Monday, October 19, 2009

From snow to sunshine

Me, outside the Neuschnestein Castle Sunday.
It snowed and rained all day!

Nate, with the Waxenstein Mtn. range and SUNSHINE!

Today, the sun finally shined down on Bavaria! We have been enjoying ourselves, even with the ongoing rain and snow, but today's sunshine was very welcome.

On Friday, we picked up a rental car and, thanks to some helpful hints from our new friend "Jake," we headed off to see Mittenweld and Murneau. Our finely made Russian compact car didn't stand up to the test of relentless rain. In a mid-mountain pass, the wipers gave out. We had to return to Garmisch early and skipped the brewery in Murneau but, never fear, we made a side trip the next day!

On Saturday, we set out for Austria to check out Salzburg, which was very cool. It rained most of the day, but we hiked around and saw the sights. We took an amazing tour of Hohensalzburg, the impressive fortress that has guarded Salzburg since the mid-11th century. We could have spent all day wandering around and learning about the history.
The next day, Sunday, we took our little rental car on the senic route—over a couple small mountain passes and through Austria—to see King Ludwig II's castles. It was snowing and very beautiful. Nice to take the road less traveled. The two castles we toured—Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein—were impressive but very over-the-top. Neuschwanstein, the inspriation Walt Disney used for Sleeping Beauty, isn't even complete. Only 16 of the 65 rooms were finished before Ludwig died of mysterious circumstances.

Today, the sun was shining, so we set off on foot (we only kept the car for the weekend). We hiked all over the place, finally ending at a pristine mountain lake where we had a late lunch and enjoyed the view. We wimped out and took the bus home. I was ready to walk, but Nate claimed to be tired, or maybe it was happy hour calling him.

Needless to say, we are having a fantastic vacation, regardless of the weather. More to come in the next few days. We plan to tour Dachau, Munich and make another pass through Murneau.

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