Meandering along the “German Alpine Road” south west of Munich, passing through Bavarian villages, life goes on much as it has for centuries. Admiring the mountain scenery and famous castle landmarks, makes the Alpenstraβe (Alpine Road) a memorable journey.
The Bavarian charm of Garmish Partenkirchen with it’s unspoilt nature, located at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze 2,962metres. This famous sports resort hosted the winter Olympics in 1936 and New Years ski jump event each year!
Strolling through the streets and alleyways is intriguing! The magnificent façade paintings on their houses tell a story about the inhabitants, the region and its customs.
Hiking along the fast flowing river in Partnach Gorge, past roaring waterfalls, through dark, wet & slippery mountain tunnels was adventurous!!
We trekked onwards and upwards across green meadows expecting “Heidi” to make an appearance at any moment!? However there was a sighting of one of the Von Trapp children (Sound of Music) in lederhosen (grown up now) crossing the bridge in front of us!??! ….
After our four hour hike poor Bruce was reluctant to start! We managed to find a close, local auto repair centre for a replacement battery ……. that would be there at 8am tomorrow!! We bedded down in their carpark – as he would not start again. Not the scenic spectacular views that he had become accustomed to!
King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) designed fairytale castles, his most famous being Schloss Neuschwanstein, a romantic fantasy castle with many towers an turrets! He would escape the crowds in the forest trails surrounding the castle.
Driving to Zurich (where we farewell Whitney and her “Aussie” friends) we leave Germany, pass through Austria, back into Germany, then Austria again, and then finally into Switzerland for Zurich!! …. all in one day!! (€40 in Vignettes too!! – a prepaid toll system used in Austria and Switzerland).
Bruce snuggles into a beautiful spot, overlooking the canal, in the heart of the Champagne appellation – near Epernay! Can you spot him in this line-up?
The “Avenue du Champagne” is lined with the famous houses of Champagne, “the most drinkable avenue in the world!”…… Perrier-Jouet, Moet & Chandon, Mercier & de Castellane. We enjoyed our tour of the de Castellane champagne house and their 8kms of caves (underground cellars) where we discover bottles dated 1919!!
We found an old monk guarding his precious bottles too!!
It was a Benedictine Monk Dom Pierre Pérignon, O.S.B., (December 1638 –14 September 1715) who made important contributions to the production and quality of sparkling wine in the champagne area when the region’s wines were predominantly still red. The famous champagne Dom Pérignon, the prestige cuvée of Moët & Chandon, is named for him. The remains of the monastery where he spent his adult life is now the property of that winery. Grapes have been growing in the Champagne area for over 2,000 years.
Mark walks away with some souvenirs of our tour!
Over 300 million bottles of Champagne are sold each year!!
Following the handy “grape bunch” stencilled on the roads, we cycle tour through the petit villages and vineyards!… stumbling across the Moët & Chandon vineyard! After 30km we rest our weary feet and picnic on the grassy slope overlooking our travels! We were surprised to notice the aroma of champagne wafting through the vineyards as we cycled. The going rate for one hectare in Champagne is 2 million euros!! There are 34,000 hectares in the “Champagne Region”. Valuable real estate!!
In Epernay, the elaborate Hotel de Ville, historic church and the portal of Saint Martin (dated 1540) reveal some real history!!
The “boys from Brussells” were our camping-car neighbours last night!! Steph, Koen, David and Maarten. They were also cycling the region and buying champagne to take home to their wives!?!….. Dressing up in crazy costumes and swimming in the 12°C river was a highlight of their day!?! Ha! However, they wouldn’t wear the outfits for the photo!! Great to meet them and hear about their humorous escapades.