The Bavarian dream

I had been meaning to go to Germany, specifically the Bavaria region, for a very long time. And so, when my brother’s girl told me that she will be doing a student exchange in Nuremberg, I told myself that this was the time to finally do it. Here is an overview of our 5 days in this wonderful place. Spoiler alert: I was not disappointed and no picture below does justice to the actual views!

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My crew 🙂

Lofer, Austria

Okay, technically this doesn’t have anything to do with Bavaria and Germany! But let me explain. We arrived on Friday evening in Nuremberg, and we all wanted to go for a weekend in the countryside, enjoy the great outdoors. We tried to look up some accommodation in the vicinity of Berchtesgaden, which is a town in the Bavarian Alps. However we found a much cheaper apartment in Lofer, which is a small town in the district of Salzburg, and is almost on the border with Germany and very close to the Bavarian Alps.

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Getting to Lofer…

 

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Somewhere on the Austria – German border

After a three hour car drive, where we had to stop several times to take photos and capture the beauty of nature, we arrived in this small town. Our apartment was located in the middle of nowhere, with just a few houses scattered all around, and little goats grazing on the grass nearby. A short walk later, we were in the middle of this ghost town, trying to look for an open restaurant to eat in. No words can describe what we experienced on that day. The serenity of this place is something that I will treasure in my heart, as it is such a rare find in our busy, modern world we live in today. Later that night we ended up at the Krampus festival, which was a whole new experience on its own. You can read more about it here… weird tradition but interesting to see!

Here are some shots to sum up our day in Lofer:

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Romantic Road

The next morning, we got back in the car, drove back to Germany, and got into what is called the Romantic Road. This is a 350km road in the South of Germany which goes through small towns and cities, as well as through the typical Bavarian scenery, with mountains, forests, castles and lakes.

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The Romantic Road… driving in the middle of that 😉

Neuschwanstein castle

This 19th century Bavarian castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and in Europe. It is said that Walt Disney was inspired from this castle in order to design his Magic Kingdom. We did not go in the castle, as you need to be with a tourguide to go inside and the English tours are not that frequent. However, going up the hill and gazing at both the castle and the majestic view beneath it is definitely worth it. You can go up the hill either on foot, by bus or in a horse pulled wagon.

We opted to go on foot, good to burn the extra calories you get after eating all those bratwurst 🙂 But also, good because you enjoy the view bit by bit as you go up the hill. Once you get to the castle, take a few pictures and continue walking on the ring road, where you will end up on a bridge. Not really sure where that bridge leads, but most people go on it to see the castle in all its glory, surrounded by lakes, greenery and mountains.

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The castle, up close and personal
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The bridge that will make you feel the magic of this place
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Might be a bit overcrowded, but still worth it 😉
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Because you get to see… this!

Nuremberg

On Monday, we returned back to our place of origin, Nuremberg. This is the second largest city in the Bavarian region, after Munich. We were there in December, and so the city was dominated by Christmas markets. Nuremberg is said to have one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany, hence why we opted to visit during that time. You can read more about it here.

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The biggest Christmas market in Nuremberg
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A carousel in another, smaller Christmas market

Apart from the Christmas markets, which are spread all along the place, Nuremberg is a student city. It can be pretty quiet, but it comes alive during Christmas. We spent the first day wandering around the pretty cobbled streets, picturesque bridges, squares, churches and all that comes with these cute German villages. You can also wander to the castle grounds for a breathtaking view of the city. A lot of cafeterias can be found in the city centre, and they make for superb breaks to get you through the day. A Bavarian traditional restaurant placed in an old pub alongside the canal is a good way to finish your day, with traditional dishes and atmosphere.

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Everyday views in Nuremberg

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The old pub that houses one of the traditional Bavarian restaurants

While walking around, you might stumble upon this weird but interestingly beautiful fountain. It is called Ehekarussell, which plots the course of a love relationship, from dating to death. The artist is Jürgen Weber and the fountain was completed in the early 1980s. Many people had various opinions about it, but needless to say, due to its gruesome depiction of relationships, it did not get a lot of love.

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The Ehekarussell fountain
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The gruesome end of a relationship…

Just outside the central station, there is the Handwerkerhof, which is the craft market. It is very small, and set in a medieval ambience, but it is good for buying artisan, locally made souvenirs.

If you are keen on museums, Nuremberg has its fair share. Being the birthplace of Albrecht Durer, who was a painter, printmaker and theorist during the German Renaissance, you can see many references to his life and work throughout the whole city. You can also visit his house, which includes some of his paintings.

The Nazi rally grounds are found on the outside of Nuremberg. The north wing of the congress hall has been transformed into a Documentation Centre which is a permanent exhibition giving a detailed overview of the dictatorship as well as the Party Rallies.

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A local pub in the Handwerkerhof
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A memorial for Albrecht Durer, in the vicinity of his house
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At the Documentation centre, Nazi Party Rally grounds

All in all, these five days were full of what is amazing in life – nature, food, tiny cobbled streets, a little bit of history, and most of all good vibes and laughter. Bavaria and its neighbouring towns, definitely did not disappoint. So until next time, Auf Wiedersehen!

‘Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.’ Dr. Seuss

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