Thursday, September 4, 2008

Alan and Cyane

Alan and Cyane have been your hosts for this blog trip, Summer of 2008.
We thank you for visiting the site.
Updates will be less often now that we are back in the US, but we will continue to add photos and share information.
We will be back on the road in the future!


Munich has a controversial new Jewish Museum and Synagogue, new in 2007. The Museum does not have a lot in it. The Synagogue looks like a fortress and was not open when we visited. We wanted to learn more about the past of Munich, an important center for WWII history.
Lennart, owner of the fantastic classical music store Die Zauberflote near the opera, generously spent a lot of time talking to us about music, Wagner, and history. We generously bought a lot of his CDs!
Cherub warriors on the Dom/Cathedral of Munich.

Landsberg am Lech

We spent the last night of the bike trip at Landsberg am Lech, picked because that was the end of our route that particular day. The Lech at Landsberg is a mighty river that has been harnessed since Roman times for power and trade.
The Bayerische Tor is one of about 7 towers from the original city wall. It dates to the 1420's.
This rebuilt mill is used as an apartment building. The Lech canal runs right on the other side.
As we walked around Landsberg, we gradually found small and hidden signs of its importance in past history. Landsberg had become a cult center for the Nazis as it was the place where Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf." It also was one of the cities where work camps for prisoners from Dachau were brought during WWII. About 30,000 prisoners were brought to construct underground bunker factories to build bombers. About 15,000 of them died in the work camps. This small sign on a bike path was the only sign we could find of that part of Landsberg's history. We left determined to learn more. This sign means "Memorial Place" and probably refers to the concentration work camps for the Jews brought from Dachau.

Fuessen north along the Lech River

Neuschwanstein was about the most southern point reached on the bike trip. We turned north along the Lech River from Fuessen. This turned out to be a major route for cycling, with several national routes on the bike sign below.
One is the Via Claudia Augusta, which follows the Roman trading road that followed the River Lech. There were signs explaining that archeological excavations had uncovered Roman factories! The route also brought the early church missionaries, such as seen below.
Some lovely managed forests...
A jeweled church from the 1700's on a side road.
Many farms had extensive solar panels on their barns.


The most well known castle of King Ludwig is Neuschwanstein, seen below. It is inspired by Richard Wagner's operas and is filled with images from them. It was enormously expensive and Ludwig died (or was murdered) before it was completed. The government started admitting visitors 5 weeks after Ludwig's death and the stream has only grown. It is said that this castle inspired Walt Disney's images.
The castle was designed to be seen from a distance. Close-up it is plain and almost barren.
The view of the rising Alps and neighboring Hohschwangau castle where Ludwig grew up, is stunning.
The castle is situated right above a stunning gorge with waterfall and sheer dropoffs.
View looking back from the lake at Neuschwanstein in the distance.

Schloss Linderhof: King Ludwig's Cottage

This part of the trip was about visiting some of the castles erected by King Ludwig II, who died in 1886. He was straightjacketed politically during his reign and instead spent his time and vast sums of money building elaborate castles. We joked that he had built the foundation of tourism in Bavaria as his lasting legacy.
Elaborate over-the-top mythological statues, with little overt religious reference.
Extensive and varied use of the abundant water supplies of the area for fountains. This one has terraced fountains coming down the mountainside, ending with torrents gushing from the noses of Neptune's stallions.
Extensive use of bedding annual plants for bold color patterns and clipped hedges.
Although pretty nutty, the overall effect is pleasing. Ludwig was flamboyant and spent way too much money but did manage in the end to create enticing designs. At least the millions of international visitors who pour through these castles every year find them so!

Up Into the Alps

We turned right at Oberammergau and followed a bikepath along a stream toward the Austrian border.

The highest point was 1,082 meters.
Downhill was mostly paved.

The Southern Bavarian Foothills

The foothills of the Alps in southern Bavaria is a lovely region.
There are numerous springs, such as shown here coming out of a wooden spout.

When we left the valley floor, the bikeway turned into a forest path.

A Little Jaunt South of Munich

After Bayreuth, Alan and Cyane took the train to south of Munich for a little bicycle route to the beginning of the Alps. We set out on the last day of August and the morning mists of Bavaria whispered of the coming fall.
Cool apartment building next to the bike path.
Fall crocuses blooming unexpectedly in a field under an oak tree.
As we climbed the limestone hills south of Munich, we passed a deer farm. A very elaborate deer farm.

What to Do Outside the Opera House in Bayreuth While Waiting for the Opera, Part A

Dress like a Rhine Maiden...
Imitate Siegfried...
Strut your stuff...
People watch.

What to Do Outside the Opera House in Bayreuth While Waiting for the Opera, Part B

Look debonair...
Engage in really good conversation...
Parade your power....
Fasten your corset...
Rush for the opera.

What to Do Outside the Opera House in Bayreuth While Waiting for the Opera, Part C

Show your colors...
Catch up on gossip...
Stage an elaborate picnic...