One of the most visited castles in all of Germany is Castle Neuschwanstein, and the Hohenschwangau Castle nearby. These two castles were homes of the Bavarian King Ludwig II who lived an extravagant life, but at a price. After spending all of his fortunes on elaborate castles in the beautiful alpine regions of southern Bavaria, he was declared insane to help prevent the total economic destruction of the region. Shortly after, on a return trip to Munich, he and his psychiatrist mysteriously drowned in Lake Starnberg.
The Hohenschwangau Castle, built for King Ludwig's parents.
The beautiful view from the castle.
The castle from a distance.
Day 2: Island of Flowers and Meersburg
Meersburg is a quaint medieval Geraman town on the shores of Lake Constance, known locally as Bodensee. It is the home to the oldest inhabited castle in Germany, having been built in the 7th century. We took a ferry from Meersburg to Mainau which is often referred to as the Island of Flowers. The island lies close to the German city of Konstance and has been inhabited in some way since the times before Christ. The island is home to many rare plants and flowers and is a lovely site all year. I love flowers so this was one of my favorite sites!
This a picture of the countryside we passed on our drive to Meersburg. It all looked similar to this.
There are flowers everywhere!
We had dinner out beside Lake Constance. Very nice! Scott is holding his ice cream cone.
Day 3: Eagle's Nest:
Day 3: Eagle's Nest:
A trip to Germany would be incomplete without a visit to a WWII site. One of the more unique sites is the mountain retreat of Adolf Hitler and his companion, Eva Braun. Perched high upon a mountain top in the Berchtesgaden region of Germany is the Kehlsteinhaus, once known as Eagle's Nest. It was designed and built as a 50th birthday present for the dictator. After WWII, the house and all the surrounding land were held by the Americans, only returning ownership back to Germany in the 1990's. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and restaurant.
This is on the bus ride up the mountain. View's from the Eagle's Nest were breathtaking!
I could've sit up there for hours!
In a bunker at the base of the mountain.
Day 4: Hiking
Hiking in southern Germany is unmatched in scenery, ease of trails, and of course, the all important huttes as a needed break along the way or at the end of a glorious day of romping through the mountains. The hike for this trip began at the Sollereck lift, winds its way down the mountain of the Freibergsee, a beautiful glacier lake tucked in the valley, and then back through the idyllic pine forests of the alps. A stop at a wonderful vacation inn on the Freibergsee for some delicious apple studel completes the day.
Jackson and I did not go on the hike. I did not think it was conducive for Jackson since we did not have a backpack for him. This was one of Scott's favorite things he did in Germany and he said the apple strudle was the best he has ever had!
This one's for you Aunt Rachael!
At the end of the day we all went to dinner at a very authentic German restaurant. Here is a picture of Wayne, Amie, Andrew, and Alex.
Munich is a city that could take months to fully explore. From famous celebrations such as the Oktoberfest festival each September to the palaces, museums, and Glockenspiel, there is just so much to do and see here. One impressive site (if you are into that sort of thing) is the Residence, the former royal palace of the Bavarian Monarchs. It auctually consists of a complex of buildings that house the famous Cuvillies Theater, the Treasury, and one of the most impressive displays of art and architecture in the world, spanning from the late Renaissance through Baroque, Rococo, and Classicism peroids. Nearby is the famous Glockenspiel. Tourists flock to the town center, Marienplatz, each day to witness the ringing of the bells and the dancing of the court jesters of the bell tower. Nearby is an upscale shopping center and the pedestrian zone that offers a variety of shopping, dining, and sites.
We took the train to Munich and saw some of the beautiful countryside along the way. Jackson loves the wind in his hair. The Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz. Its goes off at 11:00, 12:00, and 5:00. It's like a big coocoo clock but instead of the coocoo bird it has jesters and other stuff.
I love these flower shops.
In the Treasury we toured, this was my favorite piece.
The courtyard of the palace.
A hall inside the palace
Another hall inside the palace. Alot of the palace got destroyed in WWII so a good bit of the original is gone.We went into a Tiffiany's store and asked what the most expensive thing was and the clerk told us it was one of these rings. They cost about $600,000.This is Scott's sister, Amie. She planned out all of our days and was an excellant tour guide and host!
Day 6: Weihenstephan in Freising
Let me start by saying that it was my brother-in-law, Wayne, who was the most interested in going to see this brewery. I was along for the ride and thought I might as well go since we are in Germany and Germans are known for their beer.
The town of Freising is the site of the oldest working brewery in Germany, Weihenstephan. Orginally a monastery, the monks began making beer at the site as early as 1040 AD. Although there are a multituse of flavors of German beer available, particularly in Bavaria, the beer most commonly brewed at this site is Weizenbier, a wheat beer. Beer is so important to the region, in fact, that a part of the adjoining university teaches courses in beer brewing and quality. We took a tour of this brewery but could not understand anything since it was all in German.
This picture is Jackson asleep on our bed. We slept on the couch in the den that turns into a bed while we visited the Spitzers and Jackson slept with us.
Kempten is a lovely town in the heart of the Allgau region. It is the "county" seat for it's area and is the largest town in the region with a population of about 60,000. It also is one of the oldest urban settlements on record in Germany, with an entire archaeological park dedicated to Roman runins in the area. Kempten has a lovley Basilica (cathedral) and Residence (palace) decorated in the Baroque and Rococo styles. Each Wednesday and Saturday the town comes alive with the local Farmer's Market, and the Rathaus (town council building) in the center of the pedestrian area is just lovely.
This is Kempten's mall.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen was originally two separate towns with each enjoying a diverse economy and style. Partenkirchen is the older town and was originally along the Roman Highway. Garmisch was settled by Germanic tribes some 800 years later. For the occasion of the Olympics in 1936, the two towns were consolidated to manage all the venues. Today, many of the Olympic sites are favorite toursit attractions. The town is also home to many retired US military as being one of the most idyllic places in all southern Germany. It sits at the base of the Zugptitze, Germany's tallest mountain. Daytrips up the mountain can be quite spectacular.
Scott holding Jackson while he slept