Blink. It is gone. As the summer begins to set, memories of its rise fade away. As I scan back to late June, K excited about going to castles in Germany, M only concerned with playing with his older brother’s toys, and momma S returning from a work trip to Berlin just to pack again for our family vacation; I know that my account here will not be complete.
We arrived in Munich and immediately drove out to the Bavarian Alps. Our first destination was the town of Mittenwald. A cute mountain town, one in which we failed to spend any significant amount of time in unfortunately. Of the three days we spent there, the only thing of note we did was take a cable car up to the snow-topped mountain overlooking the town. Up through thick mist of drizzle and rain into swirling snow…all with only our rain jackets for protection. The pictures at the base of the Mountain indicated that it would be very sunny and pleasant, without any snow. Despite out climatic miscalculations, it was pretty fun to have a snowball fight with K in the middle of summer.
The majority of our time in these mountains was dedicated to driving back and forth across the German and Austrian borders exploring castles. The two of most note included the incomplete fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany and the romantic Ehrenberg Ruins near Reutte, Austria. While Neuschwanstein has grandeur uncontested by many other castles, it seems to lack soul. The castle was a whimsy for an eccentric king, one that never was completed, never used as it was intended, and certainly never used to defend the land. Ehrenberg in contrast is a variant garden of lush overgrown boulders on the sheer sides of a strategic choke point through the mountains. This is a place that you can still feel the importance of the castle that once stood there, see the care that went into its construction and repair over the centuries of warfare and siege that is witnessed, all to protect the fertile valley below.
If in the area, especially with kids, try to hit the sommerrodelbahn in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. They converted the old Olympic luge course into a summer fun ride that K could not get enough of this…nor could I! We also visited the Marchenwelt Bichlbach Tier & Speilpark outside of Bichlback, Austria. It appears to have once been a zany traveling menagerie run by gnomes that stopped beside the rode at the foot of a mountain and never got moving again. The place was a bit creepy, a bit surreal, but still entertaining if you can overlook some of the animal conditions.