Soooo I know Danny and I went to Germany over 3 months ago but I’m FINALLY blogging about it! haha I’m also taking the opportunity to show off the new site. What do you think? With the new site comes a new resolution to blog more. So let me kick that off with BAVARIA!

First stop on this virtual trip? Munchen! (Munich).

We arrived on a rainy afternoon and our first point of order was to find our Airbnb. Easier said then done. We downloaded directions form the city center but between the rain, exhaustion, and our complete lack of German knowledge, we definitely got lost. But isn’t that the beauty of traveling? You’re lost almost constantly, but yet the experience wouldn’t be the same without those moments! We probably got lost because I seriously could not stop looking at the incredible architecture.  Munich is a place with rich history and the buildings reflect that. Luckily, we found the right road and our host walking around looking for us! ha! Our next point of order? Finding pretzels and beer, and it was not that difficult. Germany is flooded with beer and people survive by floating on pretzel rafts. I’m not complaining.

The next day we went to Dachau. I mean, what a way to start the trip! Dachau was the 2nd largest concentration camp during ww2 and it was such an honor to walk through it. You enter the camp through the same rod iron door the prisoners did. A door that says, “Work will set you free.” The camp was played off as being a work and re-education camp instead of a prison and torture center. We learned about WW2 in school, but re-learning about what happened behind those walls while being behind those walls was not only heartbreaking but humbling. To see what humans are capable of, both the evil & the resiliency was incredible..  People were taking photos the whole way, but when we walked into the gas chambers, cameras were put down. It just felt disrespectful. The air was thick with the souls that lost their lives in that room. It was definitely an experience we will never forget.

Rachel Rausch Photography travel Rachel Rausch Photography travel

Afterwards we made our way to Nymphenburg Palace for a change of pace. This palace was a summer residence for the royals and holy moly was this place EXTRA! The extravagance stood in stark contrast to the bleak concentration camp from earlier. The entrance hall was adorned in immaculate detail and gold trim.  After moseying around the palace, we met up with some fellow travellers for, you guessed it: bier. A local took us on a beer tour around Munich, and to say Bavarians know how to do beer is an understatement. If you’ve never heard of the Bavarian Purity laws, let me educate you. Back when beer was safer to drink than water, these laws were enacted for breweries. Basically, to brew in Bavaria back in the day, your beer had to be composed of only three ingredients: water, barley, & hops. Many breweries in Bavaria still follow this law. Guys. I was not much of a beer person. That is until we went to Germany. The night consisted of wandering the city and stopping along the way to one of the biggest beer gardens probably ever, to a micro brew where the first time the beer touches air is when they pour it from the tap into your glass (Danny’s favorite), & to a bar where SS officers used to meet.

Rachel Rausch Photography travel

The next day we hopped on a train to a little town not far away called Fussen. Munich was big and bustling while Fussen was quaint and charming. The little town is shadowed by the castle that literally inspired Disney, Neuschwanstein Castle. If you have ever Pinterest search Germany, you have seen this castle. This Castle unfortunately is only partially finished because King Ludwig was killed before he could ever complete it. Because the King felt misunderstood and out of place in the world, he built this castle as a getaway for himself to be alone. Why do you need all that space just for yourself? Who knows, but it seems fitting that he was diagnosed as being insane. There was a theatre room for him to act our plays, performing to nobody. There was a room designed to be a grotto. This cavelike space was complete with stalactites and a water feature. Whether King Lugwig was crazy or just very eccentric, I have no idea, but I’m glad we got to visit this one of a kind castle. I am not a princess kind of gal, I couldn’t help but imagine myself as one as we looked at the magnificent castle. I kept thinking to myself, “This has to be a green screen. They are just tricking us!” But no, this place is real and a must see if in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Rausch Photography travel Rachel Rausch Photography travel

There are many types of travelers: those that consume, those that be, and those that do. I am a traveler that just likes to be. This means I do a lot of meandering. Maybe I’ll have a particular destination in mind, but I’ll spend all day getting there. During our evening in Fussen we simply existed in the town, hopping around to different coffee shops, finding secret embankments along the river, and craning our necks to look at the storybook streets.

As painful as it was to tear ourselves away from Fussen, Austria was calling our names, and a train heading to Innsbruck was leaving in the morning. Innsbruck was Danny’s favorite stop. This Austrian town was set up in the Alps. Surrounded by towering mountains, this city in the sky was where the winter olympics were held in 1964. We got to have coffee atop the ski jump, climb towers, and the highlight of our time there: ride the cable care over a mile into the Alps.

The cable car never seemed to stop climbing upwards and next thing we knew, we were surrounded by the alps. I don’t know why I had green pastures and wild flowers in mind, but we had travelled much too high for that. I was surprised by the harshness of the view and the intensity of the mountain peaks. Thunder would sound and you could feel the vibrations in the air around you making their way into your gut.. Bleak? Yes, but very beautiful.

After a dinner in town by the golden roof and searching for the best streusel ever (don’t worry, we found it) we were ready for a good night’s rest. Innsbruck might have been Danny’s favorite stop, but mine was our next adventure: Salzburg. I was lucky enough to find the perfect little place to stay in Salzburg. We booked a room at the local seminary right next to the house Mozart grew up in. How amazing is that?! The seminary was nestled cozily down town and had the most picturesque courtyard were we ate breakfast each morning. Salzburg was big but quaint, filled with tourist but held a sense of yesteryear.

   

Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart, was where The Sound of Music was filmed, and all that pales to it’s beauty. The city is overlooked by a fort that prevented Salzburg from ever being seized. We actually got to tour it, and Danny’s inner history geek was eating it up! We also got to watch a show at the Marionette theatre which was interesting to say the least. Marionetting (is that a word?) is actually a very impressive art form and is still alive and well here. I had the best pretzel of my life in Salzburg and woke up very early one morning. Why? Pro tip: if you want travel photos without the hoards of tourists, get up early. I was able to have some time to myself and just wandered around. I watched the city wake up for the day and got some sweet photos! One of my favorite places was Hellbrunn Palace. The palace itself was modest (well, for a palace). The lure is it’s trick fountains. There were chairs that sprout water into the bottoms of guests and grotto room with hidden showers. I can only imagine being a guest at the palace and having the time of my life being surprised by fountains (which used to be a modern invention! I know, hard to believe) everywhere I went.

I was so sad to leave Salzburg and hope to return one day. But our final stop was Nuremberg, and the history geek I was traveling with was eager to check it out 😉 I don’t know if it was the more gothic-like architecture or the hovering of a dark history, but Nuremberg definitely had a different feel to it. It’s energy was a little rougher. Nuremberg is where Hitler had established his headquarters, and the city seemed almost haunted by this, but maybe that’s just the perspective of a tourist.

Take it from us: hostels are not always what they seem online. Our highly rated hostel was AWEFUL! it smelled of cigarette smoke and our bunk mates either stunk of BO or snored-like really loud. Our first night in Nuremberg was spent avoiding our hostel! But blessings always seem to come in disguise while traveling. We ended up going on a long walk and right as were were about to accept our fate and head back I heard some music. “Let’s go find it!” I said trying to not spend a second longer than necessary sleeping above strangers. Our ears lead us to a beer garden with awesome live music, over full wine glasses and middle aged German women dancing like no one was watching!

We went to the Holocaust memorial where they have so much information it’s overwhelming. When our brains couldnt take anymore we went to arena where Hitler made his speeches. We even got to stand where he stood. Looking out over the huge space, I imagined them filled with Nazis and supporters. Not in black and white like we see in pictures, but in vivid colors. Standing there, it sunk in what really happened in Germany all those years ago, and yet the Holocaust wasn’t some part of our distant past. It was not that long ago. I don’t know what the take away was for me though. Remember history or we’re doomed to repeat it? Honor those that lost their lives by being more educated on what they endured? All of the above? All I know is that I didn’t expect to be so moved.

Later we lightened the mood by touring some underground tunnels. Stories under Nuremberg lies an intricate tunnel system that was once used as cellars for beer (of coarse) and during WW2 as bomb shelters (so I guess we didn’t lighten the mood all that much)! After weaving through the tunnel system, we drank some beer from the one brewery that still uses them to store barrels! We decided to get a hotel for our last night in Nuremberg to get some good sleep before heading back to Munich for our flight home. Needless to say, we really exhausted ourselves on our trip around Bavaria, but it was completely worth it. Bavaria is such a unique part of the world with amazing views, cities, & history. Our first trip abroad together was a complete success and I’m already brainstorming for the next one