowers and lawn ornaments. This is Germany. We made our way up the steep incline and within a few minutes, at what felt to be a 35 degree angle, voila, we were above the entire town. It was really that quick.

Soon after we found level ground in a pine forest. A quick pit stop with slug (schnecken) spottings and a detour for my daughter to bake a quick “rock pie” out of things she found on the forest floor and we were almost there. Except the sign said Lautersee twice – two different arrows pointing in two different directions and no sign of the lake down either. The brain trust put our heads together and decided to let our daughter choose our path, until we noticed the word Kinderspielplatz on one of them. KinderspielplatzĀ  (playground) was our favorite word of the trip. To the right we went.

When the path opened up, I literally could not believe what we saw. It didn’t look real in person. It doesn’t look real in pictures. But real it was. I couldn’t stop staring at it. It was simply that stunning. Our picnic lunch spot here topped all the amazing ones before it. Germany, you outdo yourself!

Side note – our daughter was now fully grasping that people speak different languages and we don’t always understand what they are saying, but sometimes can figure it out. As she played by the lake, she sang, “auf wiedersehen means goodbye” over and over again. She sang it to people and dogs walking by and even started using “auf wiedersehen” to mean everything. At one time, using it in place of the word “whoa” as she slipped. She was exploring the language, and it was really fun to watch.

Our picnic was quiet, but filled with so much wildlife – including a snake. My husband and I relaxed while my daughter was perfectly content to be playing with the rocks around her. We left this day feeling very grateful. We were in this beautiful place. We were in this beautiful country. We were enjoying these beautiful, simple and slow moments together as a family. Life was good.

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