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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Ramsau – Quintessential Village in the Bavarian Alps

We found it. An off the beaten path destination that stole our hearts. That made time feel as if it stood still. Tucked away in the Bavarian Alps lies the quiet, little, quintessential, dream-like village of Ramsau.  Our timing of arriving in this village could not have been more perfect. We got to feel like locals as we were there when the annual Maibaumfest was taking place. There were no swarms of tourists, making one feel as though you were a part of the town. We stood among the villagers as we watched the local men use wooden stilts to lift up the towering may pole. This daunting task took close to an hour. We watched in wonder as our hearts danced to the sound of the German music playing all around us. The accordion, French horn and, euphonium played loudly, and I felt happiness fill my soul with each note that played. Everyone, from young to old, was dressed in their lederhosen and dirndls.

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One of my favorite moments of that day was sneaking off away from the festivities to explore the village. We had it to ourselves, as everyone was at the Maibaumfest, and it felt like we were in a ghost town. Just us. No greater feeling than to have a place all to yourselves to explore! After walking through the small town and peeking in to the old church, we made our way across the bridge that took us to the other side of the gently-streaming river. I will never forget sitting on the wooden bench and staring at the iconic view of the river and bridge in the foreground and the beautiful, white church in the background, and the Bavarian Alps, covered in snow, completing the picturesque scene. It was then that I felt very present, and I wanted that moment to last forever. How I long for the day when we return to this place where time stood still!

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“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ~Pascal Mercier

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