Almost everywhere you walk in Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers stunning views of the Alpine mountains that surround it. I spent my first few hours walking in the town simply walking around in awe. The beatiful church spires and houses really add to the look. In the summer the most amazing thing was the colours. The soft greens of the grass in the near distance, the harder green of the pine trees near the tree line, the pure white of the snow on the high Alps and then azure blue of the clean skies providing the mountain backdrop.
Bayern is a mainly Catholic Bundesland within Deutschland. They observe all the traditional Catholic holidays, plus the pan-German ones, too. This means that typically Bavaria is more conservative than the rest of Germany, especially in the rural areas where there has been less of an impact from immigration. Cities like Munich, which have seen people move in from other areas of Germany to work in the entertainment, television, software and light manufacturing industries are more cosmopolitan than the smaller towns and villages in Bayern.
It was another dream of mine to see this lovely castle on which Walt Disney based his fairy castle. So it was with great enthusiasm that we boarded the bus early morning for our day outing to Schwangau and its two castles. Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Schwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner.
The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886
Skiing and Snowboarding the Zugspitz
The Zugspitz is really easy to find and wonderful for skiing. It is the tallest mountain in Germany. May I recommend that if you've never done it before, try the small slopes first at the Hausburg slope first. We went to the top first to see the view and it was so amazing we didn't want to come back down. You will get caught up and want to stay up there all day. Make sure you have time to ski! In the event you injure yourself, the Garmisch Hospital is very fast, friendly and most of them speak english (they are pretty good at putting on a cast, too) ha ha ha.
The highest point in Germany, at just shy of 3,000 feet, is easily reached in about 75 minutes. At 44 euros for a return ticket the cost is quite high, but I found it worth the money. I know others would disagree, but perhaps I am paid too much or have low standards. This was the highest I've been, though, and my first time up a snow covered mountain in the summertime. The previous highest point I'd managed was about 2,400 meters on Mount Bromo volcano in Indonesia, and I don't believe that has ever seen a snowflake in eternity. You can also walk up the mountain for free, but if you are short on time the train is a convenient, if sometimes confusing, alternative.
It took me a bit longer than 75 minutes to reach the top. I think the announcement system broke down just before the cog wheel train reached the Grainau stop. You see I was supposed to get out there and transfer to another train for Eibsee. As this isn't explained anywhere and only ever announced on the speaker system in the train, if the system fails to work properly, or the announcer speaks during a noisy spot on the journey, you are going to have to wait another hour or so as the train returns to GAP and comes back again.
At Eibsee you have to leave the station and walk through the woods to take the aerial tramway to the top. If you look really really carefully you might catch sight of a small sign pointing you in the right direction. Failing that follow the mob and hope they know where they are going. They didn't when I followed them and I ended up walking the long way around the car park. Once you reach the terminal you can jump into the cabin and rise rapidly and breathtakingly up the steep side of the mountain. Try and get on first, though, as they cram the cabin more tightly than a London tube carriage at rush hour and you may end up with a layer of people between you and the cabin's dirty window panes.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have missed the trip to the Zugspitze for twice the price, but the service leaves a lot to be desired.