Grüße aus Deutschland

Trip Start Sep 12, 2010
Trip End Nov 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Aldranser Hof

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Herr Peter & Frauline Julie here.

On route we entered into Germany and stopped at McDonalds in Irschenberg. This was no ordinary Maccas. It was state of the art. There was a section with computer workstations that geeks would drool over. I was then interrupted by Julie who wanted me to focus on finding the toilet. When we found it you had to go through a turnstile that required 50 euro cents. The situation was getting desperate. We both needed to go and we only had one 50 cent coin. The queue at the food counter was too long to obtain more change and one of us would not make it in time. After analysing the terms and conditions entry was permitted by one revolution turn. Since there was no mention of personage restrictions we sandwiched ourselves through the turnstile. What a relief! We made our contributions later with our meal purchase.

We continued our journey to Neuschwanstein Castle. Schloss Neuschwanstein, one of King Ludwig II's most renowned castles, was built at enormous expense from 1868 to 1892. The monumental castle, based on Wartburg Castle in Thuringia, was built to plans by the theatre designer Christian Jank, who expressed the king’s vision inspired by Wagner’s operas Lohengrin and Tannhäuser. The castle has a breathtaking position on an outcrop of rock towering over a gorge in the River Pollat.

The carpark was at the bottom of Hohenschwangau village and there were two ways of getting up to the castle. A thirty minute hike up hill or a 15 minute horse carriage ride. By this stage we had our fair share of steps in this holiday so we treated ourselves with the nostalgic ride. The driver packed in so many passengers in his small carriage we were beginning to wonder where he was going to sit as we were in front and the row was full. Well he managed to wedge himself on us and our personal space was no longer an option. I found out that the driver was Bosnian who has been working in Germany since the recent war ended in the former Yugoslavia.

We waited in queue for our tour to start at the designated time and whilst we were waiting a young Asian girl realised her tour had already started and couldn’t get pass the turnstile as she inserted her ticket. Her companion was getting frustrated since she managed to get pass but had to wait for her calamitous friend. Then onlookers were making various suggestions to this trapped girl in how to insert her ticket in the machine. This went on for 10 minutes. I couldn’t help but call out to her "Just go under!" The crowd then chorused the same statement. She did so and raced with her long suffering companion to their tour. We clapped and cheered for them.

Now it was our group’s turn to go through and we assembled inside the dimly lit foyer. Our guide was a young girl with a strong monotone German accent. It reminded me of the comedy skit in Fast Forward with the mock up SBS TV presenter announcing the programme highlights. It was a riveting tour. (Click here if you want to hear the audio).

At its conclusion we wandered into a room where there was a model of the castle on display. While I was waiting for my turn to take a photo I noticed further in front was a familiar red hair woman who had her back to me and I said to Julie that I reckoned it was Anita as she was traveling in Europe with her family but we were uncertain if they were supposed to be in Germany at this time. Julie thought I was kidding so I slowly approached her and while she was about to take a photo of the model I poked my face toward her lense. At first she thought who was this weirdo then realised she recognised me. We laughed and then she called out to her family announcing our presence.

It was now getting late and we all decided to head out to the bridge at Marienbrucke. Both Julie & Anita were afraid of heights and this bridge was at a suicidal altitude. They held hands and chanted fearless melodies on approach while the rest of us were plotting ways to frighten the living days lights out of them. We are such a loving bunch aren’t we? After enjoying such cheap entertainment we were in awe of the spectacular views. Now it was time for us to head back. Anita and her family walked back to their accommodation whilst Julie & I waited for a bus to take us back to the carpark. The bus stop soon swelled with Asian tourists and we were concerned that we would not be able to board at full capacity. The bus arrived and the fun began. Asians must be accustomed to crowded transportation as this lot had the knack of squeezing in at every nook and cranny on the bus. The road down was very windy and as the bus took each turn you could feel the momentum and wondered if we were going to remain upright.

Got to the car in one piece and it was a long drive to Aldrans on the outskirts of Innsbruck. Found our accommodation and what bliss - it had an elevator. Mind you it was the size of a shoe box but nevertheless it was a lift. After several trips in getting our luggage up we checked into our room and had a terrific dinner in an alpine atmosphere. The waitress that served us could not believe how friendly we were. All we did was have a polite conversation but apparently that was alien to her. When she found out that we were Australian she made the comment about the contrast of her nationality being quiet reserved. She found it fascinating that we could casually speak to her even though she felt she was a complete stranger to us. She admired Australians and said would love to visit our country. This made us realise not to take common courtesy for granted.

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