Thursday, January 01, 2009

#360 Christmas with the Germans

No one does Christmas like the Germans. That’s what my sister has been telling me, so we went to see for ourselves. Kathy and Mark moved to Wiesbaden (birthplace of John McEnroe) in October, so they had plenty of time to find a home, move out of temporary housing, start a new job, and plan our holiday vacation.
We took the train south to Bavaria (just steps away from the Austrian border) to visit two castles, Germany's most popular attractions. Thousands of visitors come each day in the summer to see the castle that inspired Cinderella's castle at Disneyland. Christmas week is definitely a better time to visit! Schloss Neuschwanstein (new swan stone palace) is visible from Schloss Hohenschwangau (castle of the high swan county). These two castles were built by father and son, each Bavarian kings. Neuschwanstein was built by the son in homage to the operas of Richard Wagner and the rooms are decorated according to each opera or story.
We also took a road trip on the autobahn to visit two of Germany's medieval walled cities - Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl - both on the Romantic Road. We enjoyed the German Christmas Museum with its giant nutcracker, the bratwurst and other wursts, the spaetzle, the strudel, the Riesling, the Hefeweizen, the efficient German rail service, the German Christmas markets, the German word for five, saying Gesundheit in its native land, seeing the Christmas tree in its native land, the artistic tombstones, and the outstanding German hospitality.
In addition to our family (who sort of have to), we were welcomed especially well by the train conductor, the train dining car staff, the Fussen bus driver, the Fussen taxi driver, and the non-English-speaking Dinkelsbuhl restaurant staff.

Yours in planning a return trip,

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