Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A gorge, a castle, and a quick weekend in Germany!

     In August Stephen and I traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany with our friends to stay at the military lodge for a weekend.  The drive through Austria took us by the town of Innsbruck where Stephen and I went for the Christmas market in December.  We drove up on Thursday and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the hotel.  It was a very nice building with three restaurants, a pool, an arcade, and plenty more to do.

     On Friday morning Stephen and I woke up early to bike up to the Partnach Gorge which was about a 30-minute ride, but we stopped along the way to see the Olympic ski jump.  It was pretty weird because this jump sits upon a mountain just above fields with hay houses, and while we were there, lots of families were working as if there was no Olympic jumps near them.  You can see the jump in the picture below, to the right of the covered bridge.

     We biked between two mountains and easily found the gorge since so many people seemed so attracted to it.  The gorge was beautiful--it was a mountain split in two with a picturesque, crystal-clear river rushing through it.  The water comes from a glacier and the water looked so refrshing we just wanted to take a dip--but it was freezing.

     Everyone was jealous of our great ride--tandem biking all the way!

     The bike ride went through the fields outside of Garmisch, but this scene was not unique to Germany.  It seemed as though everywhere we drove there were miles of fields littered with hay houses.

     On Friday evening, we all went into the town of Garmisch for some shopping and an appetizer before having dinner at a brewery.  We stopped at a chocolaterie where everything smelled amazing, so we brought home a box of mixed chocolates.  Can't wait to eat those!  That night we had a tour of the Griesbrau brewery in Murnau where they brew and sell their own beer on the premises (but they don't ship or sell it anywhere else!).  You can see Woflgang, our guide describing the processes below.  He is wearing his lederhosen, too, which is the traditional Bavarian dress for men.  Of course, this is no longer common, but we did see some Germans proudly wearing theirs!

          Saturday was an early morning.

     The resort organizes trips and we chose to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle after hearing so much about it.   About six families boarded our gigantic tour bus Saturday morning at 8:00am.  The first stop on our trip was at a woodworking shop where we bought a smoker, the thing you see below.  It is a little wooden man whose upper body can be removed so that you can put in burning incense.  The smoke exits through is mouth, so it looks like he is smoking!  We loved it and thought it would be a great addition to our quickly-expanding box of Christmas decorations.

     Our second stop was at Wieskirche church, or church in the meadows.  The name is quite accurate, too, because this church is in the middle of nowhere.  The story of the church is very interesting and you can read about it here, but the church is built for the purpose of housing a once-abandoned statue of Jesus that is believed to have literally cried tears.  Across from the church we had a delicious donut and coffees before heading to the castle.

     At 1:00 we began our tour at the Neuschwanstein Castle, the palace which inspired Walt Disney for his castle, and while we could not take pictures inside, the outside was just as beautiful.

     This trip took all of our Saturday, and we left the next morning (after a hearty breakfast, of course).  If you are still interested about the gorge we visited, check out my video below!