(Recommended by Tennessee Bill)
This is the slow season after the busy summer season, but before the winter snow season begins. Most of the restaurants are closed, and their crews off on vacation. We were directed to the Monica Italian Restaurant, but when we arrived all the outside lights around the outdoor tables were on but the place was deserted. The sign out front said Betreibsurlaub, meaning gone on vacation. We finally found the only place open in town and ordered a steak and pomme frits (French fries) prepared by the one waitress, cook, bottle-washer in the place. It was delicious. I think by now I must have gained five pounds in weight.
Again, the weather has been beautiful with mid-day temperatures in the 70’s, the night temperatures in the high thirties. We spent the next three nights here before proceeding on into western Austria.
Today we made a large loop in the mountains and hills of Austria and Germany. We are right on the border such that when we leave the farm in Austria and drive to Mittenwald, about 2.5 miles, we are in Germany.
We first went to Oberammergau where the Passion play is performed every 10 years on the even year. The town is very picturesque with truly German Alps buildings, mostly white stucco with window boxes filled with flowers. Since the temperature is in the sixties to seventies still they remain in full bloom. We wandered around the town and stopped off at the Passion-Play Theater. I took many pictures, including some of the buildings painted with beautiful murals.
Then we headed north to Rottenbuch, a small town, but with a beautiful Catholic church. The interior was gold guilt embroidered everywhere. It was built from 1746 to 1754 and has been used ever since. One can tell by the well-worn stone entrance steps, and the entrances to the pews how many generations of faithful Germans have used the church. The amount of money spent to build these churches must have been immense for those times when money was scarce. Perhaps they were paid for with the church tax charged to all church members regardless of their desired money commitment as it still is today according to Eckhard. This is the state of Bavaria where the Catholics are very devout.
We then headed west and south to the small village in a meadow called Wies.
Here is a very famous church call the Wies Church, and is the one we visited when we lived in Germany in 1968.
Again, I took several outside and interior pictures because the church is one of a kind, with gold gilt everywhere.
More tourists than any one in Germany visit it. Interestingly, the dominant color of the church is white. The German word for white is weis, not Wies. English speaking visitors have mistakenly concluded the name was chosen for this color, but the real reason is that Wies means meadow. It is the church in the meadow, and the village of Wies is also a meadow.
Next we passed through Füssen, then east to Hohenschwangau castle. From there we decided to walk up to hill to Neuschwanstein, the castle built by King Ludwig II in the mid 1800s. I had been to both of these before when we visited in 1968 with the family.
I took several pictures, but the best were some from a bridge that spans a gorge just west of the castle.
From here in the mid-afternoon sun the castle was beautiful and was offset with a brilliant blue sky in the east. After this excursion of about two miles up and down we were both tired, and headed south through Reutte, east back through Garmisch-Partenkirchen, to Mittenwald, and to our bed and breakfast in Leutasch, Austria. I called Carolyn and discovered from her that there needed to more money deposited in the account I’m using for the trip. I asked her to transfer $500. I remain amazed how simple it is to call the USA; just put 001 in front of the area code and the connection is immediate. The sound quality is as good as calling across the street. It was a full day, beautiful, but tiring resulting from the long up-hill walk and return.
For dinner we chose one of the only restaurants open during the current slow season between the summer and winter season. Many of the gasthaus owners have gone on vacation. It is in Weidach a short distance from our Liasnhof farm. We both felt like we had eaten too much and decided on a half liter of beer and goulash soup. It was just enough without feeling stuffed. With the beer and service charge the cost was E 8.00. We both slept well, mainly because of the long walk we took up the steep hill to Neuschwanstein.
Today we went down the valley through Seefeld to Innsbruck, walked through the old city, and along the Inn River, which runs through the center of the city. I noted that it is one of the few cities I know of that has streetcars powered by overhead power lines.
We wanted to head south toward Italy, only about 30 miles via the Brenner Pass. We took the old roads for their picturesque beauty rather than the autobahn- -which cuts across the mountain peaks and along the valley edge toward the pass. It was the most astounding civil engineering job of road building I have ever seen. This autobahn wasn’t here when we passed through here in 1967, and this time we followed the same old route up to the village of Brenner at the pass. There we had our filched lunch (ham and cheese sandwich on a hard roll) that we borrowed from the breakfast table this morning. This is our routine lunch when traveling, and costs us nothing.
We proceeded back down toward Innsbruck via a narrow winding road with many villages along the other side of the valley we had come up in the morning...