16 January 2008

Wonders: Natural & Manmade

What an unbelievable day packed full of sights.

I hit the road at 9:30am. I drove into Garmisch-Partenkirchen by way of Austria. Not a bad way to start my day. The town is alright. A lot of tourists, and because it's tucked in the mountains, you can't really get a good look at them. In fact, this may sound funny, but I don't know if I saw the Zugspitz or not! (The highest peak in Germany: 2,963m (9,718 feet))
I didn't plan to, anyway. I'll take the train to the top this spring or summer.

Instead, after walking around town for a bit, I went to Partnachklamm, which is a 702m long gorge with walls rising to 80 meters. It was outrageously beautiful. Just ridiculous. Gorge-ous if you will. Har har har.
Frozen waterfalls, rock formations, crystal-clear rapids...stunning! The pictures should say it all.

Then I drove to Oberammergau. It's a cute little town famous for wood-carving, the paintings on the facades of the main street, and the Passion Play which they still put on every ten years. It started back in the 17th century when the townspeople offered to put it on every year for eternity if the plague would stop. Well, the plague ended, so...

After that, I drove to Schloss Linderhof; another of King Ludwig II's (commissioned) masterpieces. He spent most of his time there, so it was a real thrill to see the inside of it. I hadn't seen the insides of any of his castles/palaces yet. I'm really happy that I took the tour today. Especially since there were just two of us there. The inside defies description and they don't allow photography so please click on the link above and then on the rooms to see what I am talking about.

I was literally sighing with awe at each room. The most decadent, opulent, over-the-top decor you've ever seen in your life. Silk-lined walls, 24k gold plating, an ivory chandelier from India that must weigh 100 lbs, a harpsichord/piano that was meant for Wagner...and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
My favorite room was the "Hall of Mirrors", where he spent most of his time. It's blue (my favorite color) and filled with mirrors, of course. He did his reading and writing there by candlelight every night and because of the mirrors and gold plating, the room was said to be filled with a glow every evening. It took my breath away. So romantic, (even though he was pretty much a recluse later in life). It felt like I was walking through a part of history.

Oh MAN I wish I could've taken photos. Especially since the outside is not much to see in the winter (relatively speaking). Most of it is covered by scaffolding and protective wood boxes for the season.

I left there around dusk and drove back on a very curvy mountain road that was not too well maintained snow-wise. It was a little hairy, but I drove slow. I went past this giant lake called Plansee, which is in Austria. Shocking that it was mostly frozen considering how big it is.

My head is a flurry of warm thoughts from today. That being said, I still like Füssen more than the mountain towns I saw today. I really think I made an excellent choice when I picked this town to live in. It's got mountain-town charm, without the big hills that would surely kill me on my bicycle.

All that being said, still it was the kind of day that I will remember forever. I only wish I had you guys here to share it with me. That's the only way it could've been better!

Darn it! I cannot upload most of the photos here because the computer at the cafe will not let me do it! Argh! Here are just a few for now. The best are yet to come.

Around town in Garmisch: