Bayern

The Flixbus to München was supposed to take 7 hours…the air conditioning was broken.

The side windows don’t open. The sky-windows don’t open. It was so brutal. We made regular stops to breath. This was extra-slow going given the traffic. At one of the stops we got to enjoy a beer and chat with a very nice Swedish couple. We stayed at this stop for some time, but fortunately it was worth the wait. The air conditioning was repaired and the rest of the 12 hour trip was slept off.

I can’t believe how many wind farms there are in Germany. There are even a substantial number of solar farms even though I’m pretty sure the sun never shines in the whole country. The beautiful green fields feel endless. Around every corner there’s another. And the same goes for the wind farms.

After an unintentional stay in a hotel due to our delays, we walked around Munich a bit and then hit the road in our fancy Audi. Thank you so much for teaching me stick John! May the clutch be with you.

The first stop was a small town called Freising. Very cute town. It was very enjoyable to walk around the cobblestone backstreets.

On the road! We maxed out on the autobahn at 203 km/hr. 8)  Visited the town of Oberammergau, grabbed dinner and ice cream and then drove out into the woods for some car camping.

The next morning we just started driving, without much of a plan. The objective was to find a small town that wasn’t touristy and where the people didn’t speak such damn good english.

The first stop was Schloss Linderhof. *please ignore the crane* There’s been a lot of stuff under construction on this trip. Especially in Bayern. This palace is the smallest of the three built by King Ludwig II, the swan king. Apparently this guy obsessed over this architecture and went to excessive means in order to finance them. Short aside: it’s been really funny learning german and then coming back to words that you know so well. The germans are well known for building complex words out of many small ones. For example: lederhosen is literally: leather pants. Okay, returned from the detour, sort of. Schloss Neuschwanstein is the massive castle, known for inspiring the Disney castle. Neuschwanstein translates to new-swan-stone, and you guessed it, the swan king wasn’t satisfied with his current palace and said, “I want a new swan castle!”

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The roads in southern Bavaria are terrifying. They’re as windy and unpredictable as the roads of Bolton, but there’s no shoulder, the lanes are so narrow a large truck wouldn’t even fit in one, and the cars are all flying by. No 200 km/hr driving here, thank you very much.

We came by the Plansee as we continued driving. The colors are absolutely stunning. So much of Bavaria reminds me of the Cascades. The water has the similar vibrant blue from the limestone particles.

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don’t mind my shaky hand

Got to Schloss Neuschwanstein (castle Neu…) aaaaand holy tourist town! It’s so busy. We looked into getting an inside tour of the castle, but we would have had to wait 3 hours! We instead decided to take an inside tour of Schloss Hohenschwangau, the smaller palace closer to the lake. Remember how I was saying Ludwig II wanted a new castle? Well Hohenschwangau apparently wasn’t good enough. We opted for the german tour for shits and giggles. I understood that:

  1. Ludwig II wanted a new castle and planned from <said window> on where it would be located.
  2. This room is red, blue and gold.
  3. This is …something… and it’s in every room.
  4. This is the oldest bread in the world.
  5. Somebody died and the family was surprised, and sad.

Nailed it!

We hiked up to Neuschwanstein after the tour, tripping over tourists the whole way. I had been here back on the school trip 9 years ago and it was funny noting all the things that I remembers. They’re still selling the same trinkets 9 years later. We opted to jog on the way down just to make it end sooner.

On the way out we stopped by a cheese house. That was easily the highlight of the Neuschwanstein experience. My advice, skip the castle. Go straight to the cheese. And speck (fancy aged bacon). It’s so damn good.

We still hadn’t completed our task of finding a non-touristy little town. We picked an arbitrary town that looked good and started driving. Along the way we made a there-and-then decision to stop at a small “town” we were driving by. It was more like a collection of 5-6 houses. There was a biker in “town” and he was so confused that we were even there that he stopped and asked what we were looking for. We got our deutsch on and found out that there was a festival going on in the small nearby town of Peiting. The man was very nice, and even offered that we could stay at his place if we needed a place to stay.

Navigation updated, we got back on the road but not for long. Peiting was nice but it didn’t feel like much was going on, that is, until we found the fest. I think the first good sign was that no one was speaking english. Every live show that we had seen thus far, the band addressed the audience in english. Tables were packed into a main square, surrounded by vendors. You pay an extra two-euro deposit with your beer because, of course, disposable plastic cups is simply not the german way; you bring your glass stein back when finished!

Lesson of the day: if you don’t want sprite in your beer, don’t order a Radler.

We sat down at a table with some young locals. A few of them studied in Munich and returned to Peiting on the weekends to see friends and family, and participate in a local soccer league. After chatting for a bit my ears perked up when I heard that Veronika had plans for climbing the next day. 😀 She hosted us at her parents house in Peiting, for which we cannot thank her family enough! There was no shortage of deutsch to be spoken or food to be eaten. Breakfast felt like a feast, with eggs, meats and cheeses, jams, nutella, and Brötchens (small breads).

We then hit the road to go climbing with Veronika, her boyfriend Christoph and brother Jojo. The climbing was a bit wet and low angle, but Jojo and I got a really fun slabby 5.11 that starts off with an awesome mono. Whoop whoop! Everyone still had energy but there wasn’t much dry rock left to work with, so we opted for plan B: hiking. We did a nice reasonably short hike that, as any hike in the alps should, ended at a hut. Inside we enjoyed beers and german food. Eimi got the goulash and I opted for the speck pasta, which was almost like a stew, with vegetables and a dark sauce. The Bavarian band was the cherry on top.

Headed back to Munich that night because unfortunately, the time had come for Eimi to depart.

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