Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Safely Back in Oz

Zero to thirty-five degrees celsius..... These are the extremes of temperatures we survived after our long trip home from Bavaria. Thankfully, everything went relatively smoothly and all our luggage - and children - arrived back home safely.

Arriving back in Australia, we could not help but be struck by the heat and humidity. Jetlag did not help, either! We are STILL recovering. We loved our holiday, however it was an enormous relief to know that we were finally back to family, friends and pets. At last, we don't have to mime and ask, "Do you speak any English?". Stores sell our favourite foods,  credit cards are accepted as payment, the smell of summer stone fruit fills the air and people mow their lawns in the balmy afternoon.

Now it is back to the reality of unpacking, washing all our clothes and getting ready for work and a new school year. We know the memories of our "holiday of a lifetime" will last forever and we thank all those who made it special for us. We all have different favourite places and memories but that is the unique gift that travel brings. We feel very blessed.

Farewell from the Robinsons in "The Land Down Under"!           Tricia

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Auf Wiedersehen und Vielen Dank, Bayern

With only one more sleep to go, tonight we prepare to say good-bye and thank you to Bavaria. This morning,we were blessed with a special parting gift - a fresh fall of snow!

It was wonderful to wake this morning to a white blanket of snow covering the fields and houses of Hopferau. The children raced outside to make their mark and build a snowman. With each fall of snow, they have become quicker and cleverer at constructing them.

After relishing in a much welcomed snowfall, we all headed off for a drive to Oberstdorf, before Brett Snr and I raced back to Fussen for some last-minute shopping and a look through St Mang's Church. We have found that so many of the chuches here are simple externally but surprisingly spectacular inside. By the afternoon, most of the snow had disappeared. However, our spirits were raised by one more homely welcome and delicious dinner at our local Gasthof Hirsch.

A Robinson Snowman in Hopferau

St Mang's Church, Fussen

St Mang's Church

Ornate paintings and sculptures, St Mang's Church

The Robinsons say goodbye at Gastof Hirsch, Hopferau
Tomorrow, we will head into Munich around lunchtime. Snow is predicted overnight in Hopferau, but we have learnt not to rely too heavily on the weather reports! We pray that all our flights will go smoothly. We are really looking forward to arriving back in Oz. Thank you to all of you who have followed our blog. We will post one more time once we have settled back home. Vielen dank und auf  wiedersehen!        Tricia

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Oberammergau & Neuschwanstein Revisited

It is sad to think our time in Bavaria is nearly at an end. We have tried to make the most of our last week here, while still enjoying the ability to relax and be part of our lovely local community.

Yesterday, we drove via Hopfen am See and other scenic Bavarian towns to Oberammergau. Oberammergau is probably most famous for its Passion Plays. These have been performed by over 2,000 of Oberammergau's townsfolk every ten years since the 17th century, as a gift to thank God for saving them from the Beubonic  Plague. It is also famous for its intricate wood carvings. Most of the buildings are painted with decorative pictures and its Church of Sts Peter and Paul is simply stunning inside. We enjoyed browsing the shops and town, before savouring a late morning tea of German cheesecake and other sweet treats. We then drove back home via the pretty ski towns of Garmisch and Lermoos.

Today, Brett took the children taboganning at Tegelbergbahn in the morning, before he and I returned for another tour of Neuschwanstein Castle in the afternoon. With the snow now sadly depleted, the castle didn't look quite as resplendent as the other day when it towered over a winter wonderland. However, we were keen to view it from Marien Bridge, which was closed on our last visit. The view from Marien Bridge, a teetering iron structure strung between two cliffs, was beautiful. Nevertheless, it was a bit nerve-wracking and so after a few quick shots, we were on our way back down the mountain.

Hopfen am See

Beautiful reflections at Hopfen am See


Wood carving shop at Oberammergau

Decorative buildings of Oberammergau - above and below

Sts Peter and Paul Church, Oberammergau

Stunning interior of Oberammergau's Sts Peter and Paul Church

Ceiling, Oberammergau Sts Peter and Paul Church

Church organ, Oberammergau

Looking towards a snow-depleted Schwangau

Marien Bridge, opposite Neuschwanstein Castle

View of Neuschwanstein from Marien Bridge

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau
Some snow is predicted to fall just before we leave on Friday, so we will keep our fingers crossed. It certainly would be a perfect ending.                       Tricia

Monday, 7 January 2013

Dachau, Munich & Magnificent Zugspitze

The past two days have been busy and filled with a range of emotions, as we have been reminded of the atrocities of war at Dachau as well as experienced the beauty and thrills of Germany's highest peak, Zugspitze. We are now weary travellers but grateful that we have achieved so much.

Yesterday, we drove about an hour and a half to Dachau's former concentration camp site and memorial. Dachau was one of Germany's earliest concentration camps and the only one to exist for the whole twelve years of Nazi domination. Its grounds and memorial were a sad and emotional reminder of man's inhumanity to man and the tragic suffering that occurred under Hitler's rule.

After Dachau, we headed into Munich to visit its famous beer hall, Hofbrauhaus. There, we ate some lunch while listening to the music and lively banter. Next to us sat some fellow Aussies, who were also soaking in the atmosphere. From the Hofbrauhaus, we strolled up to Marienplatz in the town centre before polishing off some delicious chocolate fudge brownies at Munich's "Hard Rock Cafe". We really have patronised "Hard Rock" very well on this trip!

Today was a particular highlight, as we visited Germany's highest mountain peak, Zugspitze. At nearly 3,000 metres, it is stunning. On a clear day, you can see over 400 mountains in four different countries, We commenced our journey to the top of Zugspitze on its train, disembarking just before its summit so Brett and the children could enjoy a few hours skiing. I, on the other hand, enjoyed taking photos and  sipping cappuccino as I marvelled at the skiers whizzing past me and disappearing over the edge of the cliff!

Dachau Concentration Camp

Brett Snr and Jnr enjoy a drink at Munich's Hofbrauhaus

Brett Jnr, Brett, Sean and Eloise at Hofbrauhaus, Munich

Eloise, Brett Snr, Brett and Sean at Marienplatz, Munich

Brett and Tricia in Munich's Marienplatz

Brett and Sean at Zugspitze, Germany

Eloise enjoys the sunny skies at Zugspitze

Brett Jnr at Zugspitze

Eloise descends at Zugspitze

Sean at Zugspitze

Brett Jnr begins a run at Zugspitze

Every age enjoyed Zugspitze

Tricia at Zugspitze

Zugspitze's summit

Frozen snapshot at Zugspitze's summit

Brett Snr at Zugspitze's summit
 At the end of our day, we caught the cable car to the summit to take some more photos and enjoy the spectacular views. It was FREEZING! However, only someone with a broken camera or frostbitten fingers could fail to take good photos from up there. Sadly, we had to return to reality - and so we did, by cable car all the way back down to the base. Tomorrow, no doubt, will be a day to recover, before we try to snatch a few more memories from this special part of the world.                  Tricia