Bavaria Archive

Tuesday

3

February 2015

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Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Written by , Posted in Travel

One of the best ways to get a genuine feel for a country is to take a little road trip. With an idea of a final destination in mind, take the long route, stop often, chat with locals, and don’t worry about getting lost. Better yet, forget the final destination and make it your mission to get lost – just drive and figure it out as you go.

Mike and I went with this travel philosophy when we took our first trip to Scotland back in 2010 and that still remains one of our most memorable trips. We loved it so much that we went back and got married there 3 years later! Although we did have a set of planned stops for most of our time in Germany, we knew that we needed to get out and see the countryside (with a healthy dose of Autobahn mixed in of course). Our first extended road trip in Germany was a 5 hour drive from Bavaria to the Black Forest, starting on a sunny Saturday morning after our stop at the Zugspitze

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

From the moment we set out I knew it was going to be a beautiful drive. The clear blue skies above made the bright green countryside below pop and it seemed like there was a photo opportunity around every corner.

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

About halfway into our trip we drove through the bustling city of Friedrichshafen alongside Lake Constance (Bodensee). Lake Constance is the third largest lake in Central Europe and is situated in Austria and Switzerland as well as Germany. I had no idea what a busy area this was – one of the many reasons why I love road trips, you never know what you’ll find.

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

As we continued on we were met with more blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds that looked as though they had been photoshopped into the scene. I was feeling incredibly thankful that we had ended up with such a beautiful day.

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

By late afternoon we had made it to our final destination of Schönwald im Schwarzwald, a small village in the Black Forest where the first cuckoo clocks were made. Before settling in at our B&B we stopped in Triberg at the popular Triberg Waterfall to get our first taste of the Black Forest. We ended up parking above the waterfall and having to walk down quite a ways, only then realizing that there was an admission fee for the waterfall and Mike and I had both left our wallets in the car. Traveler fail. Although we didn’t see the “main attraction”, we were more than happy with our walk through the forest.

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

Lion + Maven | Road Trip Germany: Bavaria To The Black Forest

We were only in the Black Forest region for less than 24 hours (more on our delicious dinner that evening to come), but from what I saw we could’ve easily spent several days there. Not only is the Black Forest a beautiful area for nature lovers (find one of the many hiking trails in the area) and those looking to relax (spend some time in the spas of Baden-Baden), it’s THE place to go if you’re serious about food – the Black Forest region boasts highest concentration of Michelin stars in Germany. Bottom line: the Black Forest is a great spot where you’re sure to find a little something for everybody.

Wednesday

28

January 2015

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Neuschwanstein Castle

Written by , Posted in Travel

After 2 days in Rothenburg we packed up our things yet again and headed south on the Autobahn to the next stop on our trip – Neuschwanstein Castle. Deep in the heart of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle is easily one of the most recognizable castles in Europe, if not the world. Built in the mid-late 19th century for King Ludwig II, this beautiful castle looks like it was plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale. In fact, it actually served as inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The interior of the castle was only partially completed before Ludwig’s death, but the exterior and picture-perfect backdrop are more than enough to wow.

Neuschwanstein Castle

As we drove through Schwangau and into the village of Hohenschwangau (home to both Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau), it did not appear that the weather was going to cooperate with us that Thursday afternoon. The rain and grey skies above had us (mainly me) feeling a bit anxious about our visit to the castle, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

It was just after noon as we pulled into one of the parking lots and the streets of Hohenschwangau were already overflowing with tourists. Luckily we had booked tickets in advance (which I highly recommend) so our line to pick up and pay for our tickets was quick and painless. Armed with rain coats (and unfortunately not the best choice of footwear for me), Mike and I decided we would make the trek up to the castle on foot, rather than waiting in line and paying for one of the other transportation options of bus or horse-drawn carriage. Neither of these options went directly to the entrance of the castle, so there would have been some walking involved regardless of our choice.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

The walk up to the entrance of the castle took around 20 minutes at a relatively brisk pace. The path was nicely paved but it still had a bit of an incline, so it wasn’t exactly a leisurely stroll – not a bad thing for me considering all the schnitzel I had been consuming. This was also the same path that the horses used, so we had to do a bit of navigating around obstacles they had left behind, if you know what I mean. That being said, the forest around the path was beautiful and I’d definitely go for the climb again if I was able. Mike’s parents opted to buy a one-way ticket to take the bus up and then walked with us on the way down.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Once we arrived at the base of the castle we still had more climbing to do to get to the best viewpoint – Marienbrücke (Mary’s bridge). It took at least another 15 minutes of brisk walking to make it to the bridge, but at least we were able to enjoy beautiful views of the countryside along the way.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Once we had finally made it to Marienbrücke I wasn’t sure I wanted to go any farther. This narrow little bridge was suspended high above the forest and was packed with tourists – walking along the vibrating planks and peering over the side to the deep ravines below is not for the faint of heart.

The quest for the perfect photo pulled me forward and we squeezed our way across the bridge to find the crowds parted on the other side. The rain had let up soon after we started our climb and just as we found the perfect vantage point the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, throwing its warm light on the green fields below.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Lion + Maven | Neuschwanstein Castle

View of Marienbrücke from the castle

We lingered on the bridge, taking photos and enjoying the stunning views for a little while longer. It was nearing our tour time so eventually we made our way back down to the castle entrance. All tours are guided so we had to wait for our tour time to be called before entering the castle. Most of the castle remains unfinished and is not open to visitors, so our tour was relatively short and we weren’t allowed to take photos inside. At the end of the tour we were able to go out onto the balcony and steal a few more glimpses of that beautiful countryside below.

Neuschwanstein Castle

The views from above are what make this Bavarian village special; if we hadn’t had the time to tour the castle I wouldn’t have been all that disappointed. Luck was definitely on our side in terms of the weather, but all you can do is plan ahead, leave room for a bit of flexibility, and hope for the best. If you’re visiting Germany, a trip into Bavaria to see Neuschwanstein Castle is a must.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Thursday

22

January 2015

2

COMMENTS

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Part 2

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

On our second day in Rothenburg Ob der Tauber I woke up early to catch the sunrise. This is one of my favorite times to venture out in any city because the streets are always so empty and peaceful. I walked along the outer wall on the east side of the town as smoke began to rise from the chimneys, catching a glimpse of the fiery skies through the small openings along the wall.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Sunrise

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Sunrise

Eventually I made my over to the opposite side of the town to watch the sun come up and light the countryside below. So beautiful, and I had it all to myself.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Sunrise

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Sunrise

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

I made my way back to our hotel to grab a quick breakfast with the rest of the group. We spent the rest of the day shopping and exploring, with a beer and wine break in between. We found a great restaurant near our hotel that had a rooftop patio, the perfect spot to soak up the sun and blue skies above. Before dinner we stopped into Zur Höll – literally ‘to hell’ – for a drink on the recommendation of the Night Watchman. This cozy little bar/restaurant is in one of the oldest houses in Rothenburg and the food looked delicious – the space is small so I would definitely recommend a reservation.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Zur Holl

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Zur Holl

For dinner on our final night in Rothenburg we had reservations at Cafe Michelangelo, an Italian restaurant about a 5-10 minute walk from the Market Square. The interior was very modern, definitely a change from the rustic style we’d become accustomed to seeing on our trip. All the food here was great, but I’d recommend skipping the pizza and going for the pasta, especially the Rigatoni al Forno – straight from the oven and filled with a whole lot of gooey, delicious cheese. They also have an entire menu page devoted to black truffles, and who doesn’t love a taste of those delicious fungi?! I’m pretty sure I could’ve eaten schnitzel and spätzle every day of our trip, but a taste of Italian was the perfect change of pace.

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Cafe Michelangelo, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg was easily the cutest town we visited on our trip and also the best place to pick up a few beautiful German mementos.  The drive from Munich is under 3 hours, so it is definitely doable as a day trip, but I enjoyed being there at night and in the early morning before all the tourist buses rolled into town. If you’re visiting Germany I highly recommend planning a stop in Rothenburg, this is a medieval gem you don’t want to miss.

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