The fam was in need of a vacay, seeing as though we hadn’t taken a big trip since our trip to Paris over Easter weekend, so off we headed to the adorable town of Garmisch, smack dab in the Alps. Unfortunately, clouds moved in with us and stayed the entire time, so we never actually got to see the top of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany/Austria. We did get some great pictures and saw some amazing things, though, despite the crappy weather.
We stayed at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, which is a military hotel set smack dab in the middle of the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border.
We heard wonderful things about it, so we decided to check it out. So glad we did! It is beautiful, homey feeling, and full of amenities for everyone to enjoy, although I would suggest bypassing the restaurants and going out in town for food. Bollywood Tandoori is some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot of Indian food!).
Our first full day was the warmest on the forecast, so we headed into town to hike The Partnach Gorge. You have to drive to the old ski jump that was used in the 1933 Olympics. On paper it sounded just fine, but boy, that thing is HUGE! I have a completely new respect for ski jumpers!
There is no way in Hades I would ever get up the nerve to willingly slide down that thing, just to jump off of it and hope to land in one piece. FO-GET THAT.
Anyway, you pass through the arena and it is another 15 minute walk to the entrance to the actual gorge. If you are outdoorsy and are visiting the Garmisch area, you must hike the gorge. It was amazing! Photographs NEVER do this stuff justice. This place was BEAUTIFUL.
Once you pass through the gorge you can hike up to the top of the mountain, or hike halfway up and then take a smaller cable car back to the bottom. We decided to do the latter because, to be honest, we were just really tired of hiking.
I have to interject here to give props to the Germans and their commitment to being physically active, even in their older age. I tried to snag a pic of this wonder woman, but it’s hard to tell. This is halfway up the mountain…and there she is, heading up with her…wait for it…walker. This woman is my 75 year old self’s hero:
Since the weather was still holding up we decided to head to Schloss Linderhof (Linderhof Palace) and walk the beautiful grounds to take some pictures. Linderhof Palace was one of three palaces built by Kind Ludwig II in the late 19th century, including Neuschwanstein (which I’ll get to in a bit). It was the only palace he actually saw to completion, and the smallest of the three.
We didn’t go inside, but the grounds alone were worth the trip. It was simply stunning.
After a full day of being on the move we came back to the hotel and hung out for a little bit before heading into beautiful Garmisch.
Garmisch is the quintessential German town. It has just enough pure culture fused with modern day shopping to be the perfect mix for a tourist town. We walked around, grabbed pizza, and Thing 1 got his first taste of ‘spaghetti ice’, vanilla ice cream pressed to make it look like spaghetti, topped with strawberry ‘tomato’ sauce, and shaved white chocolate ‘parmesan’ cheese. He loved it. And so did little man.
The second day was pretty much a wash. The weather decided to crap on us even more and we ran into hail and snow. We looked for indoor things to do and though Crystal Worlds in Innsbruck, Austria might be a good choice. Supposedly it is a huge multiple museum complex full of crystals. And it has a huge hedge in the shape of a head that has a waterfall coming out of the mouth. What isn’t cool about that?
Well, we never made it there. We drove around Innsbruck forever trying to visit THE Swaroski crystal store, but couldn’t find any parking whatsoever. After losing my patience a few times and the rain/hail/snow combination picking up, we drove the hour back to the hotel and went swimming instead.
We were afraid our last full day was also going to be ruined, but rain or not we were going to make it to Neuschwanstein! It was one of the top items on our ‘to see’ list, along with Zugspitze, which was definitely not going to happen just because there wouldn’t be good views from the top with all the clouds. Thankfully pouring rain stayed at bay, but we did have a few very small showers and even some teeny hail fall on us as we hiked up to the castle.
They say it’s about a 55 minute hike from the ticket booth to the castle, but we actually did it in about 30 minutes, with a baby and a six year old. Beautiful hike. You can also take a horse carriage about 3/4 the way up if hiking isn’t your thing.
My 6 year old thought the horse poop-scooper machine was pretty darn cool. Okay, I thought it was pretty cool too. I mean, it just drives up, a brush spins, and the poop disappears! Technology amazes me.
The castle is definitely impressive. Its dramatic presence against the breathtaking mountains is enough to make you just sit and stare for hours.
We did the English tour, which was surprisingly short! I expected a very lengthy tour with tons of rooms to travel through, but it was only about a 30 minute tour because much of the castle was not completed by the time Ludwig died. 6 weeks after his death they opened it to the public as a museum…didn’t waste any time there! Ludwig himself spent less than 6 months actually living in the castle. Apparently he sent the town into bankruptcy building it, which is completely believable when you get inside. A one-ton chandellier, beautiful colors, gold painted murals…it is the definition of extravagant. Ironically, though, Ludwig never wanted his portrait displayed anywhere in his palaces.
From this trip I did learn a few things about this particular part of Germany:
One: They like their murals.
I mean, really.
Two: They really like wood sheds out in the middle of random fields.
They were EVERYWHERE. We were trying to figure out what they were for: chopped firewood, hay, dead people…we still don’t know. Any of my Germany friend know?
Three (actually, this is about Austria, but whatever): It is very easy to slide off the road. Especially if it is steep. Especially if it has ice on it. There was one very long, winding road we drove down that actually had turn offs every few hundred yards for trucks to go down if they lost control.
That pretty much marked the end of our trip. We really wanted to make it up to the peak of Zugspitze because we’ve heard the views are priceless and there is sledding on the glacier up there in the summer, but the weather was just never in our favor. This will not be our last time, though. We want to come back in the winter and ski! You can even go through the gorge and see icicles everywhere.
So Happy Memorial Day, everyone! It was nice spending the weekend surrounded by members of our armed forces. To my father, uncle, grandfathers, husband, friends, and all who have fought or are fighting for the freedoms of all Americans…I thank you.