Hey they copied Disneyland!

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, June 21, 2007

The second half of our summer break was spent in Bavaria. A lovely piece of the German alps and of course all the culture that I expected to see the first time I came to Germany (Beer Maidens, Liederhosen, etc. etc.)

We arrived into Munich and picked up our rental, a very comfortable Alfa Romeo with a Mary Poppins voiced guide for our GPS (We dubbed her Sherry bobbins of course). We then proceeded to get lost on the Munich Freeways as SHerry kept telling me to turn left into the freeway divide. We finally pulled out the traditional maps and did it all the old fashioned way. Once we figured it all out, Sherry of course got back on track.

It took us about 2 hours, but we finally made it to Garmisch where our very lovely hotel was. Marty and I had this great room, with a cute little balcony and gorgeous views of the alps. I mean as you are driving into them, they are just breathtaking. Literally. They careen straight up into the sky. That evening we were blessed with a golden sunset that turned the rocks a blood red as it set into the valley. I love mountain sunsets almost as much as beach ones :)

We woke up early the next morning to make our was to the main point of this trip Neuschwannstein. This is basically one of the most famous castles in the world - mostly because of Disneyland for us Americans, but also because it is so grand and odd and beautiful all at once. King Ludwig, being a blue blood and living in the age of eccentricity was a bonafide nutjob. Eventually the legend goes he took his own life, but for the brief time he was around, he spent lavishly on several homes which are all available now for viewing in groups of 10 every 15 minutes for 12 euros a person...hmmm maybe he wasn't so crazy...

Unfortunately it was pouring the day we went, and I of course was still in Barcelona mode - so I didn't really dress that appropriately, but luckily I did have the wherewithal to bring my rain slicker! We took pictures on the Maria Bridge with wind gusting through the canyon. The bridge was a bit rickety feeling to me and I know it was safe, but I have hard time being up that high and the space between the floor boards is big enough to see through to the bottom of the gorge (about 270 feet down). The castle itself was a maze of halls and throne rooms and chambers, all so grand but lacking in too many decorations. Supposedly in the past year they changed the rules and people are not allowed to photograph within the castle but we were allowed to photograph the views out the windows, the windows themselves were really quite lovely and framed the pix quite nicely. The only thing that ruined it was some really crabby tour guide from another group who yelled at me for taking pictures, when I explained what I was doing she continued to be rude so I took pictures of her. I guess she didn't like it, but so what it was the end of the tour and honestly if you hate people you shouldn't be a tour guide. It's just common sense.

We headed back into town and did a little exploring for a dinner restaurant and some shopping. I found me some great undies and we ate like Bavarian King and Queens :)

The next day we headed over to the Summer Palace. It is in a different location from the castles, set in a valley with a river and lakes. There is a beautiful white house surrounded by pristinely manicured gardens with fountains, statues, grottos, terraces... everything symmetrically aligned with one another. For me just dreamy as I love to garden and I ama math geek who likes symmetry. I found a few things interesting here. First, in the house, each room had a theme. And in the dining room the table was actually set on a pulley system that could raise and lower it through the floor. Because eccentric Luddy didn't want people serving him at dinner, they were ordered to prepare and set the table all at once in the kitchen below and then raise it into position in the dining hall above. A trap door secured it in place. Okay ... in addition he built a cave grotto with an artificial lake inside the mountain behind the house. This was his hideout where he had a quartet at his beck and call that would station themselves up on a ledge and play music while he sailed around the man-made cave lake in his crazy boat with colored lights everywhere. Psychedelic before his time.

After taking a million photographs and exploring all of the hidden spots in this place, we left to go back to town, but decided to stop off at a couple towns from our guide book. The first was in a small area where there was an abbey and a n old church in Rococo style. This is where the painting is enhanced 3-D with sculpture pieces popping out. I was able to show my saintly side by taking some pictures in an empty nave left just for me :) And of course we bought some of the abbey's alchol elixir cures. In Germany alcohol cures all your ailments, especially if it's blessed alcohol...We continued on down the road to Oberammergau - a town known for its painted houses and lovely views. They also do a recreation of Christ's walk with the crucifix every 10 years. It is a BIG to-do with actors practicing for years. In any case, the sun was out, the day was still a little young and we decided to explore and look at the all the artwork. We happened into a little inn with a nice looking menu and sampled some of the local dishes. I had potato soup garnished with potato chips - and they stayed crunchy - how did they do that...

The final day was spent killing some time around town and then bringing Ivania to her hotel and eventually catching our evening plane home. It was such an interesting trip and I can now say that I not only lived in Germany but I saw Bavaria too! Or at least a little corner :)


Thank you Ivania!
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