Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Neverending Story (Sonntag Edition)

SUNDAY, 9/2:

For the first time in four days, we were able to walk outside without an umbrella. It almost felt like a miracle had occurred.

Greetings once again from Garmisch, where it didn't rain at all today. Sure, the fog hung everywhere, and sure, it only hit 62 or so for a high, but it didn't rain a drop today. Those of you who've been reading these since we got into the Alps might be interested to know that we've received over 6 and a half inches of rain since late Wednesday night. From what I can tell (and keep in mind I'm not a meteorologist, nor do I play one on TV) the big storm system that caused this mess basically ran into the Alps and couldn't move anywhere, so it had to dump all of the moisture it carried. So now all the moisture it left behind is causing fog to hang around every nook & cranny it can find--

In case you can't tell, there is supposed to be a mountain running all the way up the picture behind the flowers.  Instead, you get flowers, mountain, and fog, like some really weird Neapolitan ice cream mix.  There's also a river that runs through town, and thanks to the rain it has risen up its banks and has started to develop these mean looking rapids--

Hopefully, now it stays dry in this part of Germany so that the river can recede and the fog can go away. Of course, it'll be doing so after we leave the area, but there are a lot of nice people around here. They deserve a little dry air & sunshine for a few days.

Today was the day we were supposed to go on our big hike up a mountain. Unfortunately, all the rain & the slickness it left behind caused us to cancel those plans, so we went to see one more castle instead, this one being one of King Ludwig's favorite places in the world, Linderhof--

No expense was spared with this one, which was built on the site of one of his father's hunting lodges. Ludwig spent as much time as possible at this getaway. It's a masterwork of architecture and symmetry, which you can see here--

If there's a statue on one side of the grounds, there must be the same statue on the other side. Same with everything in the magnificent gardens opposite the castle itself. But look back at the picture above, and you'll notice one that does NOT have a symmetrical twin. It's this linden tree--

where Ludwig, who was different than most people, had a literal treehouse built so he could escape into his own world whenever he felt the need. In fact, from an old photograph we saw, he actually had TWO little platforms built up in the tree. Maybe there were just days when he REALLY wanted to get away from other human beings, and the second platform helped. I've often compared Ludwig to Brian Wilson, the musical genius who suffered from many problems & eccentricities during his life, and this is one of those instances that really drives that comparison home.

The last ever picture taken of King Ludwig.  Image courtesy of Getty Images

After the castle, we came back to Garmisch just to explore a little. We've been here before, although only for an evening, so we haven't really had the proper chance to look around. Good thing we did, because we discovered a park we knew nothing about!

The park, which is huge, is actually hidden right behind the town's main pedestrian zone. Most people just visiting for a day or two wouldn't even know it's there. It's called the Michael Ende Kurpark (or “Health Gardens”); Michael Ende being a Garmisch native and the writer of children's fantasy books such as “The Neverending Story”. That explains the whimsical nature of the place, from the turtles built into the ground--

To the cows with little benches carved into them--

And no, I'm not allowed to bring one of those home. The park is also a place where families go to get some fresh air, often with their little children. And in typical German fashion, they make sure the baby carriages are lined up in a neat row before they sit down to share the day's gossip--

It's a cool little park, much in the vein of the Parc de Pepiniere in Nancy, France (that's the one where Loraine was attacked by a peacock last year). I'm glad we found it. After all, if you can't go hiking, spending some time in the park is the next best thing.

After exploring we had dinner at one of the best Italian restaurants on the planet, the Colosseo. We've eaten here before, and I swear we could eat here every day for a month and not try everything they have to offer. (And, as a side note, if anyone would like to pay for us to stay in Garmisch and eat at Colosseo every day for a month, we'd love to talk to you).

What did I try this time? Well, how about risotto with Parmesan and rosemary--

And something called Susse Sunde for dessert--

Once again, we're taking calls for people who'd like to sponsor us while we stay here and try everything on the Colosseo's menu. Hurry—operators are standing by.


Before this gets wrapped up for today, we have two questions for you—ever see a ceramic cow wearing lederhosen?

Or a store window display with bags of Lay's potato chips attached to the back wall?

Well, now you have.

Tomorrow we head east for a couple of hours into a different part of the Alps, where (hopefully) they've been drying out from their portion of the six and a half inches of rain. We're staying in a place where most people go to take a health vacation (I'll explain those tomorrow), but we go to become kids in a literal candy store.


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