Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 24: Save the Best

It's difficult to pick out the mosts and the bests of this trip because our experiences have been so varied, so alien when compared to each other. But today: the most beautiful day in Europe, and the most beautiful day I've had/experienced in recent memory. In a beautiful place.

As much time as I spent planning our trip (with tons of help from my sister Jen), I'll admit that I kind of took a break when it came to the details of Munich. We decided to do Dachau the minute before we did it. Salzburg the morning of. We knew we would do Fussen and the castles, just not when. Or how. Or where. It's been wild trying to find places pretty much everywhere we've been. Most of the time I've just figured it all out on the train right before we've gotten to wherever we were going. I'd probably make a seasoned traveller laugh, but it's been fun to take the challenge of making sure we get to where we've needed to get to.

Today we needed to get to Fussen. And then Schwangau. And then Tegelberg. And then back to Fussen and a bunch of different train stops and changes and then back to Munich. Not too bad . . . I had no idea how to do any of this at the beginning of the day. But it all worked out.

We got to Fussen and rented bikes. Yup, bikes. We biked up to the Neuschwanstein Castle ticket center, parked them, and hiked up to the Marien Brucke for an amazing view of the castle and landscape. It was a serious hike, and only fitting that after all the stairs and walking and spiral staircases, we ended the trip with the most demanding physical day.

After spending some time on and around the bridge, we hiked down to Neuschwanstein, got some food at a little stand, and took our tour. We hiked back down to our bikes and instead of calling it a day and hiking back to Fussen and leaving like almost all tourists there do, we headed to the Tegelberg luge. The ride down the dirt path next to a river and under a canopy of green trees was absolutely idyllic. It felt more than more times on our trip, like Jo and I were really carefree and on vacation. Really enjoying everything about our time and the world around us.

We got to Tegelberg luge, were the only Americans there, and found out it was the day after the World Hangliding Championships. It was packed, but we arrived at the perfect time. Parachuters and hangliders sailed over head and we stood in a relatively short line in between large German tour groups. We bought two tickets a piece and rode back to back times. It was a blast. The most kid-like fun I've had since Quidditch on Suzie's birthday.

We biked back to Fussen, literally fought against the crowds to get on a bus to the train station, trained back to Munich - where people were still in red and white and drowning in the sorrows from yesterday's loss. We went back to our hotel and laid there with the surreal thought that Paris seems like a lifetime ago, and it feels even longer since we've been home.

It was one of our best days today. It was great. We loved it. I'm anxious about the trip home, because I always get a little crazy before flying and itineraries and layovers and checking in and turbulence and etc. I'm sure we'll be fine. We'll be fine and 6000 miles away with 6000 new memories to learn from and recall with smiles.
jo on her bike and our next car back behind her

view from the bridge into Schwangau

the bridge and the clean-ish green blue water

biking under the treen canopy

view from the ticket center. one long hike away.

view of Hohenschwangau, the other and lesser visited castle

view from the hike

view from the bridge

Schwangau and Fussen

the long look down under the bridge


half pretty

that bridge was crowded and it swayed and it's insane

another good one

front of the castle keep. extravagance dot com.

view from the food stand lookout thing

see! it's a death trap.

the winding metal luge track

josephine. she caught up to me. she is an incredibly fast luger and i am not.

the only semblance of control

i'm about to start. she'll catch me in about 15 seconds.

a rock being eaten alove by a gnarly German tree

whoa. it kind of sounds like a i drop the F bomb right before i fall out. i promise i was just going "WHOA!" but i did fall out. and it was awesome.

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