This past June, we went back to Bavaria for the first time in nearly 3 years. This vacation was a “compromise”; I wanted to go to Munich and my husband…wanted to go literally anywhere else. So, we planned a road trip to Lake Como in Italy, with stops along the way in Bavaria.
The first day, we drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is known for its well-preserved medieval old town. We had arrived the day before their Whitsun Festival, which is a 4 day long medieval reenactment. Throughout the entire old town, reenactors in colorful costumes were drinking, singing and playing instruments in character, or setting up stands to sell food or handmade gifts. It looked like so much fun, and it hadn’t even officially begun yet! We were both sorely disappointed that we weren’t staying another night.
I was surprised by how many Americans we came across in Rothenburg. I had no idea it’s a big tourist spot. If I’m being honest, I’d never even heard of this town before my husband suggested it as a stop on our trip. But then I saw the huge tourist buses awkwardly taking up way too much space in Rothenburg’s tiny streets, and it clicked.
They also had a few Christmas shops, which gave me flashbacks to Frankenmuth. I wonder if these shops are specifically catering to American tourists, or if they’re popular with a wide variety of visitors. In addition to Christmas decorations, they were also selling insanely-priced Cuckoo clocks. How insane you ask? Well, how does 1600 Euros for one half the size of a shoebox sound?
Anyway, we will definitely be going back soon to enjoy the festival (not the clocks) in its full glory.
After Rothenburg ob der Tauber, things get a little hazy for me in Bavaria. No, not because we went full immersive Bavarian experience and binge drank. More because this trip was nearly a year ago at this point, and I’ve not had time for anything except studying.
I do, however, remember we were in the Allgäu and we did a lot of hiking. And saw a lot of cows. I was very pleased about the latter, because seeing cows free-roaming in the mountains was basically the entire reason I agreed to the trip. I’ll remind you: I wanted to go to Munich; this was a compromise.
According to my photos on my phone, we did a hike around Oberstdorf. This was my first hiking experience where we had to get in line and pay a fee to get in, which is honestly not helping Bavaria’s “Disney World of Germany” reputation I’ve just made up. Since this was mainly about walking around some waterfalls, there were no cows on this hike. Except for at very the beginning, right near the entrance, where a cow was inexplicably just…there. Did they know I was coming? Was this the welcoming committee? Absolute 10/10 for me; no complaints. Cow was in peak petting distance.
The waterfalls were nice, too, I suppose.
One of our less active days was spent partially at the Allgäuer Bergbauernmuseum. I am pretty sure this attraction is for children; we were the only people there without them. They had some pretty interesting stuff, though, like replicas of the homes, workshops and barns of people who lived and worked in the Allgäu long ago.
If you walk all the way up to the top of the hill, there’s a little hut selling really tasty cake. They also have free-roaming smaller animals, like chickens and lambs.
Another hike we did was in Oberstaufen. I maintain I almost died on this hike. My husband maintains I am a huge wimp. What happened is that I am really bad at descending when it comes to hiking anywhere even a tiny bit steep. Going up? No problem. I’ll be red-faced and sweaty, sure, but I won’t be putting myself in danger. Down is a whole other story, because of my weak knees and ankles.
Thankfully, I survived to get this photo of the waterfall. “Thankfully” is being used loosely, here; it isn’t nearly as pretty as I remember it being.
On this hike, we stopped at a rustic hut for lunch. They served things like venison and a traditional soup called Flädle, which has thin strips of savory pancake. I cannot remember the name and did not take photos, but I can also say that basically every “traditional” restaurant we visited had amazing food. I had a duck salad in a town (Steibis?) that I still think about to this day.
Steibis(?) also had a dairy vending machine, which we definitely need to have here in Wolfsburg. The closest we have is an egg vending machine, which is pretty cool but, at the end of the day, it’s not cheese.
The second half of our trip was spent in Italy; specifically, South Tyrol and Lake Como (no, I didn’t see George). I’ll have a post about that at some point, provided I can crank it out before my next semester starts.