Elna in Europe – Musbach


kleidWhat better way to end this wonderful, crazy trip than with a big celebration!

My very last stop was with a friend I used to live with in Wörnersberg and as if the reunion wasn’t enough cause for happiness, she was getting married. Cue jumping up and down like excited teenagers.

claudi daniel

The couple’s love story had been one of patience and quiet growth and it was thus very special for me to be able to be a part of their YES to each other. I was just extremely happy for them and for being there and besides, who doesn’t love a wedding. Who?!

houses

Together with the other international guests, a lovely couple from India, we meandered around nearby Tübingen for a break before the wedding busyness. It’s pretty and eccentric, like the best student towns should be, complete with poignant graffiti and sarcastic signs.

hier kotze goether

This one, for instance, saying that the famous writer Goethe puked here, makes fun of the German practice of commemorating even insignificant stays of significant historical figures.

zara scultpure2

After the wedding (beautiful and special, you get the point), it was only a wink of sleep before I was on a train on the way to Munich. I crammed as much chocolate as was possible into my baggage and had dinner with friends at a little Indian restaurant we’d discovered on my previous last night in Germany, four years earlier.

gespraech

Lots of hugs, kilometres and ‘chicken or beef’s later, I was back on SA soil and my post-graduation trip was over. That was three months ago now, and since then I’ve done more local travelling and lots of job hunting (but that’s a blog for another day). Now that it’s all done, I’m so happy I kept with the blogging, despite it being long overdue. Though I struggled with putting my crazy beautiful memories into words, at least my photographs can do some of the talking.

Over and out.
#elnaineurope

**Copyright Elna Schütz 2014**

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Elna in Europe – Wörnersberg


anker wald- copyright elna schutz

I visited the place that used to be my home and did a lot of walking and thinking. I was again surprised by the unbelievably immersing power of the past, no matter how satisfying our present.
Rather than try explain my thoughts to the internet, I give you this; take a walk with me.
This little trail going just out of the tiny village and back into it has seen the footsteps of every inhabitant and visitor, from a couple’s stolen moment to kids on skateboards. I’ve walked, conversed, cried, prayed, run, laughed and thoughtfully paced that path myself many times.
What I’m trying to get at is the special, intangible nature of places, even a short concrete path circling above an ocean of trees. The past may have its monsters and memories, but here is something to put your feet on.

 

panoweg

 

**copyright Elna Schütz 2014**

For more pictures of the Forest, check this out.

 

 

Elna in Europe – St Georgen

forest


With only a week or so left in Europe, it was off to one of my favourite places on earth – the Black Forest. It had been four years, but those millions of fluffy-toothpick trees still felt like my second, magical home within minutes.

tabea bw

I had a few days to reunite with my beautiful and courageous friend, Tabea. There were long talks, longer walks and a lot of time just to enjoy each other’s company. I can’t say enough how blessed I am with truly kickass people in my life.

walkway

magnolia flowe

There was a lovely day at the Bodensee (Lake Constance), where my favourite tree and flower was blooming all over. A picnic in the vineyard above the lake, lots of adventuring and a dinner overlooking the sunset. These kinds of days feel like a real holiday.

lake

Consider me thankful.

sunset tree

**copyright Elna Schütz 2014**

Elna in Europe – Firenze

copyright Elna SchutzMy third stop in Italy was going to be beautiful Lake Como, I admit in part because it’s been the filming location for several beautiful scenes, including the wedding in Star Wars Episode II.
That bucket list wish will have to wait for next time (sigh, I hope). I’d loved the buzz of Venice and Rome so much that I changed my plans last minute and got on a train to Florence instead.

copyright Elna SchutzThe Tuscan home of food, architecture and art rings true to its reputation with countless rustic restaurants, amazing galleries and the famous cathedral’s red Duomo. Combining the first and the last, I took to sitting in front of the unusual pink, white and green church at night, munching on a Sicilian cannoli (my number one recommended Italian dessert. I’m serious, go find one!)

copyright Elna Schutz

For my fill of Florentine art, it had to be David. We’ve all seen Michelangelo’s masterpiece a dozen times, and there are several replicas around the city, so you may be surprised how much the original manages to enthral. You walk up to the confident, strong warrior the postcards always show, but circle around to face him and David’s expression is one of worry and fear much more fitting for a young man facing a giant. Beautiful.

Never content with the tourist offering, I trekked across the city for lunch at a local marketplace. What a find, with its shouting locals offering truffles and cow’s heads, just the way you’d expect from Tuscany. At the little restaurant inside you sit down beside whoever else is wolfing down some of today’s dishes, as the usual big jug of wine gets passed around. How the owners always know how many glasses to charge you, I have no idea.

copyright Elna Schutz

copyright Elna Schutzcopyright Elna Schutz

I sit with a British couple that has long since taken the plunge and bought a house here. They try to decide which gelato place to recommend and argue in that typical Italian way – expressive but never really angry. I have no problem seeing how one could want to start a life here.

copyright Elna Schutz

I leave Italy with a bucket load of photos and even more memories of places and moments I shared with no one but loved even more for it perhaps. My head is heavy with the thought that the specific magic of a trip can never quite be expressed and I’m alright with that.

*copyright Elna Schütz 2014*

Elna in Europe – Roma

copyright Elna SchutzOh man, Rome. How do you even.

I have to confess, dear blog reader, that I wasn’t impressed in the beginning. My first 24 hours in the iconic capital were, in internet speak, completely meh. I walked for ages through an ugly industrial area in the rain and wind, before getting introduced to the Roman bus system – possibly the most confusing piece of trickery I have yet to see. That’s when I decided to rebel and walk… in the wrong direction, as it turned out almost an hour later. *universal facepalm*

Was my honeymoon with Italy really already over?

copyright Elna Schutz
That evening I gave Rome a second chance by buying one of those tiny bottle of wine by Trevi Fountain and exploring the historic centre. Since my only travel companion was my trusty old Nikon, I took my time with some long exposure night photography (which you might remember I enjoy far too much) and portraits of people on the Spanish Steps.

Now this is what I love about traveling solo. You take a couple shots of strangers and before you know it, you’ve made a new friend and are ditching the overpriced tourist spots for a hidden local pizza place and stuffing your face, traditional Naples style.

copyright Elna Schutz My time in Italy was filled with the feeling, that around every corner, something unexpected might be waiting that you will definitely like (and probably be able to eat). Rome, despite my strange start, was the epitome of this. You could get dizzy from a head filled with beautiful things.

copyright Elna Schutz

What makes it even more fascinating is that this city truly is an amazing crossroads between old and new. Brand new stilettos clatter over cobbled streets as cars speed by ruins of an ancient time of Roman splendour. Layers upon layers of history, with modernity running right through it.

copyright Elna Schutz

Enough rambling, Elna. People should just go to Rome already.

For another of my adventures in the Italian capital, jump to this entry on World Nomads.

copyright Elna Schutz

*copyright to Elna Schutz 2014*