Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
As we carefully planned our castle clad, scenic route along the Romantic Road in Germany, the possibility of rain in August never entered our minds.
As soon as we entered Füssen, fog descended and rain clouds burst and persisted for miles and days on end. After the initial shock of being wedged between hundreds of tour busses, crawling along a crowded wet road, with no visibility, we realized what we were facing.
How can we even expect something aptly named the romantic road to ever be THAT for everyone, everyday?
- I expected the children to be mesmerized by the romance and beauty of the German countryside.
- I expected to hold my husbands hand as the car gracefully hugged every turn and the sun beat down on the castles and meadows.
- I expected something very different from what I was experiencing and I knew I could either take it for what it was or fight the image I had in my mind that was most certainly NOT before me.
We pulled over near the Neuschwanstein Castle (that Disney modeled Sleeping Beauty’s Castle after) to get out of the tour bus traffic that was releasing thousands of people into the umbrella-soaked line reading 3 hours for entry. We knew getting in that line was not what we wanted but we also knew that it WAS what we planned.
At what point do we give up the plan and know that the path will reveal itself?
We kept on driving and ended up at Queen Mary’s Bridge where we saw the most beautiful sight imaginable. Neuschwanstein Castle, hovering above the fog, looking as if it was floating in the air. The blanket of dampness blocked all the chaos below and we were left with just the beauty and majesty of a fairytale moment.
As we continued through the Bavarian countryside, the romantic road revealed itself in unexpected ways. The kids were glued to their windows anxious for any form to reveal itself through the mist. The fog lifted just in time for us to see a pack of horses running through a lush, emerald valley. There was just enough light on a black, soupy lake to see a lone white swan gliding under a stone bridge.
The romance of the road came not in its ability to live up to our expectations, but more in its tenuous desire to reveal moments of beauty behind a curtain of mystery. Most of the sites we came here to see were not visible, but because of that, we saw things we never would have otherwise, and with intense clarity.
We were open to meeting the experience for what it was, and it became more than we could have ever planned. It is a lesson we learn over and over again on this journey.
The vision is not to see things just as we have imagined them to be. The vision is the freedom to live deliberately every day and that is something we can do even when it rains on the romantic road.