Σάββατο, 2 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Fairytale on the Bavarian alps

Hi there my friends and happy new year!

What a better way to start 2016 in a positive mood then make a blog post for my recent trip from 5 to 9 December December in the Bavarian Alps!
Germany's most picturesque corner lies two hours south of Munich, a timeless land of fairy-tale castles, painted buildings shared by cows and farmers, and locals who still yodel when they're happy. Out trip included lots amazing food and beers, lots of driving in picturesque roads, gluhwein and Christmas atmosphere everywhere. It reminded me again that the best way to invest your money in life is on good memories. We spend 5 full days away from everyday problems with only concern "where to go next".
Day 1
Arrive in Munich airport, picked up out rented car and off to Oberammergau! After 1:30 of driving we found our lovely villa assih that was going to host us for the coming days. The house was an amazing find in the area. 112 sq. meters of a newly renovated and spotlessly clean typical Bavarian house only a few minutes’ walk to the town center. It consists of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, big dining/living room area, kitchen and your own private parking space. Priced 100 euro per night you would call this a bargain.

We had lunch at the maximilian hotel in Oberammergau and it was probably the best meal during our whole stay. All dishes were delicious and their own Christmas holiday beer one of the best beers I ever tried.

Later in the evening we visited Garmisch for the first gluhwein of the day in one of the Christmas markets of this beautiful town. The city was decorated with Christmas lights with a festive mood in the air, it was so nice to walk on the pedestrian roads and look at happy people everywhere.

We also visited the nearby city of panterkirchen looking for a suggested restaurant ,but unfortunately it was closed that night, so we drove back to Garmisch and had dinner in a trip advisor high rated restaurant called wolpentinger. If you are looking for huge portions and cozy decoration this is your place, if the factor of taste is a matter for you then the problems start. I wanted so much to write a good review due to the amazing service we had from the lovely Greek waitress but the restaurant didn’t help at all. 

The mix platter had average taste and the meat was like it was frozen and defrosted 5 minutes ago. Schnitzel and the sausages were ok but overall it failed to deliver what we expected.
We returned back to our house for a glass of wine and some cheese to relax after a full first day.
Day 2
I still can’t explain what makes the sleep in Germany so good. I woke up really fresh and opened our balcony to see the amazing view of the nearby mountains. What a glorious way to start a day!

After a short drive we crossed the borders with Austria and saw the sign to the magical resort of Seefeld. We had a quick sightseeing in the lovely pedestrian roads, coffee, kaiserschmarrn and off to the other famous resort in Austria named Kitzbuhel! 

The route there was very scenic which made driving a real joy. On our way there we saw the take off of an air balloon in a green meadow.
 I wish I didn’t have such big fear of heights and make it one day on one of them. Kitzbuhel is a small medieval town with lots of “high class” visitors each year. It was amazing to walk in its cobblestone roads and see the colorful buildings.  I still remember the day we had tried to reach it again back in 2009 but a snowstorm made us return back to Zell am see. The plan was to have lunch there but unfortunately it was a time all restaurants are closing their kitchen for noon so we decided to drive back to Innsbruck and eat there.

This was certainly not a good day to visit Innsbruck as the whole city was packed with people waiting to celebrate Saint Nicklaus day. It was impossible even to get near the golden roof through the pedestrian road. We were hungry and tired and all restaurants were full of people so after a short visit we decided to return to Germany and visit the, way more relaxed, village of Mittenwald for dinner.
We found a quite restaurant with only few locals inside wearing traditional clothes, hats, discussing and drinking beer. This was the best dinner we could imagine after a full day of travelling and sightseeing.The onnion soup warmed my body and my soul.
Day 3
This was the most adventurous day of the trip. We started by visiting the nearby Alpine coaster but unfortunately it was closed for winter. The surrounding view of Oberammergau though made the visit worth. We had a few pictures and moved directly to the Zugspitze!
So that is what it feels like to have Germany at your feet: At precisely 2,962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is the highest mountain in the country and home to three glaciers and Germany’s highest ski resort. The Zugspitze is also an attractive destination for non-skiers like us: Right at the top, an impressive 360° panorama opens up to reveal extensive views over 400 mountain peaks in four countries. The Zugspitze-Exhibition enhances visitors’ awareness of the historical developments of Germany’s most famous mountain. Two toboggan runs, Germany’s highest church, an igloo village and excellent mountain restaurants are reason enough for smiling faces. We had a cappuccino on top of Germany overlooking the glacier which was divine. Note that we used the Cable car to climb the 2000m required with breathtaking views of lake eibsee and the surrounding mountains which was a  challenge for me since, as i mentioned before, i have huge fear for heights. It was highly important that the weather so was really clean that day and we had the chance to see as far as our eyes could reach.

On our way back from Zugspitze we saw a little village called Grainau that was hidden from the sun all day due to the surrounding mountains. The snow that had fallen few days ago was still there so decided to drive through it and have lunch as it was our only chance to see snow covered landscapes. We found a really cozy bistro to add some more calories to the whole trip. I really can’t describe enough how much I love those little non touristic restaurants in the middle of nowhere. 

On our way back we stopped again at Garmsich for some needed shopping therapy and see the city at daylight. 

At night we finally visited the city our house was located, Oberammergau. The town is famous for its production of a passion play, the murals on most of its buildings, its woodcarvers, and the Nato school. We were tired from driving, so thoroughly enjoyed the day strolling through Oberammergau and exploring the various alleys and side streets.

Day 4
The plan for today was to visit Schongau and do the last 33km on the Romantic road of Germany. Unfortunately the choice of schongau was not really successful as the city is in an industrial area and despite the fortified walls that surrounded  the old town it was kind of deserted. We even had troubles to find a place drink coffee. We didn’t really care though as the most exciting part of the trip was about to begin.

Romantic Road expresses what many guests from home and abroad feel on seeing medieval towns or the fairy-tale castle at Neuschwanstein: fascination and the sense of being transported back in time. The landscape changes from river valleys, fertile agricultural land, forests and meadows to dramatic mountain scenery as you approach the Fairytale castle. Ludwig was just 19 when he became king of Bavaria in 1864. Rather than live with the frustrations of a modern constitution and a feisty parliament reining him in, he spent his years lost in Romantic literature and operas. From his bedroom in Hohenschwangau, Ludwig trained a telescope on a ridge to keep an eye on Neuschwanstein as it was being constructed. With towering turrets in a striking setting, these castles are a huge hit with sightseers. Every tour bus in Bavaria converges on Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, while tourists flush in each morning by train from Munich, two hours away. Like the wave of a magic wand, a handy reservation system with set admission times sorts out the chaos for smart travelers. Be sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid the huge waiting lines!

Our day included visit to the castles, Capuccino in nearby Füssen, a town that’s a mix of real-world and cutesy-cobbled, plus an amazing lunch on the foothills of the mad kings castle.

Day 5
All good things come to end and for us this was a day we had to wake up early, pack and drive back to Munich. Travel is the perfect catalyst for happiness, as it has allowed me to experience the natural, cultural and man-made wonders of the world. Being in foreign lands, it also continuously forces me to step out of my comfort zone - a great confidence-builder. In my book, travel is the best school there is: I've learned so much about the world and, most importantly, about myself.

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