Munich to Innsbruck

Monday 24th September, 2007
Tuesday 25th September, 2007

Monday 24th September, 2007

from Neuschwanstein photograph

The Wonderful View from Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

Drop Cap oday was magical. The weather continued fine, warm and sunny, and as clear as a bell. We left Munich in rush hour, taking half an hour to exit and head back the way we came as far as Landsberg. Then we turned off into the lovely Bavarian Alps, up the Romantik Road to Neuschwanstein.

As we went, Elmar, our leader, kept encouraging us with talk of mountaineering and the necessity to walk down from the crag the castle sits on. I was getting panicky and almost decided not to go up. This would have been disastrous since the castle is one of the things which brought us here.

But I decided to do it if it killed me!

Neuschwanstein Castle? photograph

Neuschwanstein Castle from the Maria Bridge, Bavaria

Drop Cap e went up in a minibus, which took us past the castle and up to the Maria bridge above the castle which gave a superb view of the castle and a gorge with a waterfall.

We walked down the steep path to the castle and waited for our tour number to come up. The castle is five stories high and we climbed spiral stairs in the towers to get to the rooms which had actually been finished. Apparently, Ludwig II only lived there for 100 days before he was deposed by his own government and died in mysterious circumstances two days later.

The rooms are very ornate, each floor being a tribute to a Wagner opera, Siegfried, Parsifal, Lohengrin and Tristan and Isolde. Fantastic murals and an artificial grotto, or cave on the third floor!

Hohenschwangau photograph

Hohenschwangau Castle Countryside, Bavaria

Drop Cap fter walking down the five stories from the top we discussed options for getting back to the bus. Walking was the decision, with the option of taking a horse-drawn carriage down part of the way. We were enjoying the walk, so when we reached the horse depot we decided after all to continue walking.

Hohenschwangau Castle photograph

King Ludwig's Birthplace, Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria

Drop Cap t was quite a gentle slope and not too taxing, about thirty five minutes. I was feeling very pleased with myself for all the climbing and walking. Either the glucosamine I am taking is kicking in or the exercise is lubricating the joint. Whatever, I feel much better than I did in Tasmania last year.

Or perhaps, the magnificent scenery all around distracted me from my aches and pains. The castle of Hohenschwangau and its site is one of the sights of Europe for me.

Veikirche photograph

Rococo Interior of Veikirche, Bavaria

Drop Cap fter lunch we set off again. On the way to Oberammagau we had a short stop to visit the Veikirche, a high Baroque church in the middle of some fields, quite unexpected, built as the result of a "miracle" in the mid 1700s. Although the exterior is quite austere and elegant, the interior is a riot of rococo decoration, completely over the top, but interesting to see.

Oberammagau shop photograph

Painted Shop in Oberammagau, Bavaria

Drop Cap berammagau is a cute little town, full of chalets overflowing with flower boxes and whitewashed buildings covered in paintings, mostly souvenir and wood carving shops. We went into one and bought a small box with an edelweiss carved on the lid.

Drop Cap he Hotel Alte Post is ancient but has all the mod cons. Being five hundred years old it is quite a contrast to the Arabella Sheraton Grand in Munich. We even have a triptych ikon on the wall. We have dinner included here tonight, so that will help the finances although we feel that euro prices are not as exorbitant as London and Scandinavia.

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Tuesday 25th September, 2007

Drop Cap ut of Oberammagau this morning and on to Innsbruck.. This is not very far, really and, although it was mizzling with rain after our lovely weather recently, we arrived in Innsbruck about 10:00.

We stopped at the foot of the ski-jump laid out for the Winter Olympics of 1964 and visited the Baroque Wiltern Basilica, larger and even more OTT than yesterday's Bavarian version. Sometimes I wish I was more religiously inclined! Or do I mean spiritually?

Golden Innsbruck photograph

Building with the Golden Roof, Innsbruck, Austria

Drop Cap nyway, we went on another ten minutes or so and were dropped in the Old Town near the building with the famous Golden Roof, for five hundred years the landmark of Innsbruck. It was constructed of gilded copper tiles to celebrate the second marriage of Emperor Maximilian to a Sforza princess. Like all very famous sites, it seemed smaller than expected.

Street signs photograph

Medieval Street Signs in Old Innsbruck, Austria

Drop Cap owever, the Old Town was fascinating, with painted walls and narrow alleys and lovely gilded shop signs hanging over the street. Even McDonald's has the golden arches in a similar style.

Drop Cap e visited the Swarovski factory shop (the crystal firm has its headquarters and a museum at its factory a little way out of Innsbruck) and saw their "winter wonderland" exhibition, then wandered through the showroom. I bought a crystal keyring (10 euros) for Anne and was given a free gift of a tiny crystal stud on a badge style setting.

Drop Cap offee and pastries at a bakery and we met Elmar again just before 1300. He took us to our hotel, the Hilton, very nice, then I took some aspirin and collapsed.

Drop Cap buffet dinner included at the hotel this evening was alright. I am never a fan of buffets really. I prefer service, princess that I am!

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