Tuesday, 15 June 2010

June 14th 2010 - 15th June 2010

Monday morning, still pouring with rain. It has rained non-stop for 36 hours, and it is not just light rain, most of the time it has been hammering down, with a couple of thunderstorms thrown in.

I had left a plastic bucket outside, on the bike rack, and when I went to begin loading the bicycles on the bike rack it had about 4" of water in it!

We head north toward Germany and the southern end of the "Romantische Strasse" (Romantic Route).

Our first stopping point is Schwangau, to see the famous Castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

We do not plan to stay here, we just park and walk to see the castles, take the photographs etc.

I have to say I was disappointed.

The castles look like fairy tale German Castles.

But it turns out they are not original, they were built in the early 1800's by "mad" King Ludwig II. 

Ludwig II had two original medievil castles, on the same site, knocked down, in order to build his "pretend" versions.

As if that is not bad enough, he died before they were finished, and they were not even completed to the "original" plan.

To round things off, it begins to pour with rain again as we head back to the campervan parking spaces, and it cost us 7 Euro to park for less than 2 hours!

Rain here is clearly a regular event, the ticket machine for the car park has a sign on it in German, French and English, telling you not to put wet tickets into the machine!

I hope the rest of the "Romantische Strasse" lives up to our expectations.

Rottenbuch/Ammer Terrassen-Camping am Richterbichi ACSI2010-559

First impressions are favourable, usual well organised German site, everything tidy and spotlessly clean, plus free wifi, and the rain has stopped (for now anyway).

One of the "must see" sights (Weiskirche, which to me translates as White Church, but is shown in all of the English literature as The Church in the Meadow), is about 10km away. There is a cycle track. I am working on Kathleen to cycle there, so far, she will not take the bait.

We cycle into the village (Rottenbuch), it is beautiful and has a very impressive church, which as far as I can tell from the information (in German of course), was built around 1450.

Quite what such a small village is doing with such an enormous church is not explained.

Next we cycle towards Weiskirche, but after about 4km there are a few spots of rain, cannot risk getting the hair wet, so we head back (damn, thought I had it in the bag). In the event it does not rain.

Have you noticed by the way, my "portrait" orientation photographs are now showing OK?, don't know why, I have not done anything differently, computers!!

Tuesday, the plan is, if it is not sunny, to go to Oberammergau on the bus, if it is sunny to cycle to Weiskirche.

The weather is on Kathleen's side, although it starts fine, by the time we have had our breakfast, it is looking decidely like rain.

The bus stop is just at the entrance to the campsite, so we present ourselves at the bus stop at 10:25, and sure enough, with German precision, the bus arrives at 10:29.  Oberammergau is about 19km away, and it costs us 14.70Euro return for the two of us. 

It takes about 50 minutes to get there, and we get a tour of the small villages en-route as the bus stops at many of them.

Oberammergau of course is famous for it's Passion Play, which is performed every ten years, and 2010 is a year for the performance. I did look on the internet to see if tickets are available, but they appear to cost something like £200 each, so my enthusiasm waned.

The story of why the Passion Play is performed here every ten years is moderately interesting.

It dates back to the time of the 30 years war (roughly 1620 - 1650). At this time Bubonic Plague (Black Death) swept through Europe and killed  millions of people.

The small village of Oberammergau, did not escape and the survivors vowed they would perform the Passion Play each ten years, in thanks for their survival.

It has been going on more or less ever since, with a few interuptions due to wars, interference from the church, and economic upset.

Over the years (particularly since about 1850), it has become increasingly commercialised and there is now a purpose built venue for the play. The original was performed on a makeshift stage over the mass grave of the plague victims.

As you would expect it is now a full blown tourist industry, complete with shop after shop selling tacky tourist souvenirs, although to be fair, the buildings are beautifully decorated.

Part of the enticement to encourage me to want to come to Oberammergau, was that Kathleen would buy Apple Strudel and Ice Cream. But, Oberammergau, being such a tourist trap, the prices were exhorbitant.

I decided I would not enjoy sitting eating Apple Strudel, if Kathleen was continually complaining about how much it had cost.

Instead we had lunch in a typical German fast food place. They are attached to a shop, so I suppose it is a bit like Carricks, you buy what you want to eat at the counter, and there are sort of high bar tables, where you stand and eat your food.

Kathleen opted for Goulash Soup, which was very good.

I should have had the Bratwurst ( a known quantity), or the Jaegerbrot, which appeared to be a sandwich with a gammon steak in it.

Instead I decided to throw myself in at the deep end, and opted to have Weiswurst (which came with bread and mustard), if you get the opportunity, do not bother.

As it's name suggests, it is a white sausage (which is boiled, it arrived in a small container of hot water), and looked like two dead fingers.

Kathleen was interested to know which part of what animal it must be. I preferred not to think about that until I had it all down! Not to be recommended in my opinion, but you have to try these things to learn.

On our return journey, we were on the School bus, and had to change buses en-route, all very exciting.

I have to own up, the bit about Kathleen not wanting to pay too much for the Apple Strudel was (more or less) made up. I discouraged her from buying it on the basis that we would probably get a superior version for the same or less, at a less touristy place. 

I knew you would not believe that Kathleen was reluctant to spend her money.


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