A Trip to Garmisch (April 2012)
by Caileigh Lydon, age 12, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Excitement bubbled in my belly as we loaded our things into the car. My
family, our friends, and I were all heading out to the German Alps.
My dad is in the U.S. Air Force, and we've been stationed in Germany for
three years. When my American school gave us a three-day weekend for
Memorial Day, we decided to go to the town of Garmisch. A popular place
to visit, Garmisch is famous for its ski resort in the winter and its
hiking trails in the summer. When we were finally ready to go, we all
piled into our messy van and drove off.
The only way our friend Adele, my brother Sean, and I survived the
five-hour-long car ride was our deck of cards. We played all the games
we could imagine: Old Maid, Crazy Eights, and particularly interesting
game of Go Fish. We threw down cards, picked jokers, and groaned over
When we finally arrived at our hotel, we unloaded the car and went
upstairs to get our key. Afterward, we walked around until we found an
open restaurant. Adele and I ordered a salad--but since an E. coli
outbreak had occurred in Germany, and no one was sure what vegetables
were contaminated, we had to take out all of the tomatoes, cucumbers,
and carrots. Our "ick piles" soon grew to be larger than our salads.
After we finished, our families separated into different rooms and we
all trudged up the stairs to sleep.
The next morning, we went downstairs and had a typical German breakfast
of cheese, bread, egg, thin slices of meat, and a small assortment of
fruit. We discussed what to do and, since it was raining, decided to go
tour an old silver mine that was about an hour south in Austria.
When we arrived at the Schwaz silver mine we put on long, silver,
waterproof coats and rode in a cramped ore train through an extremely
tiny tunnel to the exhibit. No way would this pass a safety inspection
in America! The tour guide spoke mostly in German, but the translated
brochure told us how hard it was to mine in the old days and what they
did down there. Overall, it was pretty cool. The wax-person displays
were creepy, though. In a horrifying twist, one of them mechanically
moved, scaring me so hard I screamed. I am still recovering from the
The next day we headed out to the Partnach Gorge, a sight Garmisch is
famous for. We hiked up a trail carved into the rock wall, complete with
walking tunnels. When we reached the canyon, we were amazed at what we
saw. Water cascaded off the rock like really big drops of pixie dust and
fell into a rushing stream below. One thing was for sure: If you fell
into the snowmelt-swollen river, you were dead. We passed gorgeous
waterfalls and marveled at cliff faces with falling streams.
After the gorge, we headed up a forest trail to a little restaurant on
the top of the mountain. It was a long and steep hike, but it was worth
it. The view of the Wetterstein Alps was spectacular, with snowcapped
mountains on one side and rolling green pastures straight out of the
book Heidi on the other. After a short lunch, Adele and I headed down on
a rusty, two-seat cable car that made us nervous with its rocking back
On the last day we were there, my mom drove my dad to the base of the
Kramerspitz, a mountain that my dad was going to abandon us to climb.
The rest of us rode a téléphérique (cable car) halfway up a different
mountain, then hiked up to the top. Climbing the top half of the
mountain was fun, with a good view and a "healthy" apple strudel (a
sweet, delicious pastry with a cooked apple filling) for lunch.
Afterward, we picked up my dad and started up the road.
Even though our vacation was over, I knew I would always remember the
feel of the water spray on my face and the magnificent views of the