Upper Bavaria is a catholic country, a very catholic country. During the Christmas season nativity scenes are put up in every church. Garmisch and Partenkirchen also have a shrine in the centre of the resp. town with a nativity: in Garmisch it is in Marienplatz, in Partenkirchen in Ludwigstraße next to the parish church. The reflection in the glass front of the latter shrine transfers the scene right into the heart of Partenkirchen (photo 1).
The typical style of those nativities is baroque, the characteristic style of the woodcarvers in nearby Oberammergau. Hardly any of them are really from the baroque age, though, many date from the 19th or 20th century. The figures and settings are treasured possessions of the church communities and used for years, decades, perhaps a century and more. Each year at the beginning of the Advent season the scenery with the ruined stable is set up and the first figures placed. With the proceeding of the festive season the scene is changed, more figures are added, like the Three Kings who come on January 6.
The catholic Christmas season lasts until Mariä Lichtmess (Candlemas, February 2), hence the nativities stay until early February.
Wolpertinger are a species of animals that are endemic to Bavaria. They are weird creatures with the furry body of a rodent, like a marmot or hare, with horns or antlers, fangs and feathered wings.
Wolpertinger are extremely shy and leave their hiding spots only in the middle of the night. Locals have their special methods of spotting and catching them. For example, they promise that young women can see them when they are accompanied by a strong male who knows the secret spots on the edge of the forest (ha, ha). Other methods involve sprinkling salt on the Wolpertinger's tail, or the use of a sack, a light and a spade.
In other words, this species is closely related to, for example, the Elwetritschen in Palatine or the Australian drop-bears.
Some souvenir shops sell stuffed Wolpertinger to tourists at high prices. Of course these are the works of imaginative taxidermists...
If you want to see some, there is a large souvenir shop named Sorge in Garmisch in the pedestrian zone (photo 5) that has a couple of them in the shop windows and more inside. The exact location is corner Am Kurpark/Fürstenstraße, in the little square about halfway between Marienplatz and the casino.
This is where I took my photos. Best at night when the shop windows are illuminated and there are hardly any reflections from the outside.
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.
In Garmisch-Partenkirchen it isn't surprising to see traffic stopped for cows going down the road. Their bells will be clanging as they loaf down the narrow roads. The farmers, on foot or bicycle, lead them back from the pastures at the end of the day to their barns. The cows seem to know the paths so well that they could probably go it alone! It is a fun sight to see and a great photo op, but remember the cows have the right of way!
The southernmost region of Germany is part of the northern Alps, a mountainous area ranging from hills to mountains. The highest mountain in Germany is the "Zugspitze", the top of which is 2962 meters or 9717 feet above sea level.
Stepping out at the top of the cable railway you will find the weather station of the Zugspitze and of course, some restaurants offering you the opportunity to sit down for a moment and enjoy a meal and a drink.
If the weather is good you will have a wonderful view of the mountains and peaks of the Bavarian and the Austrian Alps.
It is a walker's paradise in this beautiful mountainous region, with walks along valleys , over plateaus and to the summits.
On the green slopes and mountain pastures cows can be seen grazing during the summer and they seem oblivious to the nature lovers passing by.