Sunday, October 30, 2005

Garmisch-Partenkirchen & Neuschwanstein

Our first anniversary came upon us last weekend, and in keeping with the spontaneity of our marriage, we accepted a last-minute invite from our friends to join them in the German holiday hot-spot of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Located on the border of Austria and just 45 mins. south of Munich, this place has all the hiking and whatnot in the warmer seasons and all the skiing you could want in the snow season. Either way, it's a peaceful, beautiful place with an endless number of trails. We screwed up trying to meet our friends on a particular trail, but stumbled upon a gorge believed to be over 225 million years old. We woke up to the cows going out and showered to the cows coming home. More cowbell was definitely *not* needed here. The second day we hiked up and down a mountain for five or six hours. Despite the seven blisters, pulled hip, and getting caught in a steady rain, the scenery made up for it (we were there during Garmisch's prime display of autumn colors). We partook in Bavarian fare, which has convinced me that Skyline Chili's secret is either deer meat or goat meat (and check out their great wallpaper images!). God knows there are enough deer in Cincinnati to keep the business going. Anyway, check out the pictures on my Flickr page.

View from Neuschwanstein over Hohenschwangau

On our way home we also finally made it to Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the castle that Walt Disney World/Land was based off of and is on virtually every German travel book out there. The actual castle itself (I do have a picture in the flickr collection though I think you can find better out there) is based on the operas of Wagner. Maybe we're jaded and have seen too many castles and cathedrals but the castle was so-so. Certainly not worth the amount you pay for the obligatory 35 minute tour that you have to take. I wanted a tour, but for as big as the castle is, for as much as you pay (9 Euros per adult), for as far as you travel to see the thing, for as long as you walk to get to it, and for as recently as it was built (1886, I think), you'd think you'd get a little more info than 35 minutes' worth. That's the warning for what you're going to get when you visit one of Germany's most popular landmarks. It's pretty, but I'd rather hike.

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