Part I: Return to Bavaria

Part I: Return to Bavaria

Despite all that has happened, it seems just like yesterday, but as it turns out, it has been 15 years since I first stepped foot into Germany. In retrospect, it was a life-altering excursion while also providing lifelong friendships. After 10 years since I was last in Bavaria, Kim and I returned at the behest of Bene, learning he was to soon marry his fiance Julia. We started in Munich, working our way through Augsburg, Ulm, Fussen, Schoengeisig, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen before rounding out our journey through Austria and back to my home-away-from-home, Landsberg.

Bavaria holds a special place for me: the food, culture, architecture, landscape–all of it resonates deeply for me. While the crowds of Europe tend to stay in the likes of Rome and Paris, there are still some beautiful places in Bavaria that are mostly untrammeled. Or so I thought. It seems that the rest of the world has discovered the Gemütlichkeit and crowds that were non-existent 15 years ago have shown up. Nevertheless, having great friends and off the beaten path places to stay, I hope you can see a little different side of the Fatherland.


Neuschwanstein and Andechs Brewery

Famous the world over, Neuschwanstein castle outside of Fussen in the Bavarian alps was the inspiration for the Disney castle and serves as an important icon in Bavaria not only because of it’s beauty, but also as a standing monument to the spending and lavishness of King Ludwig II. Alex, Peter, Kim and I made our way from the overcrowded tourist scene to Andechs Brewery and Monastery. Brewing beer for hundreds of years, the monastery overlooks the large lakes outside Landsberg/Munich as well as affording views to the alps. What more could you ask for?


Kim and I had enough time to spend a day exploring Munich, which in my opinion, is one of the best cities in Europe. Between the food, arts, history, and other goodies, it’s always a pleasure to revisit. This time we visited the new BMW World and the BMW museum along with the Munich Residence, a palace turned museum with all the finishes and fixtures of past royalty.


One of the more amazing aspects of the German people is their ownership of their history. While many other nations (ours included) want to pretend that atrocities did not happen or will destroy evidence of such events, the Germans have embraced their catastrophic history as a warning for current and future generations. Kim and I visited Dachau, one of the hundreds of concentration camps located in Germany, that now stands as a monument to the holocaust. While absolutely crushing and disturbing to tour, now more than ever it is important to check ourselves and be aware of casting our neighbors as ‘others’ and creating false enemies.


In a strange coincidence of timing, our friend Stefan from Santa Fe happened to be in Stuttgart. We decided to split the difference and visit a city neither of us had been to before: Ulm. Located on the Danube, Ulm is famous for the tallest cathedral in the world (currently) and it’s funky Fishing Disrtict.

Alright, Part II will be into the Alps. See you then.