Apparently no idea is too crazy to be rejected, so I bundled myself in the warmest garments I had and purchased a ticket to Neufreistadt, in the CDS, or, more formally, the Confederation of Democratic Simulators. The predecessor organization to the CDS was formed with the intention of being governed by its residents. (More information can be found here.) As such, it is something of an oddity in our world, filled as it is with Owners, Guvnahs, Emperors, Prim Ministers, and assorted autocrats. Still, they seem to have gotten along for some time, and the Bavarian nation, though not precisely part of the Steamlands, might be considered a kindred spirit in some ways.
I started in the Marketplace, which was still decorated for Christmas.
Surprisingly for the altitude and time of year, the plaza was warm, and I could enjoy a drink from the Plaza Cafe at an outdoor table. (Not that warm. You may imagine that I am shivering while attempting to hold still enough for the photograph.)
The Antiquariat Bookstore provided a lengthy diversion as I perused shelf upon shelf of titles. I also stopped at the Information Center and lovely church at the far end of the Marketplace.
The old town is a charming walled city that appears to date from the Middle Ages. Naturally, the castle - the Schloss Neufreistadt - towers over the town, occupying the highest spot, with its towers often lost in the low-lying clouds. As night started to fall, the air became quite chilly, and I was glad to stop in the Biergarten near the castle to warm up with a lager.
Outside the walls of the old city, in the valley below, sit more modern houses, as well as a handful of shops. Away from the heat of the old town the season is more obvious, with snow covering everything but the well-cleared walkways. The steep terrain makes the area suited for downhill skiing. Not me, mind you: I may embrace crazy ideas, but I have some limits!
By then it was time to retire for the evening in a cozy guesthouse. Next, I visit the adjacent CDS territory, Alpine Meadow.