Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our much anticipated vacation

Before reading any more of this post, I have to warn you...its long. I'll try not to babble on to make it much longer, but I have downloaded allot of pictures. Mostly this is for my mom who really enjoys the pictures and wants to see as much of Germany as possible. I also hope Deborah Pulley enjoys them-(she also enjoys the pictures from our travels), but this time it may be a little excessive. If you are in a rush you probably should come back later, otherwise frustration will soon come as this posting seems never ending!

Paul and I have been looking forward to this vacation for some time but it was definitely worth the wait. We started our Bavarian vacation by seeing some castles. As we drove south the scenery was breathtaking. The Alps were mirrored with pristine lakes and quaint little towns. Almost all of the houses were beautifully decorated with flowers and murals. In my opinion, Germany has never looked more charming.

The famous Neuschwanstein Castle (the one Disney based his most famous castle after-I don't remember if it was the sleeping beauty or Cinderella Castle).

Hohenschwangau Castle

Looking at Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein.

We stayed at a great resort in Garmisch that served as our hub for all of our travels. While staying there Tristan did what he loves to do most-look out the windows. Funny as it seems, he always seems to gravitate toward natural light.

This is a beautiful Kloister(or monastery) located in Ettal-a quaint little town just at the feet of the Alps. Paul and I spent the nicest afternoon here as we did a little shopping, and best of all stopped at a cheese shop where all of the products were made in house. We enjoyed some freshly made yogurt and a cheesecake that was made with milk from the nearby cows (as they grazed you could hear their bells ringing).

These gardens were from the Linderhof Palace.

Linderhof really was amazing. The gardens were some of the most beautiful we've ever seen and it was such a nice place to have an outdoor lunch-which we did!

This picture was taken by Paul (I usually monopolize the camera) of the area outside of the Linderhof Palace.

These pictures were taken in Oberamergau. We spent an evening just walking around town and enjoying the scenery-as well as some fabulous gelato. We generally have little to no self restraint when it comes to gelato-it's become a must when traveling. In the above picture you'll have to take note of Paul entertaining Tristan as I continued to take pictures of the town (it's known for its buildings adorned with numerous murals and paintings). You might have to blow the picture up to see the expression on Tristans face.

One of the best parts of this trip was the beautiful flowers! I have never seen more flowers in my life. The Germans had flower boxes everywhere, and the flowers seemed to just spill out of them-they really were gorgeous.

I have no idea what this says, but had to take a picture. If you know what it says please let me know!

For Paul's birthday (which was right in the middle of our trip) we decided to go to the top of Zugspitz-Germany's tallest mountain. It really was an adventure as first we went by train and when we couldn't go any further we went up by a gondola. Once we got to the top we were on top of the clouds and could see over the German alps as well as over into Austria and Italy. It was truly remarkable to be that high. We ended out time up there by having some Brots and sauerkraut-my favorite!

Here's the gondola we took down the mountain.

This is Eibsee, the lake that could be seen from atop the mountain. After our decent, we checked it out and fed the ducks.

After the lake we went to the nearby town of Mittenwald.

Shame on us...I know you're not supposed to feed babies table food until 9 months but I couldn't resist giving him the tiniest taste of gelato. So he's 2 months off (don't worry this is our first and only offense), but I couldn't resist. After giving him a taste, I realized that its wrong to feed him ice cream not only for dietary reasons, but also because he would scream for it (like it was crack-cocaine) soon after. He acted like a little addict after having it-my mistake!

After coming back from Mittenwald we explord some caves that run alongside a spectacular gorge in Garmisch. The hike was so nice and reminded me very much of Watkins Glen in NY.

Check out Tristans Face in this picture.

The next day we spent in Salzburg, Austria. Here are the Mirabel gardens, which were really so beautiful. These were the same gardens filmed in the Sound of Music (call me a nerd but it made me excited to see things that I recognized from the movie-I was from a family that watched the Sound of Music at least once a year).

Who remembers these guys from the movie?

This street (above and below) was the coolest little avenue with metal shop signs above every business (they originate to a time when the public weren't literate). You'll have to blow up the picture below to see just what I mean.

Here's the birthplace of Motzart.

This cemetary reminded me of ...what else but The Sound of Music (when they hid at the end).

This view of the Salzburg castle was what you saw looking out of the front of the palacial home used for the Von Trapp house. Since the home is privately owned I couldn't get in, but Paul was nice enough to drive me around (and around) to get to the front gate.

Here's the front gate of their home.

The next day we went to the Dachau Concentration Camp-or what used to be. The only picture I posted was this one. This was the gate that the prisoners entered by, with the mocking frase that says something like "work will set you free". The experience was enlightening and very sobering. Unfortunately we planned this on our fifth and last day of our vacation-a big mistake. For future travelers I recommend ending on a happier note.

Because I REFUSED to end on a sad note (Paul didn't think Dachau was as sad as I did-because in the end we came in and liberated them, but I definately was in need of a pick-me-up afterward) we traveled home on the "Romantic Road" and stopped to see Dinkelsbuhl on the way home (both on the must see list according to Rick Steves).

This scene was great! I'm sure this man was just coming from the local schwimmbad (swimming pool), but I couldn't help but smirk. Once again he demonstrates the difference between the german and american male bathing suit!

Check out this "little house" (that's exactly what it says). Keep in mind how short Paul is and then look at the doorway, as well as the width of the house.

Those last pictures of Dinklesbuhl were mediocre at best, but believe me when I say that it's definately worth the stop if you're in this neck of the woods. But...Rick Steves reputation did go down the toilet because of the "Romantic Road" recommendation (and believe me, after a depressing afternoon at Dachau and then a very unimpressive trip down the Rom. Road I was not happy about that!). So if you are contemplating driving the romantic road (at least between Dachau and Dinklesbuhl) don't bother-just go on the autobahn. One last remark on that vein...well it won't even be a remark, it'll be a "Paul-ism" that took place on that not so romantic road. "What's worse than driving behind a semi on a one lane road? Driving behind a semi, that's driving behind a tractor!"
I hope you enjoyed the pictures, until next time Auf wiedersehen!


Amy said...

I love the pictures too. You are having so many great adventures.

Stephanie said...

Wow! I'm jealous!

Doulabug said...

Beautiful, lovely, fantastic pictures!! Thank you for taking the time to post them. You guys are great!

Annette said...


Kevin says the words on the picture of the baby say: "Still Tired?" "Here's a really good coffee!"

Deborah said...

I wish you could hear my moans as each new picture popped up! The pictures are fabulous and I am going to make my entire family look at them tonight. It is so exciting to see some of the places I have been to as well, and I am eager to see the places I haven't been to before.
A little gelato never did anyone any harm. Start him out early, I say.

Leslie said...

Great post! Love Bavaria! You have now added to my "to do" list for when we go back for our next visit, oh ya baby, we're going back!

Krista said...

Wonderful pictures! It is sad that I have have seen so many castles and lovely Bavarian buildings that I don't get as stunned as I used to, but your pictures remind me how many lovely things we have here in Germany to see. I am glad you are making the most of your time in Europe and traveling--even with a small child.

Smith Family said...

It's fun to see that we went to many of the same sites but captured them so differently. I loved your pictures, especially the swim suit man. :-)

Angela said...

Great photos! Loved the lesson learned (the gelato!) and the swim pic! heehee

Sara said...

I love that you guys are going to so many cool places while your living in Europe! The pictures are beautiful and I'm totally envious! My husband, Chad, isn't a huge fan of traveling, so I'll just live vicariously through you!