The tallest steeple in THE WORLD; 768 steps up to the top. Yipes!
The next week was filled with sightseeing around Bavaria. The first day in Ulm we did an audio guided walking tour of the city. It was very interesting to learn about the city since I didn’t really know anything about it in the first place. For example, Albert Einstein was born in the Jewish quarter of Ulm. We had a weird experience in one of the churches. John the Baptist Church was included on the tour and we decided we wanted to go in and take a look around. As soon as we went through the entrance, a man started speaking to us in German. We told him repeatedly that we don’t speak German but he kept talking to us. We tried to walk away and ignore him but creepily enough he followed us. Needless to say we didn’t stay for very long cause this guy was making us very uncomfortable. It was really too bad too because we were keen on seeing what this church was like. The point of fascination (and now a standard by which clocks are judged) for Dan was definitely the clock on the Rathaus (townhall), which dates back to 1520. It has 14 functions but
Clock on the Rathaus
Can you guess how many functions this clock has and what they are?
the audio guide never told us what they were. So, there we were standing under this clock every time we passed by trying to figure out what it did, besides tell time of course. Even looking on the web doesn't help. We just can't figure out what this clock does! After the tour we met Gerhard and went to Blauberren for a concert. As it turned out the concert was super expensive so we went to Blautopf instead. Blautopf is a natural spring in the town that is amazingly clear blue and green. You can see a crystal clear reflection of the church, beside the spring, in the water. It’s one of the most beautiful sights we have seen so far.
The following day Gerhard showed us to a couple of castles, Neueschwanstein and Linderhof. Both castles were built by the last king of Bavaria, King Ludwig II in the mid-nineteenth century. The Disney castle is modelled after Neueschwanstein; we believe because Ludwig’s desire to never grow up matched that of Disney’s. The castle had no practical purpose; it was a castle to be shown off and bragged about. Unfortunately the castle wasn’t finished before Ludwig’s untimely death in
It's actually a hotel now. All the beds have levels to prove that the floors are now level.
1886. On the way to Linderhof we discovered that the most common road between the properties was out of commission so we had to travel back through Germany; stopping on the riverside for a picnic lunch. Linderhof was actually classified as a palace and was much smaller that Neueschwanstein, although equally if not more elaborate in decoration; modelled much after Versailles. Ludwig envied the French monarchs and their absolute rule, while he was mainly just a figure head. Ludwig even created fake grottos on each property as a getaway and to emulate a scene in his favourite opera. The grotto at Linderhof was the first place in Bavaria to get electricity, for the lighting; standard white, romantic red, and a blue one to give it the feel of the Blue Grotto in Capri. Having been to Capri, Ashley would say there is no comparison and given the opportunity everyone should visit the original. After the properties of the ‘crazy’ king of Bavaria, we headed to a monastery (unfortunately we were both so tired by this point neither of us remembers the name). On the way back we stopped once for coffee, and once much closer to Gerhard and Hanne-Lore’s for
Ashley at Blautopf
Such a cool colour.
dinner; so that Gerhard wouldn’t get too sleepy at the wheel.
Saturday started out nice and easy. Gerhard had a class he was taking in Ulm so he drove us into town for us to climb the tallest steeple in the world, 768 stairs. It was rather breathtaking; each time we stopped for a break, we were only a few steps from a landing. In total, it took us about half an hour of climbing to get to the top. Following the great climb, we bought some berries (blue and rasp varieties) and sat around to people watch and chat. We then went into the tourist office where there was an exhibition on the apartheid in South Africa. That was an eye opener, seeing as neither of us was familiar with the history. After all the town things we just headed back to the country; Ashley helped with dishes while Dan picked fruits and veggies in the garden (we even made syrup from some of the berries).
Another bike ride kicked off Sunday for us. It took about 45minutes to get to town, with a few detours; a local swimming hole, and the old US military barracks that
Reflection of Church in the serene water
were manned there after WWII. In town we thought we could catch the beginnings of the festival that was going on that weekend. Unfortunately, the live music hadn’t begun yet and there weren’t many people around. However, we did find a carnival. There were rides and cotton candy galore. Ashley found a stand that sold her old standby favourite: chocolate covered bananas (yummy). We walked around a bit more and checked out some of the old cars that were on display. There was even a really (and I mean really) small BMW. It was so small the engine was in the back and there were no side entry doors. The only way to get in the car was to open the front of the car and climb in. Ashley really enjoyed the motorcycle with the sidecar attached. She always thought it would be a blast to ride in one of those. We spent the rest of the day relaxing the in the countryside.
Monday was the Penultimate (which we later learned meant second to last) Monday in July which meant that it was time for the mayor of Ulm to take his annual oath at which time he reports
Ashley and Dan taking in the view of the castlte. Doesn't it remind you of the Disney castle?
on what has happened in the last year and what he swears to do for the city in the coming year. It’s quite the tradition considering hundreds of people gather in the square to listen to the mayor. Later that day we took in Nabada, which is a parade on the Danube River. All the floats are made for the river and tons of people get in the water in their dingies or boats or just their floaties. It is such a neat festival. The river is literally covered with people from shore to shore. There were floats making political statements, floats playing live music, and there were floats that were just for fun. We seemed to agree that we like the music floats best. While they were playing they were rocking the boat. I was pretty sure those boats were going to tip right over; which you may agree with if you saw how much they were rocking.
Tuesday was our day for packing and farewells. Gerhard had picked a bunch of Wallnüss that Ashley and I set to shelling; it went pretty slowly until Gerhard came and started cracking them, Ashley and I just picked off the
shells. We hopped the train to München to catch a night train to Venice. Then things went awry…
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