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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cruising Through the Bavarian Alps

Lulu planned a 5 day grand tour for her play group friends Marylou and Jean. We are now at the halfway point in that trip - it has been really nice.

Monday - at 9 AM we picked up our rental van at Avis. Things started out a little disappointing when the Mercedes turned out to be a Ford Van with diesel engine and 6 speed manual transmission - black no less. But it was the only one left - so we had to settle for looking like the Secret Service protecting our president - or a group of Amish from Pennsylvania.

Our first stop was the small alpine town of Fussen- which was 450 miles away. The Autobahn has some very nice features - like being two feet thick - and you can travel whatever speed you want. But it was designed about 80 years ago - and the exits - etc - are not as modern as in the USA. The road side rests are merely toilets - and not up to USA standards. Unfortunately - 6 senior citizens make quite a few bathrooms stops - long lunches - etc. It was a long day that reminded me of driving my old green bus - except my passengers were much older. Our van rolled into Fussen in the rain and dark about 10 hours later.

Tuesday - was much better. After recovering from a very late supper and a good night’s sleeps in a nice hotel room - we were ready for action. Our first stop was Neuschwanstein Castle. It was only a few miles away. We rode a horse carriage to the top of the mountain - and then toured the castle with an English guide. I will describe the castle and its owner/builder - King Ludwig II later. The castle was finished in the 1880’s - so it is quite new and relatively modern - as far as castles go. They say it was used as a model for Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

Next we were to drive along the Alpine Highway to Augspitze. We got detoured by construction - and ended up crossing over into Austria. Our rental van was not to leave Germany - and we expected trouble at the border. To our surprise - no border guards - not even a checkpoint. At one construction delay - we were in meadow in Austria that felt as if we were in the Sound of Music movie. It was so pretty with all the Alps sticking up with snow on it that it inspired Lulu to jump out of the car and do the Sound of Music song and dance thing. Video coming.

We arrived at Zugspitze which is a 10,000 foot high mountain - highest in Germany. We took a cable car to the top - and the cog railroad back down. It was a beautiful sunny - not windy - day up there - about 40 degrees.

Next we had the most beautiful ride through the snow covered Alps to Betchelsgarden - spelling wrong but I am rushed by my taxi duties. Here we stayed in a quaint old hotel right downtown. This is a cute little alpine town - Hitler’s Eagles Nest is nearby but closed right now. We will tour Hitler’s Bunker here - and also take a boat ride on a National Park Lake.

I am not going to have enough time up upload my pictures right now - but will do it in Munich. We will spend the next two nights in Munich - then head back to Berlin on Friday. The ride home should be a few hours shorter because Munich is in line with Berlin.

Nancy has worked really hard planning and booking all the things on this trip. She wanted to have attractions that would make all 6 of us happy. It seems the ladies enjoy shopping more than anything else - maybe followed by scenery. The men like trains - boats - cars - and “All Hitler all the time.” So far - everyone looks like they had enough to eat - and a nice place to sleep.

Our guests - Carl- Marylou - Jean - Bill - will fly home from Berlin on Sunday. Lulu and I stay until Wednesday - then we fly home to Florida.

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