Monday, October 18, 2010

Garmish-Partenkirchen and Schoss Neuschwanstein

We headed off for a weekend adventure to the southern region of Germany.  It was a great time.  I am posting pics in a separate post as I can't seem to get blogger to cooperate tonight to embed the pics in the post.

We stayed in Garmish-Partenkirchen at the youth hostel there.  It was a nice place, more of a hotel with token hostel aspects.  The staff was friendly and helpful and that was great since our weekend of outdoor adventures turned into a weekend in the cold rain.  We planned to take the train and cable car up to zugspitze (the highest peak in Germany) on the afternoon we arrived in town.  We decided to pass on that as paying $100 to look at the fog seemed foolish.  Instead we enjoyed some extra time at the hostel and walked around town to get oriented on the first day of our visit. 

The second day we braved the weather and forged ahead in the wet weather and headed outdoors.  We rode the cable car (the Eckbaurbahn) to the top of Eckbaur mountain and hiked down through the woods and then through Parnachklamm gorge.  It was a beautiful winter and fall hike.  As we rode up the mountain the rain turned to snow so the first bit of the hike was cold and snowy (not good for our light-weight pants, crazy Americans hiking ill prepared).  As we moved down the mountains the trees provided some shelter from the rain and we could enjoy all the beautiful colors and the kids warmed up a bit.  Then we entered the gorge.  It was amazing.  Our rule of thumb here is to never do anything twice, but we are seriously thinking about going back to Garmish to go through the gorge again when the weather is cooler and all the icicles form.  The fall colors and waterfalls were beautiful in my opinion, but people rave about seeing it in winter.  Our kids were troopers.  They hiked for 5 hours in the rain and snow.  We rewarded them with pizza and playtime in the party room at the hostel.

Today we left Garmish and visited Neuschwanstein castle on the way home.  Its one of the castles of Ludwig II and is famous for being nicknamed the "fairytale castle".  We had a beautiful bus ride through the countryside of southern Germany and traveled along the Romantic Road for part of our journey on our way from Garmish to the castle.  We hoped to tour both castles in hohenschwangau but after calculating the time we had until our train we found we only had time for Neuschwanstein.  We took a bus as the hour long hike to the castle seemed a lot to ask of our tired kids.  It was 8 euro well spent.  The castle was interesting.  The snacks in the cafe were amazingly expensive, but we enjoyed an awesome view from the tables in the cafe.  We narrowly made our train to Munich and arrived home late tonight.

We had a lot of fun, fed the kids way too much fast food (we never could seem to get a healthy restaurant meal into our agenda), and made the most of a bad weather weekend.  Things were still fairly crowded, I can't imagine what it would be like on a beautiful day.

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