On our 5th and last full day in Germany, Joachim & Daniela picked us up at our hotel with fresh coffee, tea, and warm, Swabian pretzels [so good!]. We headed southeast to Bavaria. I wasn’t sure whether Bavaria was a different country or part of Germany, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my German family, so I whisper-asked Jim and he whispered back “part of Germany” *nods*. The part we went to was right on the Austrian border. After about 2 hours in the car we arrived, and were greeted by stunning views of Castle Neuschwanstein [New Swan Stone] & the Bavarian Alps:
Castle Neuschwanstein looks like a fairy tale castle. We didn’t get to see it up close because we didn’t get to town early enough for the hour+ hike through the woods. The line of people already hiking up was CRAZY. Here’s a small fraction of the line visible through the trees:
Holy moly. I’d love to do the hike someday and see Castle Neuschwanstein up close. Maybe next time! We did get to see Castle Hohenschwangau, though, which was a simple walk up a paved path. You can see Castle Neuschwanstein [the fairy tail castle] from Castle Hohenschwangau – they’re very close:
I climbed up a wall to take that pic – it was totally worth it even though I almost face-planted climbing back down because I forgot there was a step in front of the wall. But that’s OK – when you’re accident prone you get used to strangers laughing at you 🙂 Here are some pics from our time wandering the grounds of Castle Hohenschwangau:
The tropical garden & the view down to Schwangau were amazing:
I took a picture of Daniela, Joachim, & Jim in front of one of the many fountains & after I took it Jim said “OK, everyone turn around!” – HA!
Around one corner of the gardens was this fantastic red glass window & door, mostly hidden until you walked directly by it. I loved how the door looked with the stone arch above it and the greenery hiding it from view:
Here’s what it looks like inside – I pressed my camera up against one of the door grates. It looked like some kind of stone bath house dappled in color thanks to the stained glass:
After touring the outside of the castle we wandered down into the village of Schwangau:
The Jägerhaus building [the white one in the above pic] had some incredible details:
The village was beautiful and is right on the edge of Lake Alpsee:
We ate lunch at the Bräustüberl [yellow building above]. I’m not sure if Bräustüberl is the name of the place or the description of what it is. The first time I put “Bräustüberl” into the translator it said “bruises”. The 2nd time I tried it said “breastfeeding”. So I’m guessing I’m missing something here… [UPDATE – Joachim emailed and said it means “Brewing Room”. That makes more sense!] Before we went in Joachim checked to make sure they had vegetarian offerings, which they did. I have to say – the spinach-cheese strudel with herbal cream sauce was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. Anywhere… O M G! The tomatoes were cold which was such a nice contrast with the warm herb cheese sauce. And the puff pastry was just melt in your mouth WOW:
Jim & Daniala enjoyed some beer with their meal:
Jim was laughing when he took these next 2 pics because he says we look like a gang of bandits – the black wool hat I’m wearing is one I bought as soon as we arrived in Bavaria – it was way colder than I was prepared for!
And this is my favorite picture from Bavaria – Jim took it in one of the tourist shops. I wish I’d bought myself some cows with hats and collars!
After Bavaria we headed to a town called Isny im Allgäu where we saw cows with giant bells around their necks:
I took a short video of the sound the bells make – they sounded like windchimes – it was amazing!!! The cows move around constantly which provides a continuous lullaby of sound:
Joachim found this much better video on youtube:
We spent 5 hours in the car & drove 265 miles on Day 5! Here’s our route from Nürtingen to Castle Hohenschwangau to Isny im Allgäu & back to Nürtingen:
Here are some pics from the inside of our hotel room on the morning of Day 6, after we’d packed:
All 5 rooms at the Pension Europa in Nürtingen had twin beds – I think it’s mostly a house where students stay when they travel through the area. We were so tired at the end of each day we just fell into our respective beds and were sound asleep under those super cozy comforters!
On a side note, I was amazed to learn how most windows work in Germany. The windows and door in our room had 3 settings – when the handle was straight down, they were locked. When the handle was horizontal they’d open by swinging into the room [1st pic]. But when the handle was straight up, just the top would open and tilt into the room [2nd pic]:
It took some getting used to, but since there are no window screens in Germany [!?!] it was nice to have just the top of the windows open at night. I have no idea how they can have no screens and yet not have an issue with bugs… We didn’t have any bugs in our room the entire visit [except a spider which was maybe eating any bugs that made it in?].
I’ll end this post with a cool shot we took from the plane on the the way home [we’d never seen another plane while flying before], and an adorable pic of Bonkers napping on our bed – he was sooooo happy to have us home:
OH and here’s the total range we traveled during our 5 days in Germany:
We spent a total of 14 hours in the car over 5 days, and drove 702 miles [1130 kilometers] – Joachim kept track on his GPS. Crazy!!! [The map shows slightly less because it doesn’t account for the back and forth times each day – I plugged it into Google as one solid trip]. I can’t thank my German family enough for everything they did for us and everywhere they took us. You guys are incredible!!!