Since my brother was on spring break my family decided to meet up with me in Europe and do some traveling together. I met up with them over the weekend in Munich to see some of Germany. I got into Munich in the evening so I only had time to walk around the city center and see the Marienplatz the New Town Hall and some other interesting buildings. Unfortunately most of Munich was destroyed in World War II so most of the oldish buildings we saw were rebuilt afterwards but still carried an old-fashioned gothic façade.
On the next day we got an early start and visited the Bavaria statue which was a huge cast bronze statue that is a female personification of Bavaria and its strength and glory. It weighs over 80 tons and is to this day considered a technological masterpiece.
Then we left Munich to visit Neuschwanstein Castle which is about a two hour drive from Munich. We had to park our car at the bottom of the hill and hike up to the top of the hill that the castle is located on. Inside the castle we got a pretty good tour that was included in the ticket. We learned that King Ludwig of Bavaria started building the castle but passed away before it could be completed. The throne rooms and his chambers were all very elegant and had beautiful paintings and chandeliers. King Ludwig was a huge fan of Otto Wagner so most of the paintings depicted scenes from Wagner’s Operas. Sadly they don’t allow photography inside the castle so I had to make do with taking picture from the outside. Once we left the castle we wanted to go on a trail that lead to a suspension bridge with a fantastic view of Neuschwanstein but there was a gate blocking the trail. We then saw a large number of other tourists jump around the fence so we decided to just follow. There was a lot of ice on the trail which is probably why they closed it off but it wasn’t too difficult to walk it carefully/ hold on the rails for dear life. In about 10 minutes we reached the bridge which had an amazing view of the castle; making the slightly perilous trail well worth the view.
Once we left the Neuschwanstein area we decided to drive to Ulm a city about an hour away. This time I got to drive on the Autobahn. Basically most highways in Germany have no speed limit for part of the way so I had an amazing time racing the car at over 100 mph. In Ulm basically the main attraction was the tallest church in the world called the Ulm Munster.When we arrived the steeple was closed to climb but we asked the man at the desk and he said that it had 768 stairs! To put this into perspective the tower and Duomo that I climbed in Florence had around 400 stairs each. It was hard to even see the whole church without looking up.
On the third day we took off to drive to the Black Forest to do some hiking and acquire cuckoo clock for the house. Apparently all the farmers who have nothing to do during the winter would sit around and carve clocks. We stopped off in Baden Baden to and took a beautiful trail for about an hour. I was surprised by how many people seemed to come there to hike, but I guess if I lived near the Black Forest I would probably go hiking more often too. We then continued to Triberg, the town famous for the Cuckoo clocks. We were able to purchase one for about 75 euros that even stops making noises at night. In Triberg there was also the highest waterfall in Germany. So of course we had to check out the view.
On our last day we met up with one of my dad’s colleagues in Wiesbaden where we saw a beautiful church, explored the Sunday markets and ate a lot of food (as always). It was really nice to have a local guide to explain everything and show us where the locals actually go. We actually visited at the perfect time as all the markets that are only open 2 Sundays in the year were open. We were able to get a great view of what locals would spend their Sunday afternoon doing.
It was incredible to see my family after 2 months and see the beautiful German countryside as well. Now I embark on what my friends and I are call “EPIC Spring Break” where we will travel to 5 countries and not return to Milan for almost 3 weeks. I am not sure how often I will be able to update this blog but I hope to get a post up at least once a week.