What a week!! My parents took the train from Amsterdam on Monday to meet us in Munich. We rented a mini van that of course Jeff has fallen in love with. It’s a stick, it’s a diesel, it’s a van and I don’t think it could get much better than that for Jeff. So we braved the autobahn south to Garmisch, which is right on the Austrian border and settled into a cute little guesthouse, Zum Raasan, for the night. We woke up to amazing view of the Alps out of our window and a wonderful breakfast spread of meats and cheeses and fresh croissants (between the four of us, I think we ate 10 croissants, what a bunch of piggy Americans!).
After breakfast, we jumped into the car and drove an hour east to Fussen, where the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein is. There are actually two castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, within walking distance and we decided to take the double tour. I have been to Neuschwanstein as a kid and remembered bits and pieces of it; like the swan sink in King Ludwig’s bedroom and the huge kitchens downstairs. King Ludwig started construction on Neushcwanstein in 1869, worked on it for 17 years, completing only 16 of the 120 rooms, living in it for only 172 days before he was found drowned in a few feet of water. Schloss Hohenschwangau, the little castle, was much richer in history. It was the Bavarian Royal family hunting lodge and has a much more ‘lived-in’ feeling than Neuschwanstein. Both castles were amazing and unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so you’ll just have to take our word for it!
We left Neuschwanstein in a downpour and were soaked through and hungry. We stopped a what we determined was the German Walmart and picked up some bread and cheese. There was a little cart in the parking lot that was selling roasted chickens and we sent my mom (since she speaks a little German) to order a whole chicken for dinner. Earlier in the day, we all had a conversation that at least we could tell on menus what was pork by the word schwein, so I guess when my mom ordered a schweinhocken from the guy we shouldn’t have been surprised that when we open the bag in the van that it wasn’t a roasted chicken, but a roasted pork hock instead. I don’t know if she’ll ever live it down!
The next day, after we stuffed our faces at the guesthouse, we went to the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze. We rode the Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car to the top, which was a little scary! We stayed on top for several hours, Jeff had to go climbing around outside the safety area, and we took the cog-train back down. It was an amazing day with beautiful blue sunny skies and we got some amazing pictures. After we came back to Garmisch, we wandered around town and I found my cuckoo-clock! Its really cute with a little dog on it and a German girl who rings a little bell at the top when the cuckoo comes out. I love it! Jeff had the lady show him were the off button is in case the cuckoo drives him crazy!!
On Thursday, we checked out of the guesthouse and did some hiking in the Partnachklamm, a narrow 700-meter gorge. We first walked along a path at the bottom of the gorge and at times it felt very cavernous. We walked back along the top of the gorge and the path lead us into the German country side. There was a beerhouse in the middle of the hike, where we stopped and had a couple of cold ones. The Germans combined two of Jeff’s favorite things, hiking and drinking beer!
We dropped Popsie off at the train station so he could begin his journey back to Sitka. Mom is staying with us for several more days as we travel into Heildberg and Baden-Baden. We’ve been trying to up the blogspot more frequently but internet access continues to be a problem, so we’re doing the best we can keeping it updated!
J & t
|Stuffing our faces full of awesome German food in Garmisch|
|View of Neuschwanstein from the little castle Hohenschwangau|
|Us on top of the Zugspitze vistor's center with the German Alps in the background|
|Having beers on top of the Zugspitze|
|Me on top of world, inside safety areas|
|Jeff on top of the world, outside the safety area|
|My cuckoo-clock that I found in Garmisch|
|Gasthof zum Rassen where we stayed in Garmisch, our favorite lodging so far!|
|J on the path along the gorge Partnachklamm|
|Along the Partnachklamm|
|Beer garden on the German countryside along the hike|
|Having a few cold ones!|