Oops, it’s been a while. We’re in Sarzana, Italy with my parents and we haven’t had strong internet for the past week and a half, so it was tough to post. We are hopping on a train today to spend the night in Pisa, then on to Rome tomorrow, which I’m pretty excited about since I’ve never been. I wanted to finish up our time in Bavaria, since it was so memorable.
We weren’t sure about taking this housesitting since it was for two whole weeks and it was during the time my parents were going to be in Europe. It turned out to be a really great decision though, especially since my parents ended up driving us to Munich, and then we met back up with them after the assignment was over. Our host in Germany also let us use her automatic car, which made a big difference, since we were able to explore a lot of Bavaria. Besides the incredible hike we went on complete with beer and pretzels near the top of the mountain and some beautiful runs on the trails near the house we were sitting, there were multiple other highlights as well.
Visiting Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace, according to Wikipedia, is the “smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.” King Ludwig II seems to be quite the interesting character, and Jeremy and I decided to pay to take a tour of the palace, something we rarely do as budget travelers. Ludwig took over the throne in Bavaria at 18, and he built elaborate castles (we visited another one of his castles, Neuschwanstein) before he was mysteriously found dead in a lake at age 41. He also had a strong fascination with Wagner, which influenced parts of the palace we toured.
We couldn’t take any pictures of the inside of the palace (even though Jeremy tried to sneak one and got caught!), but you can see some of the rooms online. The most interesting room to us was the dining room, where there was a table that Ludwig would eat at alone and the table had a pulley system (called “Tischlein deck dich”), so the table would lower into the staff’s quarters and they would make up the table and put food on it, and raise it back up to where Ludwig was sitting. There was also a big mirror in front of the table, so that Ludwig was dining with himself every time he ate. The tour guide didn’t say this, but on Wikipedia it says that the staff had to make up the table for four people, and Ludwig would have imaginary conversations with them while he ate.
Another really interesting part of the palace was the grotto, which Ludwig had built for him. People would put on Wagner operas for him in this man-made grotto, and he would sit in this big clam shell and they pushed him around in the water. He was the only spectator of the opera.
Day Tripping: Salzburg, Austria
I really wanted to visit Austria since I’d never been, and we decided to visit Salzburg (even though Innsbruck was a little closer) for the day, where Sound of Music was filmed. It was about a two-hour drive, and it wasn’t bad. We had to buy a permit to drive in Austria, but nobody checked it. It was a little nerve-wracking to drive in Salzburg, as it is in any city really, but luckily I only got massively honked at by a line of cars once. And we missed the turn for the parking lot two times and kept circling around the city in our big old Volvo station wagon, and ended up pulling into the parking lot of Augustiner Bräu monastery/brewery. It was perfect. We had to wait a little while for them to start serving beer, so we walked around town a bit.
We headed back to the brewery to get some food and delicious beer, straight from the barrels.
Jeremy and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary by exploring Starnberger See, a big lake nearby with lots of cute towns around it. This is also the lake where King Ludwig was found dead. We ate dinner at a nice restaurant in our little town, outside overlooking the local lakes.
Our housesitting host gave us some suggestions on things to do around Iffeldorf, and visiting Kloster Andechs was high on her list, with good reason. It is another monastery that brews beer, and it’s location on the top of a hill makes for really nice views while you sit outside and enjoy a liter of beer. You can also hike up there from a neighboring town which takes about an hour, but both times we went it was late so we just drove up to it.
We had such a good time in Bavaria, I do feel like I could live there. The cats we were taking care of didn’t warm up to us too much, but they were still nice to have around for the most part.
Does anyone have any tips on places to eat or whatnot in Rome?