This week we’ll take you through the part of Germany that most foreigners dream about: Bavaria.
Am I getting nostalgic because we’re about to leave? (Right now, I’m sitting in my empty living room with two chairs and a tiny TV as our furniture makes its way to Japan.) Or is it just that I’ve had more opportunity to play tourist than usual as friends hop over for one last visit? Either way, documenting our trip through Bavaria seemed like an appropriate way to bid farewell to our latest homeland.
As we drew closer to the Alps, my friend grew increasingly excited. However, there’s something they don’t always tell you about the Alps: If it’s cloudy, you can’t actually see them. They just look like foothills.
Luckily, the clouds finally began to lift, and we pulled off the road for this photo opp:
Our first stop was Neuschwanstein Castle (noy-SHVAN-stine) – brainchild of the eccentric King Ludwig II and inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Because of icy conditions, no buses were running from the town to the castle, and only horse-drawn carriages were available. There were no English-speaking tours until the late afternoon (when people suggest you should reserve tickets in advance, start the process more than 24 hours out).
We weren’t deterred, because our true goal was the Marienbrücke (MAH-hree-en-brue-kuh) – Mary’s Bridge – known for providing the best view of the castle. Imagine our disappointment when we arrived at the castle and found out the trail was closed!
The view from the castle draws to attention the flat plains that lead up to the Alps:
In town, we snapped this picture to show the abrupt transition from those plains to the German Alps:
The next morning, we awoke to bright sunshine in the quaint town of Oberammergau (whose devout townspeople made a pact with God about 380 years ago to perform a Passion of the Christ play every decade if God spared them from the effects of The Plague), close to Austria.
The Ammergau Alps are the closest range to Munich and therefore are a very popular destination for hiking, skiing, alpine walking, alpine skiing, spa hotels, touring, and making merry. This is one of the most recognizable peaks, right behind Oberammergau, called the Kofel:
According to our helpful innkeeper, after a full day of sightseeing there was but one thing to do: head to the local brewery, the Maxbrau, for local food and great beer. Of course, we happily complied (and weren’t disappointed).
*Special thanks to Jessica for the photos, company and inspiration!