Black and White photo: Oompah!

As I looked through my posts of 2015 to share my 2015 in photos I realised I still had some photos, and stories to share from our trip to Bavaria back in June. So as January is generally my "worst" month I thought it would be perfect to share some of my photos from the summer.

It's also been a while since I've linked up with Charly at PODCast and her Black and White Photo Project, so I'm putting that right too.  These photos were taken on our last evening in Füssen, which was the start and end point for our cycle tour around Bavaria.

It's a pretty town and we ventured out for dinner. We found an Italian restaurant in a pretty courtyard and it wasn't long before we noticed band members wander up and hang around on the other side of the square.  

Soon they were set up - seemingly out of nowhere - and started playing the old favourites and the more traditional German fare too.  It was lovely to have their accompaniment as we enjoyed our meal and some German beer - a fitting end to the first part of our holiday, as the next day we were heading back to Munich for a few days before heading home. 

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PS. THE CYCLIST IN THE BACKGROUND ISN'T MOH, JUST A RANDOM CYCLIST ALSO ENJOYING THE BAND!

PS. THE CYCLIST IN THE BACKGROUND ISN'T MOH, JUST A RANDOM CYCLIST ALSO ENJOYING THE BAND!

Schwansee and quite a swansong!

We arrived at Schwansee - or Swan Lake - after a 45km+ cycle from Oberammergau and while rain was threatening it was somewhere we didn't want to miss. It seems though that I didn't take quite as many photos as I thought, and I think that's probably a good thing, I think you'll agree as you read on.

It's a quiet and very green area in sight of the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles which we visited on our first day. Now that seemed so long ago now. It was definitely a few hundred km ago. It was a lovely green and verdant place and in all honesty I just wanted to find a bench and sit down.

It's quite a large lake - at 650 metres by 270 metres, and as I just wanted to find a bench we didn't walk around it. We weren't sure if we could cycle around it, it looked too peaceful and serene so we erred on the side of caution and looked for that bench instead.

Well. We found a row of three benches. There was an older German man sitting on the middle one, so we took the one to his right, and sat back to enjoy the view and revel at the joy of sitting on a bench, rather than a saddle. Like you do if you've cycled a fair way. We weren't quite ready for what happened next.

The German man was joined by two German ladies, who'd been for a swim in the lake. Seems fair enough and you know what you want to do once you've got out of the lake - yeap, get changed - well they did too.  There was quite a bit of talking through the side of my mouth to MOH with things like "don't look now, I think she's going to take her swimming costume off" and " yeap, definitely don't look. She has" and "Oops. And so has the other lady"  

It's times like this that having great peripheral vision isn't such a good thing.  But thankfully they were dressed now and the English could relax.

Or could we?

No it seems not. It was now the German man's time for a swim, so he stripped down to his swimmers and headed for the lake and got in. No problems there. Although there was more to come. Despite getting into the lake in his swimmers (or his pants, I wasn't looking that closely) he then decided that wasn't such a great idea. So he got out again and returned his clothing to his lady friends.

And cue a sharp exit from me and MOH!

So our visit to Schwansee was quite eventful and we saw much, much more than we ever expected to!  Quite a memorable visit, I'm sure you'll agree!!

My Travel Monkey

The last day of cycling on our Bavarian trip

We woke on our last morning in Murnau refreshed despite the overnight storm, but surprised that it was already our last day of cycling on this holiday. How did that happen - how did it go so fast? I'm not sure but ahead of us lay a long cycle back to Füssen, after a short train ride to Oberammergau with our bikes. Visualising the hassle that taking a bike on a train in the UK would be, to say we were wary was an understatement. However, as with everything else cycling in Germany is much further advanced than it is here at home, including taking bikes on trains, but more on that in a moment.

Today's cycle was billed as a 45km route starting in Oberammergau, famed for its Passion Play. Ahead of our trip, this was the only smaller town that I'd heard of, and that was because there was a school trip there while I was at Senior school, but it was a trip I didn't go on. It's a pretty town and I'll share photos from there another day.  Taking the train meant we started our ride amidst the soaring peaks which surround the village.

We headed north along the Ammertal through Unterammergau and Altenau before heading west and away from the river valley through a forest. Then we would rejoin the Romantische Straße and once again see the glorious views of the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles proving what an aptly named route it is.

But first we needed to catch the train!

HOW CLEVER?

HOW CLEVER?

Very clever indeed.  In our part of the carriage there were at least eight bikes, some parked like mine above in the bike racks incorporated into the folding seats. And while this was good, what was even better was that there wasn't a single tut about us having bikes on the train. 

Once in Oberammergau we had a quick and impromptu cycle around the town, despite knowing we had a long cycle ahead of us. It seemed a shame to get so close and not see it and I'm glad we did as it really is pretty as you can see:

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Leaving Oberammergau we had these views ahead of us as we cycled towards Unterammergau.

We had a couple of stops along the way, one to admire this cobbler who sat on top of a fountain in the middle of one village. To me it has a look of Pinnochio to it, but that could just be me. 

On a later stop I spotted, admired and snapped these fungi and some logs. As it turned out it was going to be a day of logs - in fact the best day for logs this holiday, so please excuse the numerous photos but I'm fascinated with them.

Before heading into the forest we stopped here at this Gasthaus in Unternogg for a drink and some cake. It was one of the only places along the route to do so, and as it looked so pretty we thought it'd be rude not to!

Back on our bikes, we headed into the forest and it wasn't long before there were piles of felled logs, which was heaven for me!

There were also more fungi, and the ones above caught my eye and made me smile because they just looked so odd.

Our cycle notes said to continue straight ahead for some time and cross two riverbeds. Got that. We spotted the first one and crossed that ok and then we reached the second one. We weren't quite expecting that, and no doubt the day before it'd also been dry but the overnight storm had most likely caused this

We crossed ok and even managed to keep my feet relatively dry and went on our way. Just before we left the forest we saw this unusual shaped tree, almost pointing the way...

By now we were back on familiar territory and following the route we followed back on day 2. The weather by now was overcast and rain looked likely. We decided to take our chances and stop for lunch, and on our day of logs, what else would our lunch view have?

I couldn't resist a closer look and I am still intrigued how these stack so neatly. 

We cycled on and headed towards Schwansee (Swan Lake) and look... It's the castle in the distance, how beautiful does it look nestled in the valley. We headed towards Neuschwanstien Castle but diverted towards Schwansee and spent some time there. I've some pictures from there which I'll share another time, but it really was an experience not to be missed!

Rather than follow the route notes back the way we came, we headed up the hill and through the forest and across country. And I should say I chose to go up the hill, and as hills go it wasn't too bad. We emerged near the Lech Falls.

These manmade falls were built between 1784-1787 following devastating floods in the area in 1762.  

Having paused to admire the river and surrounding scenery, we got our bearings and were soon back on the bikes cycling into Füssen from a different direction before and heading back towards the hotel where we started our adventure some six days earlier. The mileage for our last day was 52km, so 7km more than the planned route.

Back at the hotel the realisation that I did a 50+km cycle was starting to sink in. And you know what? I did it through choice. I chose to go around Oberammergau, to Schwansee and to take the unsignposted (and unknown) route home, and that was up a hill! I think I may just be getting the hang of this cycling lark...

The cycling part of our holiday was all but over, all that remains is for us to return the hire bikes in the morning. And then we're off to Munich for a few days, but before I share photos from there I've a couple more posts to complete our visit to this beautiful part of Bavaria, and one that certainly captured part of me.

 

Packing my Suitcase