October 4th, 2018

Half A Century Ago, cont.

As we headed across Europe, October found Nelson and I in Münich around the time of Oktoberfest. Now, I was not much of a beer drinker, coming from the U.S. in the 60s-the land of Budweiser, et al. But hey, we can walk around the fair grounds eat wurst. I’d been photographing earlier around the beer gardens the Münich is famous for all year round and I’d snapped a few pictures. I still had the camera with me that evening and at one point, these two guys-German soldiers on leave for the evening, invited us to sit with them. We ordered a couple of liter steins of brew. Two Deutschmarks, about fifty cents, each. It was NOT Bud…

The soldiers were already pretty looped by then and insisted after this picture that we trade hats while we sat with them. The cameraderie was a pleasant addition to the buzz from the potent beer and I left realizing there was more to beer than I’d thought.

After Münich, we took a day to visit the Black Forest. It was, uh, very dark.

Which I always thought this shot captured perfectly.

From Germany we crossed into Austria with a couple of days in Vienna. But our urge to get to Asia was stronger than our taste for schnitzel and we found ourselves at the side of the road, deep in the mountains near the border with Yugolsavia. Night was falling and only one car had passed, studiously ignoring our pleading thumbs. Just as the last of the skylight was failing, a small black sedan with Yugoslav plates pulled over and we climbed in. We were a little nervous, entering a Communist country for the first time and in the dark…

But I must digress…since this narrative is following no timeline, these two pictures are from my third trip, in 1972. I’d bought a Citroen 2CV, in Amsterdam and met a woman, Trygve, who also hailed from Berkeley and we headed down to Salzburg in that amazing vehicle.

It had been cloudy all across Europe and when someone recommended hiking in the Alps, the thought was kind of depressing. Gray skies everywhere. This snow field viewed from some castle wall in Switzerland seemed to exemplify the weather we expected to find higher up. But when we took a funicular railway up the mountain it rose above the clouds and we found ourselves in sunshine with a view across the cloud covered continent and Alpine peaks rising above it all.

And now back to adventures in mysterious eastern Europe…



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