We just spent the last 5 days traveling through Southern Germany, with most of our time spent in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Munchen (Munich) and Schwangau. It amazes me that in a 4.5 hour drive we were in 3 different Countries; Italy, Austria and Germany. We stayed at the Edelweiss Resort, which is a military resort located in the Bavarian Alps. Talk about breath taking! The 5 day weather forecast called for snow, snow and more snow- and while it did snow in the mountains, the base of the Alps did not see any of that fluffy white powder until the day we were leaving (Bummer).
Our two good friends Bree and Kory came along with us on our German Adventure. The first day we arrived in Garmisch we were suppose to take a 4.5 hour tour through the Partnach Gorge, unfortunately due to unseasonably “warm” weather (If you call 40 degrees warm) the Gorge was closed, so we pretty much just relaxed and learned our way around the resort. The second morning we were suppose to take a guided tour through Munich city which is approximately 54 miles from Garmsich; the resort tour was cancelled due to lack of people signing up so we decided to brave it on our own. We hopped a train and headed for the Munchen Hauptbahnhof (Munich Train Station), quickly realizing, we needed a plan! With no cell service and no internet what does one do?…. we buy a paper map and hope we can follow it! It was cold and raining the entire day but well worth the trip. We went to the city center (Marienplatz) where we saw the gothic style, Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which also contains the Rathaus Glockenspiel. Every day at 11 am, 12pm and 5pm the Glockenspiel chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 18th century. The top half tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm, while the bottom half reenacts the Coopers’ dance. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. This “show” lasts approximately 15 minutes and is a huge tourist attraction.
We also climbed the Alter Peter, which is part of St. Peter’s Church. It reaches a height of 298 feet and consists of 299 steps. This made the entire trip in the rain worthwhile. We enjoyed a panoramic view of the Alps which extends more than 62 miles on a clear day.
Among other sites that day was:
*The Viktualienmarkt, which is the daily food market in the square of Munich. It covers 240,000 square feet and has over 140 stalls and shops, which contain liquors, meats, fruits, spices, and more.
*The BMW Welt, (BMW World) which is a exhibition facility for BMW. We were able to see Rolls Royce, Mini Cooper and BMW Cars/Motorcycles including concept cars.
*The BMW Museum
*The Frauenkirche, a church in the city that serves as the cathedral of the Archdioceses of Munich.
..and many more!
We stopped for lunch at an Authentic German restaurant where we feasted on Cabbage Soup, Pretzels, Roast Pork and Wurstel. Of course this is where Bobby experienced his first German beer IN Germany (I’m still not a fan).
It was late when we arrived back at the resort so we decided to treat our self to some good ‘ol American style pizza… at…. Drum Roll, please…. Pizza Hut! Oh yes, it’s the little things that we miss from the states, which include cheesy crust supreme pizza! You laugh now, but when you live overseas it’s a treat to get this kind of stuff. Luckily, Germany had a lot more American fast food establishments than Italy. Here we are limited to McDonald’s and Burger King, which are few and far between. Germany had McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, and KFC.
Wednesday was pretty laid back for me. Bobby, Kory and Bree wanted to spend the day skiing…and well, if you would have seen me last year when I hit the slopes with Bobby, you’d agree that I am NOT a snow bunny! So while they were skiing, I spent the day at the resort spa! I’m not complaining!!
On our last full day in Germany, we got up bright and early and hopped on a tour bus with the resort. We passed through the Bavarian countryside and stopped off in Steingaden. Here we were able to go in the Weiskirche, a beautiful pilgrimage church. We also took a break in a small cafe adjacent to the church and had fresh (made in front of you) doughnuts. The highlight of the tour was our trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle, in Schwangau Germany. This castle is a nineteenth century Romanesque Revival palace, built for King Ludwig ll. To reach the castle we had to walk uphill for 40 minutes, and once inside we had over 300 steps to climb throughout the open parts of the castle. A little fun fact, this particular castle was inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. After our tour of the castle we stopped off for lunch at a German Brewery. I think I have had enough schnitzel and dumplings to last me a while!
Friday we made the drive home in the snow. Bobby and I agree, we absolutely loved Germany and hope to go back. While we packed in as much as we could during our short stay, there is still so much left to see.
This was also my first time in 10 years that I have left Presley with someone other than my parents. I am happy to report he did wonderful- I guess I am just an over protective doggy mom!
On another note, for those of you whom we are always trying to explain just how expensive Europe is… here is a little tidbit to put it in to perspective.. The base gives us NATO Coupons for gas here in Italy, which makes the price of gas fairly close to half of the economy price. This is great when you are traveling around Italy. Unfortunately on our way back home Friday we had to stop for gas in Austria, or we’d be stranded! We decided to just put enough to get us across the border in to Italy, where we can use our Nato coupons. Bobby put 15 liters in my FJ, which is approximately 4 gallons of gas. This cost us 23,30 euro which is roughly $32.00. That makes it $8.00 a gallon for gas! If we had to fill up my tank, it would have cost us $128 for ONE tank of gas in the FJ, and the FJ only holds about 16 gallons! Even with the coupons we are still paying just over $4 a gallon for gas…I will NEVER complain in the states again!!
All in all, we’ve had a wonderful start to the New Year! Bobby has an upcoming TDY to Portugal, and shortly after he gets back I will once again be traveling stateside to visit family and friends. We already have so much going on this year…I love having a reason to countdown!!
To view our pictures from Germany, click here: