I think I could write a book on train travel. We had one change this time in Munich then on to the small city of Ulm where we picked up a nice Skoda and hit the road for a 90 minute drive to our next stop, Bad Hinderlang. Imagine everything you have every seen about small Bavarian towns with rolling hills, big doe eyed heifers with cow bells and enormous udders chewing cud and lolling about. Imagine tall church spires, window boxes spilling over with the most brilliant and colourful displays of petunias and geraniums. All the gardens exploding with the most brilliant pinks, reds, blues and whites. It's like they are over compensating for the fact that for six months of the year the predominate colour surrounding them is white.
|This was our back yard|
|Oh so very pretty|
|I wonder where all the bees go for the long winter|
We are the only guests staying in a farmhouse which is a mere five minutes walk from the town centre. There is an 18 hole mini golf course at the end of the driveway and an obstacle course/ playground next to that.
|That's not a putter, this is a putter|
We have the towering Alps as our backdrop with a cable car snaking up the centre valley only a few hundred metres from our back door. We get our milk delivered to our door at 7am each morning. It's still a little warm as it was still in the cow at 6.30am. Freshly baked rolls are also left on the doorstep. We have eaten out here the last two nights and the food is unbelievable. And just as unbelievable is the fact that only 5% of the tourist population here is English speaking so practically none of the menus are in English. Thankfully the German country side folk speak a little English and are happy to translate. The first couple of days we just settled in but today we drove to Oberstdorf and then took a 2224 metre high cable car ride to the top of the famous Nebelhorn from which you can look out over 400 mountain tops and all the way into Austria and Switzerland.
|On our way to the top of Nebelhorn|
|On his way to the bottom of Nebelhorn|
|Contemplating the long drop off the top of Nebelhorn|
|Us at the top of the Nebelhorn|
4/07/13. Blessed Are The Cheesemakers, apparently. Today we decided to find out for ourselves just how blessed they are so we took off to the mountains of Hinterstein to find some of Bavaria's finest cheesemakers. The walk up the mountain side though steep is made more pleasant by the lungfuls of pure Alpine air we're all sucking in and the shade offered by the towering pines.
|Yes, it was as stunning as it looks|
It's a popular trek with walkers and bikes going up and down. One guy had a baby carriage on the back with his border collie in it. You could hear the melody of the cow bells way before you see them. The herds are all quite small here. I don't think I've seen anything over a dozen or so. The first farm we came across was charming but we thought we'd best see another before we decided on where to spend our cheese dollar. Fifteen minutes down the road we hit the jackpot. Much nicer looking place, high on a hillside, some umbrellas to keep the sun off and someone who spoke good english. Minutes later we were all tucking into meat and cheese platters, beer and softies for the boys. It was another magic moment.
|They say this is a really gouda cheese farm.|
|One happy cow|
|One happy camper|
It was a slow amble down the mountain side and a casual drive through this stunning country side. Home for a nap, I've started running again in the mornings you see, and out to another of the brilliant restaurants for a tasty pasta feed.
5/07/13 Today we were off to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Made more famous due to being the inspiration for the central Walt Disney Castle in all of his theme parks. Good King Ludwig, who some say was mad while others say he was just misunderstood, was the architect of the castle. While majestic and inspiring he only lived in his fairy tale castle for about six months. He preferred the smaller and more private Linderhof Palace that he had built a few miles down the road. Our good friends at Trip Advisor explained that the wait to buy an entry ticket into Neuschwanstein Castle could be up to three hours and once there you are herded through four rooms in fifteen minutes. The better option seemed to be to take the bus up the hill and go to Mary's Bridge where you get a magnificent view from the outside. And no waiting.
|The famous Neuschwanstein Castle|
|Living the fairytale|
|King Ludwigs folks place on the right and their pool in the top left corner|
We opted for the bus ride up the mountain and the stunning views across from Mary's Bridge, we were not disappointed. From here we followed our noses back down the mountain track to the village before heading to Linderhof Palace. It is small by palace standards and the very happy, some would say gay, King Ludwig had the whole place to himself. Apart from some government business he very rarely had company with the exception of his physician who, at the young age of forty, he was found floating dead next too in his lake. He was an odd fella who shunned the company of others, even his servants. He had a white marble dining table that was lowered from his eating chamber on the first floor to the kitchens on the ground floor so he didn't have to have contact with servants at meal times.
|The not really mad just misunderstood King Ludwigs weekender|
|Not bad hey|
|He would put on private concerts in his little grotto and get rowed around by naked cabana boys|
6/07/13 A lazy day around the farm. Some mini golf, some reading, some writing and then a huge downpour that turned the bubbling brook that ran past the farmhouse into a raging torrent. A packing day, not my favourite kind of day, as we bid farewell to milk straight from the cow and warm freshly baked rolls delivered to our doorstep and drive to Ulm for a train to Strasbourg