Saturday, April 2, 2022

Fall Break 2021

We made it out of Frankfurt for Fall Break!! Our car was in country, had cleared customs, passed inspection, but was waiting on its plates; so we had to get a rental car for the week (literally on our drive home, Richard got an email that the car's plates were close). Given C-19 numbers were still all over the place and Clarissa still had not been cleared to be vaccinated, we opted to stay in country (for the most part) and visited Richard's favorite part of Germany....the state of Bavaria. 

After about 5 hours, we made it to Garmisch. We opted to stay at the same resort we had stayed at in 2014! This time, though, the Kristallwelten Wattens near Innsbruck was not under that was at the top of my to see list!! So the next morning, we hopped in the car and headed across the border into Austria. 

The iconic entrance! Given there was no flash allowed inside, taking good pictures was a bit tricky (plus you can't see the sparkle in the pictures)....we did get a few neat ones and some videos.

Nothing says bounty hunter like a sparkling helmet...(yours for only €7500 ($8,300!)

Remember....shadows matter! Is she a princess or evil.....or an evil princess?

The sparkling globe, I could have stared at it a lot longer than I did.....

After we bought a few sparkly pieces to wear to special events (or at home when in yoga pants - no judging), we headed outside to walk around the gardens. They had clouds filled with crystals and with it being extra breezy it really shimmered and shined!

Since the onsite cafe was closed (we couldn't tell if it was closed due to a private event or C-19), we headed to Innsbruck for some lunch. We arrived on a Sunday around 2 pm.....(restaurants in Europe like to close between lunch and typically closed between 2 and 6). We found one place and they were not taking any new customers, but then luckily we found a little street cafe still serving silly tourists....

Afterwards, we wandered around town a bit. 

Then we were on the hunt to find the station for the Hungerburgbahn.....we found it! 

The Hungerburgbahn is a funicular railway that takes you from Innsbruck along the river to Hungerburg a little town at just over 2,800 feet in elevation at the foot of the Nordkette mountains. We didn't realize we need to pre-purchase a second ticket to take Nordkette cable car to the very top of the mountain. Clouds were coming in, so it probably wouldn't have been that great of a view at the very top.

Enjoying the views overlooking Innsbruck, Austria.

Space age looking station to return back to Innsbruck and heading into a tunnel under the city.

So during our last trip we took some family photos while in Garmisch. The photographer actually took us around on the Partenkirchen side. Some of my favorites are in front of this barn door with a heart in it. So I was on a mission.....what turned out to be a very tough mission. I had saved a couple of the shots on my phone to help us identify the building. I asked at the hotel we were staying out, they directed us towards a part of town. We drove around looking with no luck. I saw a library, so I went in and asked. The librarian and a resident both looked and didn't recognize the door. They did say it would likely be on one of a several streets and directed me that way. So we got close, then parked, and started wandering around looking for the green door with a heart.......AND WE FOUND IT!!!!

From this to that.....

So we didn't have a photographer to get all four of us at once....working with what we

The height difference is about the same but the door looks so much smaller!

Now you can see what part of the problem in finding the door was....the owner had repainted the door at some point in the last 7 years.....

After completing our first mission of the day, we saw a C-19 testing place (we needed to have another negative test for Clarissa for our adventure the next day). They were only accepted sick people for testing - so no test for us. So we headed to a chocolate shop....yum!! and then drove out to the Alpine Coaster. We thought we were going to the same one we went to last time (actually the summer toboggan run), but this one is out in Oberammergau and much longer (2,600 meters (1.6 miles) vs 850 meters (0.5 miles)). You take a ski lift to the top of the mountain.

Then you hop in and hold on! You can get up to speeds of 40 km/h (25 mph) as you take on 73 curves, 9 jumps, and 7 waves!

If you are really good, you can time the perfect picture!

We did three runs! Other than freezing, we had a blast. We then headed back to Garmisch for lunch and the elusive C19 test. We found a pharmacy accepting appointments, got Clarissa in, and it was the quickest and easiest test we have ever done! Brain tickled within a minute of walking in and results emailed to us 15 minutes later! The next morning we headed to Hohenschwangau. After our last trip, we learned there were two castles! So we booked a tour for the Hohenschwangau Castle in the morning and the Neuschwanstein Castle in the afternoon. When we pulled into Hohenschwangau we could already see the Neuschwanstein Castle up on the hill! 

We then found the carriage ride pick up to the Hohenschwangau Castle. 

It looks huge as you approach the castle and equally huge when you are right next to it.

The lake below the castle where King Ludwig II's body was found....was it suicide or murder?!? It is still a mystery!

While living in Hohenschwangau Castle, King Ludwig II began construction on Neuschwanstein Castle. They were so close he could monitor the workers through a telescope in his room.

After a lovely lunch in town and some souvenir shopping, we headed up to Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle overlooking the gorge. 

Clarissa trying her hand at castle photography and then standing guard in the courtyard while we awaited our entry time.

If you couldn't guess, no photography is allowed inside either castle. We did get this lovely shot on our way out from a balcony. The castles look even closer in this photo!

We ended up doing three carriage rides that day. A ride up to both castles and then we rode down from the second castle due to some lovely rain. Our horse drawn carriage friends from our last ride....

Our last day in town, we just did some sightseeing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We woke up to snow on the mountain tops (first snow of the season)!

The resort had a cute cell phone holder and then I could use my watch to take a shenanigans.

Little people, big mountain.

As I mentioned, we walked around Garmisch-Partenkirchen some. Had lunch at a yummy Greek restaurant. Found a mountain stream. We checked out an old church. We saw the hand sanitizer and didn't think much of it. Then behind it was this.....a Weihwasser-spender or in English "holy water dispenser". So in front of the now empty usual bowl of holy water at the entrance of the church was the Weihwasser-spender for your handful of water....a bit more than a damp finger tip.

We ended the day with a beautiful sunset.....a wonderful end to a fun trip. The next morning, we got up and drove back the 5 hours back home and had a couple days until fall break ended to just relax.

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