Bavaria : Neuschwanstein to Lake K√∂nigssee

After a grueling 5 hour 260 mile/420 km drive from Frankfurt, Germany to Hohenschwangau, Germany, near the town of F√ľssen,¬†located in the southwestern region of Bavaria, bordering Austria, we finally were able to gaze upon the magnificent castles which we had set out to discover – Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau. Both just a glorious as all photographs we’d seen prior to arrival. The day was bluebird – not a cloud in the sky to shield the view of these magnificent structures. It was a perfect day, minus the few dozen tour buses on our tail as we walked to the horse-drawn carriage. Luckily, we had beat the crowd and were able to hop on the horse-drawn carriage in a short amount of time and were on our way up the driveway of Neuschwanstein!

Of course, while traveling anywhere, especially in/around the Bavarian Alps, one must be prepared with all essentials, notably your backpack! For us, the Cotopaxi Luzon 18 L Del Dia day pack is a perfect choice to hold everything one needs for this type of travel! Check out Cotopaxi and their gear by CLICKING HERE. Cotopaxi is fine group who use those leftover scraps of fabric to create their wonderful masterpiece jackets, backpacks, and more. Perfect for, well, any type of traveling and proven to be solid products that last even through the harshest elements. They even insulate their jackets using llama fiber – how cool is that?!

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Hohenschwangau, Germany (View from hotel Alpen Stuben)
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Neuschwanstein Castle
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Castle Hohenschwangau
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Neuschwanstein Castle
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View from one of the main balconies of Neuschwanstein Castle

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Day 2:  Departing Hohenschwangau

After a great night’s rest and departing Hohenschwangau, we embarked on the next leg of our journey towards Ramsau, Germany. The beautiful route we took, part of which was via the famous German Alpine Road¬†(Deutschen Alpenstra√üe), provided us distant views of the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle resting on the mountain side, as well as the baroque-style church pictured above. Saying goodbye to this region of Bavaria was difficult, however we anticipated with excitement what extraordinary places lay ahead!

The drive to Ramsau took all of 3.5 hrs (140 miles), and took us through towns such as Bad Tolz, Waakirchen, and Miesbach, before reaching the final town of the¬†Deutschen Alpenstra√üe, being Inzell. Upon reaching Inzell, we continued a short distance further down windy, narrow roads through towering alpine trees until we reached the tucked-away most extraordinary town of Ramsau, Germany (see our blog post “Ramsau“). Ramsau is a village worth an entire blog post!

Below are a few photos of Ramsau, including the seldom witnessed/explored Church of Saint Sebastian.

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Playing in the Alps!

Ramsau to Lake Königssee

The drive from Ramsau to Lake¬†K√∂nigssee is short, a mere 30 minutes to be exact. Lake K√∂nigssee (or K√∂nigsee) lies a couple of miles south of the town of Berchtesgaden and boasts to be Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake.¬†Most of the lake is within the Berchtesgaden National Park.

To properly experience this Lake and all it offers, one must embark on the electric boat which glides across the water to the baroque-style pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä, located on a peninsula about halfway down the western lake shore.

IMG_9146Backing up to the electric boat ride: during the approximate 45 minute drift to St. Bartholom√§, the guests aboard the vessel will witness the echo-creating rock walls which surround portions of the Lake. “Echo-creating” rock walls which allow for the trumpeter aboard to play his flugelhorn¬†to demonstrate just how “echo-creating” the rock walls really are. The flugelhorn melody reverberates up to seven times! It seems as if there are seven trumpeters, rather than just the one (just an interesting side note).

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Arrival at the dock to visit the pilgrimage church of St. BartholomäIMG_9158
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Lake Königssee
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Taking a break at the on-site M√ľnchner Hofbr√§uhaus

Another side note/word of caution: due to the steep shore of Lake Königssee, St. Bartholomä and the southern edge can only be reached by boat, or via hiking trails up the surrounding mountains. The only exception to this is during harsh winters when the Lake freezes over Рbut of course with any frozen lake, caution is advised! Stepping on the frozen Lake, could result in a very, very cold bath, or worse. This happened in 1964 when a motorist thought it might be safe to drive his Volkwagen Beetle across the Lake to reach St. Bartholomä. The Beetle was found in 1997 at a depth of 100 m (330 ft). So, in short Рdo not walk (or drive) on frozen lakes!

To end our journey in Bavaria, we took a hike along the Konigsee + Obersee , Parque Nacional de Berchtesgaden trail. Such natural beauty surrounding our every step as we ventured into the alpine forest.

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Slovenia : Part 1 – Lake Bled

Lake Bled, Slovenia is without a doubt at the top of our ‘to-travel’ destinations!¬†Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia, where it adjoins the town of Bled.

From the moment we entered Slovenia, we were in awe of the natural beauty as well as the Eastern European vibe – something almost otherworldly about this fantastic county existed – it was wonderful!

We arrived in Slovenia via crossing over the northernmost Italy/Slovenia border, which turned out to be somewhat of an other worldly experience – there were no immigration officials, no cameras for security. . . completely opposite from every other border we’ve traversed, especially in Europe! Nothing was in place to check any travelers from moving from one side to the other. Well, nothing but an abandoned immigration control station which looked as if it hadn’t been occupied since 1970.

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Italia/Slovenian Border Crossing (Vacant Border Station Up Ahead)

MAP - border of Italy and SloveniaThe route from the small town of Tarvisio, Italy to¬†Rateńće, Slovenia then to Lake Bled was absolutely stunning – with antiquity surrounding us, through what appeared to be an endless route of vacant properties and villages.

 

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Departing Tarvisio, Italy on the Via Vittorio Veneto Road en route to Rateńće, Slovenia

 

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the border crossing and Lake Bled. Enjoy!

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The traditional Pletna boat
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Just a wolf pup – friendly as can be!

 

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Lake Bled and view of Bled Castle

 

 

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Lake Bled and view of Bled Castle
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The primary establishment on the island is none other than the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja), built in the 17th century
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Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja)
Ojstrica hike - Lake Bled photo collage J & L
(Before and after photos of our hike up the Osojnica trail) – it was difficult! Straight up it seemed!

 

After such a grueling hike, a much needed relaxation was in order at the lovely Triglav Hotel.

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Beautiful Hotel Restaurant on Lake Bled
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Beautiful Hotel Restaurant on Lake Bled

The trains move slow in this area of Slovenia, or don’t come at all . . .

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Awaiting the slow-moving train which never came