In the fall of 2016 I headed out on a month-long trip through Europe with my friend Vivienne. After spending a few days in Iceland, we flew into Munich, and immediate drove south out of the city on the autobahn in our tiny little rental car. Our first stop was Oberammergau, chosen purely for its proximity to Neuschwanstein Castle, but surprising us with its beautiful painted buildings. The castle was of course beautiful, but we mostly got a good laugh at how the signs near the parking area warned people of a 1-hour hike up to the viewpoint, encouraging everyone to pay to wait in line for an overstuffed shuttle up. It was a 12 minute walk.
The night we spent at Das Tegernsee, a spa hotel with the exact right combination of historic charm and German efficiency, is still in my top ten travel experiences. Few things beat swimming in a heated outdoor pool in the rain, followed by visiting each of the five different sauna rooms. Our final stop before crossing into Austria was a day spent in Königssee, taking an old wooden boat across the long lake, to hike around Obersee. It was one of those places where I immediately regretted not having a few days to hike and explore.
After traveling through Austria and the Czech Republic, we ended our shared trip in Regensburg—the only authentically preserved large medieval city in Germany. With only a few hours to explore the city before dark, we headed out to Walhalla: a massive hall-of-fame style memorial of important people in Germanic history, with busts of everyone from Einstein and Gutenberg to Mozart and Catherine the Great.