Saturday, September 29, 2012

Munich and Schwangau in Germany plus Lake Konstanz

I spent more time researching this part of our road trip than the others before we left as I kept coming upon interesting places to visit. Looking back, I wished we had an extra day or two here. I was amazed by the scenic landscapes around this area- Bavaria, Baden Wurttemberg, and Lake Konstanz as we drove thru them on the way to Zurich. I wouldn't mind coming back here for another visit some day.
Coming from Salzburg, Austria we decided to stop by the BMW Museum in Munich. Small two storey building accomodating old and new models of BMW and Rolls Royce. Good place to learn about BMW's design philosophy- smooth lines and optimum performance for the ultimate driving machine. One can schedule for BMW test drives as well as factory tours here. The tours were fully booked when we got there at noon. Should have prebooked the tour before going. Had lunch at the museum's cafe. Service was slow and the food was ordinary. My daughter who is obsessed with Mini Coopers bought a toy version of a red mini. Hand carried it all the way on the flight home and is now sitting in its box on a shelf in her bedroom. Her pride and joy, indeed.

                                                      Sleek 1972 BMW Turbo
                                                          What's not to like?
                  Olympic Tower in the Olympia Park seen from the exterior of the BMW Museum.
Pedestrian walk at downtown Munich. Would love to spend more time here. Lots of name brand stores and restaurants.
Monument at Maximilianstrasse- great spot for people watching. Munich surprised me as I didn't expect it to be such a beautiful city.

From Munich, we should have driven to Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany. Due to time constraint and  fatigue, we drove on to Zurich, Switzerland via little towns near Lake Konstanz. Spent 2 nights in Zurich then drove back to Schwangau before moving on to the Black Forest area the very same day. Scenic drive all the way especially around the Lake Konstanz area which borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland near the Alps. Not that hard to stop and snap nice pictures along the route.

Stage for the opera Andre Chenier at Lake Konstanz in Bregenz
Lake Konstanz- abundant beautiful panorama
Loved the wide open pastures of Switzerland. Miles and miles of open green spaces with hardly a soul around. Just a very well fed herd.
My kids got up close and personal with the sheeps. Feeding and touching some of them.

During the planning for this section of our trip, I was debating between visiting the Eagle's Nest (Hitler's teahouse) or the Neuschwanstein Castle. In the end, we chose Neuschwanstein as we thought it would be a great place to take a family portrait together on the Marianbrucke (Marie's Bridge) with the castle as our background. Well, it was overcrowded plus a quarter of the castle was scaffolded for reconstruction. We actually knew about these facts before we went but my better half still wanted to try. Picture came out so-so. Oh, well!

Very captivating eye expression. Felt an urge to stroke the eyelashes and wipe the mucous away when I first took this picture. It belonged to one of the many horses used to transport visitors to and from the Neuschwanstein castle. We didn't ride the horse carriages as we took the bus up to the bridge and walked back down to town- about 45 minutes.  These horses work very hard to carry full carriage loads of 12 to 16 people each way going up and down the hill. It's quite an unbearable sight for us.

The world famous Neuschwanstein Castle- inspiration for the Disneyland's sleeping beauty castle.
Lake Alpsee (left) and Lake Schwansee(right) with Hohenschwangau Castle perched on a hill.
Hohenschwangau Castle- the childhood home of King Ludwig II. Smaller but better looking on the exterior than Neuschwanstein.
Bavarian snow balls (3 for 2 euros)- deep fried dough with powdered sugar- soft, fluffy, delicious
Very good foam soup- Jagenhaus Restaurant at Hotel Lisl in Schwangau
King Ludwig's roasted pork with crackling skin in beer sauce and potato dumplings- couldn't get enough of the pork skin (crispy and not chewy).
                                         Creamy noodles with grilled chicken- very good as well
Linguine with local chanterelle mushrooms- fresh and excellent

                                       Grapevines on the way to Black Forest- lots of wineries
On the way to Black Forest

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