“Wizz-iting” the Castles:

Trip Start Aug 17, 2012
Trip End Sep 13, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We have been traveling the past few days, traversing from Prague to Munich which is why there has been a lull in the updates.  We don’t always have WiFi when it’s most convenient.  But, hopefully this has not caused you to forget about us.  As of right now we are leaving Munich and headed to the Rhine River.  We are glad to be headed more to the Western side of Europe. East Europe is good to visit, and interesting to experience, but seriously, you can only eat so much pork and potatoes.  This hardy eating is truly going to take a miracle of  “Gastronomic” proportions to recover from.  I really need  a good dose of Alabama vegetables.  

To update you on what we have been up to, I’ll begin:  We arrived in Munich on the 26th. We rented an apartment which was in an actual neighborhood.  It was really fun to be able to walk around in the community where we see locals park their cars and ride their bikes to the train station.  Residents would walk their dogs and say “Hallo” to us.  It was at night when we arrived in the neighborhood, so with map in hand and weighted down to the max with our life’s belongings on our back, we attempted to communicate with the locals.  We wanted to ask a neighbor who was out with her dog if the neighborhood was safe for us to walk around later in the evenings, but somehow she devised from our question that we wanted to sleep in the park.  That made me laugh!  She was very nice, but didn’t suggest we sleep in the park.  In the end, we went our way and she hers.  We slept soundly in our beds at the apartment, which was much more comfortable than a park bench!
Yesterday, we visited the Neuschwanstein castle.  The best and easiest way for us to do that was for Jonathan and I to join a tour group.  This is so not like us.  And, as you can imagine, it was a typical tourist regime.  A herd of people crowd around the bus openings. They push a bit, afraid that you will get a better seat than them if you get ahead.  Then, at the designated stops, everyone pours out with camera and money to experience in 40 minutes the culture.  Yes, for an afternoon, we were one of THEM.  We really liked the tour guide who gave us the history of King Ludwig II, and gave academic points for interest in the landscapes of Bavaria.  I later learned she was a school teacher.  She was undoubtedly an excellent one, taking every opportunity as an educational learning experience. I do feel that field trips were her forte.  I really did appreciate all the history and facts of the region.  I think we all did, but I felt a smile on my face the whole time thinking how I was so not a tourist like everybody else, and they too were probably thinking the same thing.  Our guide, who’s name is Ursula, spoke excellent English, but her German roots had her hold onto saying the letter “V” like a “W”.  So, we were Wizzerters, wizziting the castles.  

Unfortunately, as you may know, when you travel Europe, you can expect any one given site of great historical value to be covered in scaffolding.  When I saw Notre Dame  10 years ago, it was covered, and St. Marks in Venice 2 years ago.  This year, it was of course and no doubt the side of the Neuschwanstein.  AHHHHH.  NOOOOOO!!!!  It was such a beautiful blue sky day with the bright Bavarian green grass offering a breathtaking contrast.   It was even possible to see both Ludwig’s castle and his father’s at the same time.  Not very usual due to clouds most days.  Oh well.  We were however able to experience the grandeur and extravagance of the castle from Mary’s Bridge, which was not covered at all with the ugly plastic and scaffolding.  We’re told that in all, the castle would be covered for a year.  They were 4 months into the project as of yesterday.  The house was quite spectacular, as you all know from the pictures, and as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle in Disneyland.  
Flying over the castle were many paragliders.  From the bottom of the town, they looked like moths.  But, once up at the castle, if there was one, then there were 10.  I am not sure how they didn’t crash to their deaths due to air congestion.  They almost needed their very own air control tower! We throughly enjoyed our Wizzit very much!!!  
We ended the night by walking about Munich and getting a Pretzel.  The city pulses at night with energy.  It’s hard to make yourself go to bed sometimes, but with red eyes and a pretty rough bed head, we woke again to make our way to the Rhine River.  We will stay here one night, then to Amsterdam we will go.  

I might add that you must be very careful when traveling with all this gear.  The packs, camera bag, souvenirs, etc, can especially throw one off balance when, let’s say, leaning too much to one side.  I can attest, as I was almost belly up on the street this morning.  Jonathan had to tow me up with his sturdy hand.  I’ll think twice before  I consider fixing my shoe again. Speaking of feet, these wanderingfeats of mine are starting to look like a pedicure and few bandaids could be of good use!!! 
That’s it for now.  We hope to update a little sooner with the details of the Rhine River. 

Kelley and Jonathan. 
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