Sunday, September 6, 2015

Oops...I Ate It Again


Well, I think we owe the people of Bavaria an apology.

Here’s what I mean.  All summer long in Marquette it’s been rather cool & rainy.  In fact, this year we didn’t have much of a summer at all.  Meanwhile, Germany’s had one of its hottest summers on record, with temperatures in the 80s and the 90s most of the time.  However, since we’ve left, Marquette has been enjoying nice, warm weather in the 80s, while today in Bavaria the temperature started at 60 and plummeted downward from there, adding in the joy of rain showers and squalls throughout the day.

So there you go, the fine people of Bavaria.  No need to thank us.  Really, there isn’t.


Greetings from Kempten.  Or, to be more precise, greetings from the Kempten suburb of Durach.  We’re staying in a Gasthaus, which is basically a home converted into fully equipped hotel rooms, and it, along with its sister restaurant down the street, are quite amazing.  More about the restaurant in a bit.  First, though, what did we do today? 

I assume you’ve heard of the vaunted German Autobahns, right?  Some of the best road in the world, with people skillfully driving them at high speeds?  Well, this is what one part of the Autobahn looked like when we were on it today—

Yup; we were stuck in yet another traffic jam, this one at the entrance to a tunnel that had been closed due to, we think, an accident inside.  So if you were wondering why there were people standing outside of their cars on the world’ best freeway, rest assured that not one car was moving.

Actually, one car WAS moving.  The lady in the car next to our van got out to get something from her trunk, had apparently forgotten to put her parking brake on, and had to quickly get back into her car and stop it, just a few inches before it ran into the car in front of hers.

And just how WOULD you explain to a police officer that “yes, my car DID get rear-ended while stopped in traffic and, no I wasn’t drinking, either then or now?”  These are the things you think about while spending 20 minutes at a full stop on the Autobahn!

Thankfully, traffic did get moving again, and thankfully, our first stop of the day, Fussen, was at the next exit (because there was another traffic jam right after the exit).  Fussen (with an umlaut over the “u”, which I can’t figure out how to do on the version of Microsoft Word I’m using) is the gateway to Schloss Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle that everyone (except us) who comes here visits, and the castle after which Walt Disney modeled the ones at Disney Land and Disney World.  Like most cities around here, Fussen has a pedestrian old town—

Filled with shops, restaurants, colorful buildings, a very pretty river running through it, locations where they filled portions of “The Great Escape”, and Alpenhorn players.  Lots and lots of Alpenhorn players—

Of course, in a place catering to tourists who have come to see this kind of thing, what else would you expect, right?  Speaking of the restaurants, some of them have bars, and I figured some of you might like to see what you can get at a Bavarian bar.  So if you were ever curious...

Now you know!

Next stop was the Wieskirche, or “Meadow Church”, an amazing piece of architecture stuck pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  It’s been described as one of the best examples of Rococo architecture there is, and as soon as you walk in the door you know why—

While parts of the church date back to the 12th century, all of that work was done in the 1700s.  Everywhere you look there’s something else to see; it’s simply an incredible piece of work.  No only that, but as soon as you walk outside, you get to see who’s guarding the place—

I know you guys always enjoy seeing animal pictures, and I don’t know how many chances I’ll get to shoot them during this trip.  So there you are!

Finally, we ended up here in Kempten (excuse me, Durach) and the very nice room in which I’m typing this.  We also had a great meal at their sister restaurant, the Gronen-Baum, which was, shall we say, a meal fit for a king.  Technically, it was a meal fit for five or six kings, based on the portion size, as evidenced by this picture—

That’s my Cordon Bleu Allgaus (pork cordon bleu with Camembert cheese inside) on a plate that is, and I’m not kidding, 15 inches in diameter.  There must have been a pound of pork on that plate, aside from a heap of steamed vegetables and a dozen mashed potato croquet-type thingees.  All this, mind you, came after soup and salad, which was big enough to be a meal for most normal people.  But since we’re not that normal, here’s what my plate looked like afterward—

No, I couldn’t finish it all, and yes, I probably would’ve died if I had tried, but I gave it my best try.  But if you’re ever in Durach (and you WILL be in Durach someday, right?) make sure you stop by the Gronen-Baum.  Not only is the food amazing (all 22 pounds of it per person) but Peter, the guy who owns the place, came over and entertained us, all the while insisted that we have a drink or dessert or something else to settle our stomachs.  You know...stomachs that were ready to explode as it is.

So thanks Peter.  We appreciate it!

Tomorrow, we follow in the footsteps of a king, a king who, as we’re discovering, was kind of like the Brian Wilson of his day.  And if you don’t know who Brian Wilson is, shame on you.  Then Google him to find out.  So see you then!


  1. Not sure if it made it. Great writing, Jim! I hope ya'll have a blast. I can't wait for tomorrow's update... later, JJ McKay

  2. Not sure if it made it. Great writing, Jim! I hope ya'll have a blast. I can't wait for tomorrow's update... later, JJ McKay