So when Rach and I found out we had a longer weekend than expected last week we rented a car and hit the road to see the country we're living in for two months! We started in Hannover, worked our way down to Rothenburg, Fussen, and ended in Munich. It was such a blast, so enjoy the photo's and stories!
Before we came over Rachael said, "Matt, why don't we rent a BMW and drive down to Munich so you can visit them too." Well, after I composed myself I thanked her and knew, like never before, that we was indeed the woman for me. So we rented a car, put in our request for a Bimmer, and got this beautiful C200 CDI made by Mercedes! It took me a while to laugh too...
At any rate the car was beautiful and was more than gracious when I pushed it to 210 km/hr (130 mph) on the Autobahn.
We arrived in Rothenburg, which is along the Romantische Straße, a drive throughout central and southern Germany comprised of towns preserving the tastes and history of the Romantic Era. We didn't do the entire drive, but we highly recommend Rothenburg. Our guide was this charming (and quite attractive) brunette that spoke English with almost no accent at all. Although she got most of her material from a Rick Steves' book, the self-guided walking tour we took was the perfect stroll through this great town. Now that I think about it, this guide looked, acted, and even sounded exactly like Rachael...hmmm.
So, as Rachael and I walked around we couldn't help but think, "Wow, Disney sure did a great job on this place." It really looked so perfect and well preserved that it seemed fake. We strolled, ate pastries, had a nice Italian (early) dinner, strolled some more, explored paths and streets off of the walking trail, then ended the night in a Pub on a dark back road. Our guide had read that on Wednesdays this pub had an English speaking group night. They would apparently meet at a big table in the back and chat it up and drink beer. Well, we thought we could at least add to conversation, so we went on our way. After showing up and not hearing any English coming from the back we decided to leave. Then we turned around, went back in, and got a table for two just for the experience of a little German pub and meal. Well, as it turns out we sad right next to the English table... It consisted of a lot of dull, sporadic, and all male conversation. Nothing inappropriate, just boring. We loved our table for two, and even got artistic.
Our guide in from of the Town Square.
Stairway in town hall.
One of Walt's towers.
View from the city wall gardens.
In another time...
Art at the pub. Gross, huh?
After a perfect breakfast in the back nook of our place in Rothenburg we hit the road and headed for the castles. Just outside Fussen, set on the slope of the Bavarian Alps lie the palaces of Maximilian and Ludwig. Schloss Schwangau was this beautiful yellow building, pictured below from our hotel room window. After a long story the old castle was bought by Maximilian and turned into what you see now. It was a beautiful building inside and out with may original artifacts from the 17th century. We then ventured on a tour of the grand palace commissioned by Ludwig. Neuschwanstein was incredible inside and out. Unfortunatley there are no pictures allowed within either castle. But it was magnificent! The attention to detail and complete creativity were amazing. So rich, colorful, and spectacular. It's worth seeing.
After the tours we hit the road for Austria. Knowing that it was just a few minutes up the road we wanted to say we had set foot in Austria. It turns out that the first town, Ruette, purposely restricted property and business ownership for people who did not plan on being year round residents. With tourist hotspots so close, they didn't want to fall prey to the seasonal life of many of the other cities on the German side of the mountains. What this meant for us was no real good photo opp or extremely "Austrian" experience. So in the pictures below we have compiled the proof of our visit. Exhibit A) The tag the German gas station before the border insisted we needed to drive into Austria. I didn't, nor do I still, believe this was necessary. I hope she enjoys her cut of the 7 Euro I paid. Exhibit B) The quick shot of the border sign through the car window as we crossed. Exhibit C) The text that came to my mobile welcoming me to the country, and informing me on how to spend a lot of money on calls there. And Exhibit D) The only sign we saw that said Austria in German. What seems to be a local beer distributor or something... Say what you will, WE WERE IN AUSTRIA... For about 10 minutes. It was great.
After our Austrian excursion we wandered the main plaza in Fussen and settled in for a hearty Germany meal. Rachael had the rack of ribs, and I the half chicken. We both had the side baked potatoe, which came with as much sour cream as it did potatoe. The meal was huge and awesome. We left content and very full!
View of the Alpinsee from Schwangau.
View of Neuschwanstein from Schwangau.
That darn sun was in the trickiest spot for a decent picture.
Rachael's battle stick from the hike. She really got in touch with her "outsidey" side.
Beautiful shot of the river and alps in Ruette, Austria.
Our (BIG) meal in Fussen.
Now for the real palace!
This was the dream come true of a recent owner and new addict. We drove strait from the Romantic road, via the Autobahn, to the home of the Ultimate Driving Machine.
After attempting unsuccessfully to get spots for a plant tour online, we made it a point to see what was doable there in person. After talking to a couple different information hosts, one was able to give us the hint of coming back 10 minutes before the one and only English tour left later that day. So, we took his advice. In the meantime we, per Rachael's request, drove across the highway over the to Munich olympic stadium parking lot for the weekend swap meet. Although little was purchased, we both agreed that this is the best place to get a feel for the people of a city... To see the junk they acquire, then try to sell. It was really fun.
We then headed back to BMW Welt and took a tour of their new, incredible building, with hosts many cars on display, interactive media describing new technologies, and the meeting point for new owners and their new cars. Someday I will be one of those lucky luck folks. Afterward we crossed the street to the BMW Museum and really enjoyed the walk through the history, design, and experience of BMW. We each had our favorite rooms and cars. That led us up to the moment of truth...were we going to get in to a plant tour!? Good news...4 people didn't pick up their tickets and we got dibs on two! We were so lucky... The plant was amazing. Incredibly clean, automated, and professional. Aside from seeing my favorite 3er's in production, I loved the fact that my quant and operations classes actually became relevant during the tour! It was cool to see my education and my favorite cars come together... Enough of that though. Let's talk about vanity and materialism. I want a BMW, I want it soon, and I want it to be really really nice. So, in a nutshell, this trip was the best and worst thing for my future BMW aspirations. It completely solidified the dream, yet raised its cost significantly. Cue Wayne and the "Oh yes, it will be mine" quote...
For dinner we took a recommendation to visit the Hofbraeuhaus for dinner and a "Bavarian" beer garden experience. So, if you aren't already... Picture the nice little Mormon newlyweds on their way to a beer garden. Yeah, it's a little funny. We lucked out though... As we entered the mass chaos I was able to hear an American accent and confirmed that the chaos was organized. You would just wander and seat yourself, then enjoy beer and the evening with whoever was around! Well, the owner of that American accent, Kathy from Madision, WI, invited us to join them and they scooted down. She was there with her son and his friend from high school who was an exchanged student from Germany, both now in their mid-20's. Further down the table was Oscar, a very large, very drunk, and very spilled on Germany man who wouldn't let Kathy alone. There was also a nice middle-age couple from Germany. We really enjoyed the company, swapped stories, and got a great little German lesson. As the night progressed and my soda ran low, the American kid, after one of many many Prost's (toasts, cheers) started to pour his beer into my mug. Well, needless to say is aim was impaired and I wore most of it... As Rachael gauged my reaction I decided, "You know, I either dry out here, or on the drive home, so what the heck." So, if there wasn't going to be any beer IN me...then maybe a little on me isn't so bad... From there a new set of folks joined our little crew. A group who spoke little to no English, but very charming and a lot fun. We learned a few German drinking songs and just enjoyed the company. Before we left, one of the new women (in her 60's) was able to discern that Rachael and I were a young and new couple. She then proceed, with my attention elsewhere, to tell Rachael how to keep things, well, spicy over the internet if we are ever long distance. It was really really funny... She also informed Rachael of her credentials as a woman who had been married 3 times, so she must really understand men. I hope you see the contradiction as well :)
The "4 cylinder" and the museum from Welt.
Amazing matte silver M6.
Rach and her Isletta.
Listening to different M engined rev...
The M power room.
The happy couple... Me because of the incredible day, Rachael because now she'll be the object of my affection again.
Schweinehacksen! We decided my expression is one of determination and fear.
This was our day of Munich. We loved the sights, the culture, and the people. It was a really fun day around Munich just sightseeing and enjoying the local markets and architecture. Enjoy the pics! And yes, we did make sure we at least got a picture in some native garb... You'll have to ask Rachael about her dress. She looooooved it! I tried to convince her that the outfits could be that thing that in like 15-20 years Mom and Dad (Rach and Matt) pull out on holidays and that our children hate. That's a good rationale for a purchase, right? Well, we opted out...they were charging a premium. But we've got the memories.
Rach's favorite door.
Left: The cathedral that houses the above door.
What could have been...
I then drove really really fast again on the Autobahn and loved it!