Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Journey Through the Alps - Germany

We had been invited by our dear friends the Arnolds, over 1 year ago to accompany them on their tour of the Alps.  Brad served his mission in Germany, spoke German and was familiar with this area of the world.  He is an excellent travel planner and they are wonderful traveling companions so we were anxious to join them!  Here is the first post of our 11 day journey through the Alps:

After about 12 hours of travel - we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland at 10:30 in the morning. We were exhausted but had the day ahead of us! We picked up our rental car and started on our journey.  We drove into Germany for our first stop - Schloss Neuschwanstein.  As soon as we stepped out of the car we were caught in a torrential downpour!  Even though we had our raincoats and umbrellas - we were soaked.  We waited out the storm and wandered around the village below the castle until the time of our tour.  
This is another castle in the area that we did not visit.  We learned that castles are pretty easy to come by in this part of the world!  
We were starving  so we stopped for some Bratwurst mit Semmel (Bratwurst with roll).
Very authentic!
We could see Neuschwanstein rising out of the mist above us.  This castle was the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle. 
We walked to a bridge where we could get an even better vantage point of the castle.  Pretty spectacular!
In 1869 Ludwig II, king of Bavaria, built this castle as a place of refuge and an hommage to Richard Vagner.  It was only partially finished when he died in 1886 and six weeks later it was opened up as a museum to the public.  

That is the bridge we were standing on earlier.

The rain finally let up and we had a nice walk back down to the village.  There were tons of these tiny frogs crossing the pathway.
We stopped for some pizza on the way out of town and I ordered what I thought was pepperoni pizza but instead was pepperoncini pizza which was a cheese pizza covered with green peppers.  Oh well.
We arrived that night at Hotel Zugspitze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  Although I was anxious for a good night's sleep - I spent most of the night tossing and turning while alternately texting the kids.
These two little rubber duckies were in the hotel bathroom.
The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel.  This breakfast was delightful and typical of most of the European Continental breakfasts we ate during our stay. 
There was always plenty of fresh fruit. 
And homemade preserves.
Always a selection of hard boiled eggs (boiled for 5 or 7 minutes depending on your preference).
And assortment of muesli.
Meats and pate (I don't know how to put an accent above the e).
More meats and cheeses.
Delicious bread selection.  There were pretzels hanging on those hooks too until Wes ate the last one.
This hotel offered special mineral waters.  The minerals are listed and you can see the rocks in the bottom of the carafes.

After breakfast we strolled around this resort town that in 1936 hosted the Winter Olympic Games.  
Germany's highest mountain at 9700 feet - Zugspitze. 

We saw several men wearing the traditional lederhosen and the women wearing dirndl dresses.
Most buildings had flower boxes bursting with blooms.
We were completely charmed by this pair.  You can't see it very well but this little toddler has red braids coming out from under her helmet and she has a doll in a red wicker baby seat on the front of her bike.  She wouldn't stop smiling.  Too cute!
That afternoon we drove to Konigsee - a town and lake right on the border of Austria.  Unfortunately the clouds obscured the top half of these mountains towering above this crystal clear lake.

We got some gelato and boarded the ferry for a boat ride to the other side of the lake.  Weston's dark chocolate gelato was almost black!

We were dropped off near this small church and inn/restaurant.  We decided to walk along the lake's edge for a bit.

We saw many types of lichen on our walk!

And the guys skipped some rocks.

Many of the buildings have rocks on their roofs to hold down the shingles during a wind or snow storm.
We boarded the ferry for a ride back to the town.  We bought some soft pretzels for the road and headed to Salzburg, Austria!

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