It has now been a week since I had the honour to sign my name into the famous “Golden Book” of Garmisch-Partenkirchen – well, it cannot be that famous as I had no idea what it was when my mother rang me all excited to tell me that I had been invited by the mayor of our village.
So, what actually is the Golden Book? I am not sure whether every German town, city or village has it, however, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen people, who have achieved something extraordinary, are allowed to sign it. I did not expect anything amazing, but I have to admit that I felt quite honoured to become part of this book as its whole appearance was very impressive – and of course, my mother and aunt were very proud of me.
And despite the fact that it was early afternoon, our mayor spoilt our palate with champagne and welcomed me and my family and friends. When it was time to sign the book I noticed that the German President, Horst Köhler, and his wife had been immortalised on the previous page. After the ceremony, my brother-in-law, Edi, said laughingly: ‘ I bet in a few years time, people will wonder who the guy was, who signed the page before Billi’s’.
So, there you go. Now I am in the Golden Book but I do not think it will change my life – and I am not even sure whether Everest has changed my life, which I was not really expecting before I went on the expedition. The only difference I have noticed is that people seem to see me in a different light. All of a sudden I have become a heroine, people seem to find me more interesting and want to talk to me, and all of a sudden I get my car fixed for free in return for a signed photograph. Isn’t that amazing?
Other than that I am enjoying being back home. I am loving the proximity to the mountains, the fresh air, the lakes (even though they are freezing cold at the moment) and my family, however, I am aware of the fact that I can only enjoy it as long as I know that I will leave again. But nevertheless, I come from one of the most beautiful parts of the world and I feel very lucky that I grew up here.
The next thing on the agenda is the Zugspitz run, which I will be doing with my webmaster and good friend Richard. It takes place on 19th July and I hope it will not be as cold as last year, when two people died of hypothermia. They were scantily clad and did not expect such low temperatures and snow fall in July. Well, we are in the mountains and even though the German Alps cannot reach the heights of the Himalayas, the weather can still change in an instance. I promise, I will knit myself a warm jumper before I run up the highest mountain of Germany!