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“Harsha, did we die and somehow end up in heaven? But i am really bad”.  

Its not about going places. Or being in places. But the people. Not just the ones we meet. But about us. Travel tests courtship. I really believe that. I also believe you should never travel with anyone whom you dont love. We headed out to Austria in the inter country train from Munchen. We were a few stops away from Salzburg ( of Sound of Music fame ). And our train breaks down. They announce something in German and all the locals get down. There we were, lost. And no body spoke english. Standing outside this tiny station with no facilities. Not knowing what to do. And i fell apart, not knowing what to do and was prancing all over the place. Harsha stayed calm and composed. And it all sorted out by itself. I learn a little about Harsha. And he about me ……. We made it Salzburg. The train ride was very picturesque. We couldnt stop staring outside the window. And no pictures i took did justice to what my eyes experienced. I am beginning to think i am a country side person with an occasional need for the urban living. We drove down to St. Gilgen which was another awsome drive. Harsha started with the trail hunt for us the minute we got here. We acquired all the maps we could and i was presented with the following choices: 1. Hike all the way up for 7-8 hours and come down in the cable car. 2. Take a cable car up and do some trails that loop around the top of the alps. I picked the second option. I regretted it the minute i got into the cable car. We could see the ones who are toiling the alps over sitting in a car and i hated the feeling.

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 Once we got to the top, we saw tourists sitting outdoors enjoying some Russn. It was extremely tempting but we set out to do a loop trail on the top. We wanted to earn our beer. We had to. The realization that we were up on the Alps beat everything else …

2014-09-14_0005 The hills are alive,
With the sound of music
With songs they have sung
For a thousand years
– Sound of Music.

One has to be up on the Alps to really feel every word in this song. The sound of music on the mountains? The cow bells. Its constant. Its everywhere. And its totally melodious. I envy these cows for what they have. The view. The abundance of food. The ranchers who seem very kind. The slow living they seem to experience. The baby cow in the picture above, he stopped what ever he was doing and followed me. I was a tad scared but extremely flattered. I wanted to be Heidi. I felt like a Heidi.

“Because I would rather be with my grandfather on Alp than anywhere on earth.” ― Johanna Spyri, Heidi

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“Harsha, beetle !!”. “Oh my god, we will never finish our trail. Can i hold the camera?”

“I need a portrait of that beautiful cow.” “Okay, you tackle from that side and i will from this side. Lets go ! “

I only want to travel with Harsha. Its such an intimate experience and i get to do all these things because of him. #loveletter

IMG_1623 Totally badass things to do other than hiking. Para-gliding. We sat our tired legs down on these slopes and watched them. They would come with their big backpacks. Skillfully spread them out. Wait for the wind. Run off the slopes and fly. Watching them was an adrenaline rush. Cant imagine what it must really be like for the ones living it. I helped one of them set up his sail. Something for me to take home: I helped !

2014-09-14_0004 “A man on foot, horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than a motorized tourist can in a hundred miles” – Edward Abbey.

2014-09-14_0006 St. Giglen had this spell over Harsha. I have seen him blown away by the beauty of landscapes and places before. His eyes when we were driving the Pacific Coast Highway were like that of a childs. Too happy. And he was much more enamored by this place than i have ever seen him. He would refer to this town as ‘our place’ for the rest of the trip and compare everything to here. Just when we thought its beauty had peaked, it rained. We bought an umbrella and got to the lake. We found a tiny shack outside by the street. They had a chalkboard with list of 4 kinds of local seasonal fish. He had a tiny grill on which he made the fish. And served it with Russn and deep fried garlic naan like bread. It was an epic meal and i will remember it for a long long time.

2014-09-14_0002 Above left : At sunset. The lake by which we stayed. Harsha kept running outdoors to stare at it.  Above right: We were going on a evening walk. There was a barricade which said ‘no entry’. Harsha stopped me from going in. And this elderly couple crossed it and kept going. Hand in hand. #lifeLessons.

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I picked up some local honey. What makes honey awsome? The bees travel, a lot. And collect the valuable ingredients to make it. Holistic health experts say eating local honey will help with allergies? why? because you get exposed to a variety of elemental ingredients from the location. I wanted something that encompasses the elements of the Alps. The foodie in me picked up some honey before we left. I wanted something that was created using all the amazing-ness of the mountains. Dear Universe, thank you for everything.