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DAVID & MAREN Around the World!  

To Germany!

NOTE: Clicking the Google Earth icon below will download the Google Earth placemark file of the place or GPS track.

Thursday, June 8th, 2006 - Another beautiful day, but Maren and her parents are still in a fight. I say to heck with it and decide to rent a car for the journey north. I don't want to be stuck in the same car as three warring family members! Anyway, we rode into Fussen and on the way went on the mountain slide again. This time we were the first people in line and just flew down the mountain!!! Had an awesome backcountry ride to the Schwannsee (Swan Lake) where Maren grabbed a great shot of a swan, on swan lake in front of Neuschwanstien Castle (Neuschwanstien translates basically to New Swan House) so the shot has three swans in it instead of one :-) After exploring the town a bit more we rode back and Maren told her parents we were not going with them up to North Germany in their car but had rented our own. After a talk, things are back to normal. Finally!! We will be on the road for the next five days (June 9th to 14th) beginning bright and early tomorrow morning when we get up early to catch the train to Munich (coincidentally it is the first day of the World Cup Soccer playoffs kicking off in Munich tomorrow!) where we pick up the rental car at the airport, then drive north to Braunschweig and then to Varel, Maren's home townish. Saturday or Sunday we are in Bremen visiting friends, then back to Braunschwieg and surrounding area, and finally to the airport in Frankfurt on Wednesday the 14th for the flight home. More later!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 - What a nice day! We started early with the rental bikes, rode to the Teglebergbahn where they have a gondola up to the top of the mountain and we spent a beautiful 4 hours wandering our way down to the bottom, coming off the mountain right at Neuschwanstien castle! Way too many pictures of the castle, but oh well :-) Then we hiked back to the bikes, jumped on the sommerrodenbahn (the Alps version of a roller coaster where you ride a one person wheeled sled down a stainless steel track down the mountainside), rode into Fussen for some milchcafe (coffee) and on the ride home watched some of the many paragliders who leap off the mountains here land in a field near our place. We ended the night by going to watch Ludwig2 a fantastic musical stage interpretation of the life of King Ludwig (the king who built Neuschwanstien Castle)

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 - Anniversary Day - What an anniversary! Maren got in a huge fight with her parents. It pretty much set the tone for the day, even though we tried to make the best of it. The weather was, once again, a stinker. Rented bikes for the small bit of sunshine and went for a ride to do some grocery shopping. The highlight was our anniversary dinner at a restaurant in town. It was THE MOST DELICIOUS dinner ever!!! Every bite of the Pfeffersauce just made me melt in pleasure!!

Monday, June 5th, 2006- Driving day to explore to the East. Once again the weather didn't cooperate as we piled in the car to explore some of the sights near where we are staying. The first stop was the Schloss Linderhoff (summer home of King Ludwig), Kloster Ettal (dating back to the early 1600's), Garmish-Partinkirchen (the Aspen of the Alps, sort of) and the Zugespitze (highest mountain in Germany). Took way too many pictures! Dieter took a lot of good shots too!

Sunday, June 4th, 2006 - Nothing. Woke up this morning to another cold, grey rain after going to sleep thinking we would finally be able to go bike riding to the castles. It was just too much for me. I got pissed, crawled under the covers and didn't do anything all day except eat chocolate and sleep. The weather here sucks a big one!

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 - Munich

Woke up early this morning to catch the 'bus' to Fussen. The bus was actually a taxi since the bus service over here provides a taxi during certain hours if the busses are not running yet. Hopped on the train in Fussen and rode about 1 1/2 hours into the city where we met up with Gisella's sister and brother and friends. While they drank a LOT of beer Maren and I wandered around Munich. There was definately a party atmosphere since this was the first day of a three day weekend here, plus, Munich plays host to the World Cup Soccer tournament beginning next weekend. So many people!
Took the subway back to the Bahnhof and then home by 7PM. Maren and her parents looked at old pictures for quite a while. At least the weather has finally improved a bit!

Friday, June 2nd 2006 - Alpine Hike day...

We slept late, waking up at 9:30 or so and headed out for a walk. We stopped at a restaurant in the next town, mostly to visit the restroom (there are few public restrooms here, none in gas stations or stores) but Maren got some nice cheese noodle thing while I had coffee. Then it was off for a serious 6 hour hike up the mountains. We followed a trail that ran along the front of the hills that overlook the valley, made it around the back and into cool alpine territory. The rain started to fall again and it turned into snow as we hiked up and up. It was getting late as we finally began heading down into the river valley, a pretty walk. We picked up some dry clothes at the apartment then went over to Maren's parent's to launder the clothes that had gotten so wet and muddy on the hike. All in all a healthy trek!

Thursday, June 1st, 2006 - Dang the weather is crummy here! Snow again today and rain all day. It didn't stop us though. We woke up, took the bus to Fussen and picked up an all Bavaria train pass for the day 27€ for both of us all day. We were headed to Lindau, a scenic, historic town on the shore of the Bodensee, but on the way there we got a little side tracked since we missed our connection in a town called Kaufbeauren. It turned out to be good luck though because we took advantage of the time to explore the town and it was beautiful!!! We saw some buildings dating back to the 1600's. In talking to a guy who lived there he told us that the town didn't get a single bomb in WWII because the town is nestled in a valley and on the day that the Allied bombers were to hit the munitions plant there it was foggy in the valley, so they flew over and never saw the town. In 1992 some documents were found which verified the story. Anyway, we rode to Lindau after that but the rain was incessant so I never even took a single picture. We took the train back, getting to Fussen at about 9PM where Maren's parents picked us up. Maren is doing laundry while I scribble this short journal.

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 PM - The weather finally cleared up a little and we actually got some alpine hiking in! It took us an hour to get to the top of the Buchenberg for some beautiful views! The snow-capped hill was a little treacherous getting down, and at the bottom we enjoyed some Gluwein (hot spiced wine) and good company.

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 AM - Woke up at about 7:30, had some coffee and headed over to the folk's house with fresh rolls from the Bakery down the street. Had a light breakfast then hopped in the car for a quick tour of Ruete, the Austrian town just across the border. Not much of a town, but pleasant. Then our drive took us to the Weisensee (big lake) where we finally saw some sunshine! Took a short walk, but Maren was hungry so we piled back into the car and headed home where we were greeted with snow falling again!

Tuesday evening, May 30th, 2006 - Maren finally woke up and together we watched the snow fall thicker and thicker. We finally (about 10AM) got out of the apartment and headed over to her parents. We stayed there for a short while, they gave us gloves, and then we continued our walk through Bayernniederhofen (the small town they live in) to a Bakerie up on the hill. The town is pretty, but small and I got some more shots of the architecture.

After the Bakerie we were going to catch the bus into Fussen, but got so cold waiting that we decided to head over to her parent's again. I checked the headlines and email, then off we went to try to catch the bus again. We must have just missed it so it was back to the apartment for a quick lunch of bread and cheese.

After lunch we finally caught the bus into town. The fare was 5.80€ which is more than I had expected since it is only about 5 miles to the town. As it was cold with rain/snow mixed I didn't take the camera, for fear it would get ruined.

What a mistake! Fussen was gorgeous! Even with the snow and rain the classic Bavarian charm of this popular tourist destination showed through! I kept kicking myself as we wandered through the downtown of narrow cobblestone streets, the castle that sat atop the hill with its large park like garden right behind. Some of the structures just reeked of a deep history! We will go back there with a camera soon!

Today was supposed to be the worst weather-wise with warm sunshine expected by Saturday. The cold keeps reminding me why I moved to Florida! After a day of it I have had enough. To have to live through months of it would seriously bite!

Anyway, at about 5PM we were just waiting for the bus to take us back to Buching where our apartment is when the cell phone rang. It was Maren's parents who said they were on their way into town and would be happy to give us a ride back. We said OK, waited a bit longer and then they showed up, we drove to the Famila store, a sprawling Wal-Mart-like store with pretty much anything you could ask for, picked up a few things for meals and then drove back to our apartment. We had a light snack and then took our naps. Woke up at about 9PM. It is still cold.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 - Despite staying up past 1AM I woke up early today and was greeted by quite a surprise. Snow! Thick heavy flakes mixed in with the cold rain! I let Maren sleep and read my way almost to the end of The DaVinci Code as I drank coffee.

The coffee here seems so much better here than at home. I think it is because they grind it so fine, to a powder, rather than the course chunks of the US.

As the morning wore on the snowfall got thicker and thicker. I kept taking pictures thinking that the opportunity would fade and the latest picture would be the most extreme snow picture. Here it is, 8:30AM and now the snow is beginning to accumulate on the cars, trees and grass.

Maren told me yesterday that everywhere we went people kept saying how unusually cold it was for this time of year here. I guess Global Warming is presenting unusual weather patterns everywhere. Who knows, perhaps this is a sign that Global Warming will trigger the next Ice Age.

Monday, May 29th, 2006 - Wow! It is GREAT to be on vacation!! The flight over, thanks to a copy of 'The DaVinci Code' was relaxing, if long. Maren had her iPod for most of the flight so she was happily entertained!

The adventure began when Ben picked us up at about 2PM at our place and drove us to the airport, with a stop for a sandwich and fruit on the way. We arrived at the airport at about 3PM, four hours before the flight was to take off. Since we got there so early we got the best seats on the plane (in Economy class anyway), the first row behind FirstClass, so plenty of leg room and the first in line for food :-) The plane took off from Sanford International Sanford Placemarkat a little after 7PM. It was our first experience at the airport. We landed first at the Keflavik (I hope I spelled that right!) Airport in Iceland, Keflaviksat around for an hour then off for a three hour flight to Frankfort International Airport. The airport at Frankfort was huge and cold. The grey steel and glass with grey tile floors gave the place an impersonal feel. Maren noticed a lack of Muzak that made the airport seem colder and emptier of humanity.

Anyway, made it through customs OK with no fuss, then met up with her parents and we drove five hours down the Autobahn to our GasthausThe road to our town. As we approached Fussen, the large town perhaps 3Km down the road from the village where we are staying the rain started. There was also a huge traffic jam as the German tourists headed home after their weekends in the Alps.

Our apartment is very nice!Our Gasthaus No pictures yet, maybe in the next few days. The cold, light rain continued off and on all evening and into the night. We slept very soundly since we had only slept perhaps an hour on the flight over and had been up for about 36 hours.

The next morning we went out for a walk as the light rain continued.Our Morning Walk Even with the clouds and rain the place is beautiful! The feel of the area is so restful after the hectic day-to-day traffic and mess of home. We ended up walking to Maren's parents house where we hopped into the car and headed off to Fussen to do some grocery shopping.

The first stop was an electronics store since the adapter I got at BestBuy practically burst into flames after the laptop had been plugged into it for about 5 minutes. For under 2€ I got a cord that runs from the wall to the AC adapter that the laptop user and everything works fine!

Then it was off to the Lidl Grocery store where we loaded up the cart with all sorts of goodies and food for meals. I tried to get stuff that struck me as 'German' including cherry jelly for bread and a can of lentil-ish soup with little hot dog deals in it. The price was amazing! We filled up two bags, full, with all sorts of things like cheeses and chocolates (of course:-) but even so the tab came out to about 30€! At home we would have dropped about $70 or more for as much as we got!

The exchange rate definitely does not favor us! After the store we headed to a Geld-Automat (ATM machine) by a bank and withdrew some cash. It was a good call as we were charged exactly at the exchange rate of 1.27 and no more, so that beat the 1.45 that the airport banks were charging!

Then it was back to the apartment, a little dinner with the lentil soup stuff and some knoedel (sort of like dumplings). It was very tasty! Took a long nap and then went for a walk to Maren's parents again where I am writing this. Dieter has a nice techno set up so had an empty high speed network port that I could hijack so I could take care of this :-)

Hope you like the pictures!