Sunday, May 22, 2011

GAP - Driving Driving Driving

Today was somewhat aggravating, nay frustrating. Our goals were to go to the top of the Zugspitze and then on to Oberammergau. But first I must digress.
I did not know that people still wore the traditional Bavarian clothing with the lederhosen. Not a lot, but they do. This gentleman is in full Bavarian kit and he is riding a really heavy bike up a steep hill at a good clip. So, there you go.

Back to the Zugspitze. There are two ways to reach the top of Germany's tallest mountain. There is an amazing electric cog wheel train that climbs up to a 25% grade, or there is the cable car. We wanted the cable car since the train takes 1.5 hours each way, and half of the trip is in a tunnel. But no, the cable car is down for maintenance until the 26th. We decided to bail on the Zug due to the time commitment involved.

So it was off to Oberammergau. I would not recommend this town unless it's a year than ends in zero, and you're there for the Passion Play. It's just not that interesting. They do have some fantastically painted buildings.

All of that detail is paint, the front of the building is flat.

They also have a well developed carved by hand wood craft tradition. But over all it's just not that interesting. It felt a little like Leavenworth. For those of you who are not from Washington, Leavenworth is a small ex-logging town that outright reinvented itself as a Bavarian themed tourist trap. They have been very successful with it.

It was raining off and on, so hiking was not really feasible, so we up and decided to drive out to another of Ludwig's castles, and then planned to return to GAP via Austria. This is Neuschwanstein. It has a medieval Wagnerian theme. It was never finished and Ludwig did not spend much time there. It's perched on the side of a small Alp. This is it from a distance. You can get a sense of how huge it is.

I took this later after the torrential rains moved on with my telephoto lens from pretty far away. This was after driving in to Fussen and discovering that the road that went into Austria and back to the hotel was closed. So we had a pretty long drive back.

It's a beautiful part of the country. The Alps seem to spring bolt upright out of the plains where there is all of this rolling farmland.

See the yellow traffic sign? The top half is the bridge speed limit for trucks. The bottom is for tanks. This is not something one would expect to see. The sign has only been in the Bavarian region.

Hopefully it will quit raining tomorrow so we can walk. We need some exercise! The plan is to drive in to Innsbruck and walk around and see what we see. In case you're wondering, GAP is the official abbreviation for Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

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