Saturday, July 13, 2013
-Most amazing bike ride of ever
-Another small world story!
Well, today was a fairy tale day, literally. Our first plans were to go to Neuschwanstein Castle near Fussen, Germany. It's about a two-hour train ride from Munich, but totes worth it because it is the classic Disney Castle!! Built by Mad King Ludwig II, it is the castle that inspired the design of the Disney Castle. and it lives up to the hype! However, getting there was kinda crazy since we forgot to check train times the night before. We woke up to Dick (President Miles I mean) knocking on our door saying he just realized we would have to rush to make it by our reservation time. Sweet Miles' packed us a lunch and drove us to the train station, giving us a bowl of cereal to eat on the way. Did I tell you yet how sweet and amazing they are? So thanks to them, we made it in plenty of time! The castle was uh-may-zing. So humongous and incredibly beautiful. Our reservation tickets let us skip past the line of 9 million people and get right in at our time. (If you go, GET RESERVATIONS! So worth the extra couple euros). The hike up is a bit of a doozy though. I mean, not un-doable by any means but let's just say I was not exactly "picture-ready" for another hour after we got there.
The inside of the castle is crazy! Apparently Ludwig never married and was kind of a weird cookie. While living in Neuschwanstein, he was officially diagnosed as insane and not mentally capable of ruling his kingdom. Days later, his body was discovered along with the dead body of his psychiatrist. To this day, what really happened is a mystery.....is that spooky or what? But tell you what, crazy or not, that guy had a knack for decor. The woodwork in his bedroom was CRAZY! The whole canopy of the bed seriously looked like a replica of Rivendell (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to embrace your fantasy side a little more). It took 40 woodcarvers 4 years just to complete his bedroom (Robbie thinks she said 14 carvers, but I'm writing this and I heard 40. Plus, that seems cooler).
So after the tour, we walked all around it, taking millions of pictures. We even hiked a little further up to Marienbrucke, a little bridge above the castle with an awesome view. Do it if you get a chance! While up on that bridge, we discovered the German version of carving initials, except way less vandalizing so it seemed more fun! Basically, they paint or engrave their names or initials on a little padlock and then lock it onto something that won't ever be taken apart! Genius. We wanna be rebels now too! Where do you get padlocks engraved in Germany...?
After a long trip there, a long day seeing it, and then barely missing the train back to Munich, making it a long wait and then another long trip back, we were exhausted when we got home to the Miles' house.(Missing the train gave me a mini-meltdown, good thing I have Robbie here to talk me down 😉). We were tempted to just relax and take it easy for the rest of the night, but Dick and Brenda had been telling us about this beautiful bike trail up the Isar River, so on a whim we decided to go for it. You only live once, right? Well, we have not made a better spontaneous decision ever in our lives. It was so much fun! The evening light outside was golden as we rode along this BEAUTIFUL trail for almost three hours. I was seriously laughing almost the whole time, it was so fun. I didn't even realize we were exercising, my mind was completely on what I was seeing and feeling. The coolest part is that when its good weather here, people flock to the river to hang out. I'm talking THOUSANDS of people! They were spread out in groups all up and down the banks of the river, making fires, barbecuing, swimming, playing frisbee, running with their kids, playing fetch with their dogs. It was the biggest party I've ever seen and no matter who you are, you would have fit in there. There were little kids, teens, young adults, elderly. In that moment, more than any other so far, I wished I lived in Germany. In Munich specifically. To be a part of that kind of community. So so fun!
About halfway through our ride, we stopped for dinner at our first Biergarten! Translation: Beer Garden! These are all over Germany, and they're pretty much just outdoor restaurants that serve lots of beer, bratwurst, and other barbecue-ish foods. I got to have my first real bratwurst and I was so impressed. Dad, it turns out you were right all this time. They are tasty! Then we hopped back on our bikes and ride back through the trail toward home. Best night EVER!
I did get some photos on my phone this time! They're blurry from taking them while riding, but still cool. Enjoy!
We made it home before dark just in time for another surprise visitor. The Miles' office elders were stopping by to talk to President Miles right as we were getting home. We introduced ourselves and it only took about 3 seconds for Robbie and one of the elders to realize they knew each other. The missionary's name is Fabi Müller and he is from Hamburg, Germany. When Russ (Robbie's brother) got home from serving his mission in Hamburg a couple years ago, Robbie went back with him to visit. They visited the Müller family, who Russ knew and loved from his mission. Robbie came home from that trip raving about how incredible this family was. Now, 2.5 years later, he runs into the boy he'd played games with all night. Crazy small world! In Europe!
Well that's it for today, what a dream. I can't believe our time in Germany is going to be over tomorrow! I have loved every second of this trip so far! Tomorrow, church with the Miles' and then on to Austria!