samster's adventures

An adventurous girl cooks, eats and explores in Europe.

The Romantic Road, Germany

We landed in Munich just before noon and picked up our rental car. Marcus drove us up the autobahn while I slept pretty much the entire ride. At least he had the no speed limit situation and the fact that your speed in kilometers sounds SO much faster to entertain him. Once we got to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we walked into the town and began wandering. It was a cute place with cobblestone roads, tiny streets and old fashioned buildings that looked like they came straight out of a Christmas village. (And the town is actually big on Christmas- so many year round Christmas stores! I guess its a popular souvenir idea). We stopped at a cafe after checking out a few of the shops and had an apple strudel and iced teas (we were not expecting the Arizona tea bottles that came out). We went to dinner at a traditional restaurant recommended by our B&B owner, and then went to start the night watchman tour. It was quite the show as the tour guide dressed in an old robe and had a lantern on a walking stick. We got a lot more of the town’s history, and it was great seeing everything in the dark as well.

The next day our B&B served, of course, a traditional German breakfast- rolls, sweet bread, sliced cheeses and meats, and a hard boiled egg. There was cucumber, fruit, jams, nutella, fresh apple juice and orange juice, and tea. As strange as it felt at this point to eat salami with my breakfast, it would seem completely normal by the end of our trip. And the breakfast was delicious. We then took off on the Romantic Road, heading for the castles and ultimately, Garmisch-Partenkirchen where we were spending the night. We stopped off in Nordlingen, a walled city built in the Ries crater caused by a meteorite. Later we had lunch at a diner just off the road and after about 3 and a half hours of driving down, we made it to the castles. The town between the castles has a museum, some souvenir shops and a small restaurant. There is a beautiful lake, small waterfall and many hiking trails all surrounding the castle. It is easy to see why they made this their vacation home. The first castle, Hohenschwangau, was built by King Maximillion II and had a huge, beautiful courtyard. It was heavily decorated inside, with detailed paintings inspired by literature on every wall. The second castle, Neuchwanstein, was built by King Ludwig II, Maximillion’s son. It was never finished, as Ludwig died while it was still in construction. The castle is stunning and very much what you imagine a traditional castle should be. It has been featured in many movies and is the inspiration for the Disney castles. The inside was simple – mostly because it was unfinished. The kitchen was fantastic – as big as our entire apartment right now with a separate mini kitchen off to the side designated as the chef’s “planning room.” I decided I could live there once we saw this kitchen. Marcus seemed slightly concerned that this would be my new expectation while apartment hunting in Dublin.

We headed out to our hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It was almost nine by the time we parked and checked in, so we looked for something open for a late dinner. We followed the concierge’s directions to apparently a good, large restaurant open late, but found instead a tiny bar (the street signs are not very visible so I’m sure it is our fault). I felt a bit weird being there as it was filled only by old men speaking German staring confused at us when we walked in and sat down. It seemed like Marcus’s kind of spot though, so I managed to get over it. We sat and had some beers and toasties (grilled cheese with ham specifically, though we did not know what we ordered until it came out), all of which was great. A group of old men in a booth began singing traditional German songs as the night went on. They eventually sang the only English song they knew for us and chatted a bit before we went off to bed.

The next morning we realized we were not as adjusted to the time difference as we thought we were, when we got a call from the front desk asking if we were checking out since it was noon. We hurried to get ready and headed out a bit later than planned. We quickly ate breakfast/lunch and went off to our hike. Since it was a foggy day, we went to the closer and smaller mountain (we wouldn’t have been able to see anything up higher on the tall one anyway). We were hiking around a ski area that hosted the 1936 Olympic games. They still have the original ski jumps and stadium used.We started on what was supposed to be an easy hike along a river, but due to poor signage and the few signs available listing only a few German trail names that were not mentioned on our guide map at all, we ended up on a pretty intense trail going straight up the mountain. I wish I could say I took it well, but I was pretty grumpy. We did finally make it to the top, after running into a few people heading down our trail, looking at us like we were crazy and warning us of what was coming. It was sunny at the top and you could see trees as far as you looked. It really was worth it (I’m looking back on it with enough time that I can say that now). We took the chair lift down and the views were amazing the entire way down. After probably the prettiest hike we have been on, definitely the most interesting, we loaded back in the car and started the drive to Munich.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2012 by in Travel and tagged , .

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