We were exhausted and slept in a bit today (except Hilary, who got up early to take photos). The apartment was great except that the bathroom ceiling sloped down to such an awkward angle that I had to shave on my knees to see the mirror. Also, there were some idiosyncrasies in the bathroom wiring. What better place for unusual wiring?
Unusual side note: Both Ludwig II and Van Gogh were institutionalized before their eventual deaths in 1886 and 1890 respectively. And they were about the same age.
We had originally skipped getting insurance for traveling in to other countries, but tried to get a hold of the rental agency before venturing south in to Austria. No luck. We’ll just have to avoid crashes. Insurance be damned! We crossed in to Austria after crossing the Lech River. We refueled and continued on past Reutte (more traffic) to our first stop, the Highline 179, a 1/4 mile long, 364 foot high suspension bridge. Michelle, not a fan of heights, rushed across the bridge thinking that our goal was somewhere across the bridge. She was not impressed when she learned that the bridge itself was the destination. But she conquered (or temporarily ignored) her fears.
The bridge was really cool. I didn’t sway much considering the length and height, and we were able to see the autobahn traffic below and get great views of valley. Some of us really enjoyed the crossing. Some didn’t. After crossing, we climbed up to the castle ruins above. The view was spectacular, and there’s still enough freedom in these places that kids (and adults) can climb around a bit without having to fill out disclaimers. But I digress. We explored the ruins for a bit, caught our breath, then worked our way back towards the car to find some lunch. We found lunch in Lermoos on a patio with a great view of the Zugspitze. The girls found some nettles on the playground, cried a bit, then recovered.
After lunch, we took the tram to the top of Zugspitze. Michelle had done enough with heights for the day and stayed in town to explore. She visited a church, walked the villa, and read a book in an outside plaza. Hilary, the girls and I took the tram to the top of the Zugspitze, then walked out to the actual summit. The ride up was super fast and my ears popped 8 times! From the top of the tram, you have to scramble another 100yds (and maybe 30yds vertical climb) to reach the the summit. We had to wait our turn for a picture with the standard gold cross atop the summit (a strange adornment on most German peaks). Strangest of all was a woman who clung to the ground but insisted on taking no fewer than 50 selfies while the rest of the climbers grew annoyed or mocked her. Some of the climbers had actually hike/climbed the whole way.
My girls got their picture with the summit mark. That, with the scrambling they did to get there (and their comfort) made my heart swell with pride. I’m pretty sure I teared up at work telling coworkers about it. They were so confident, comfortable, and adventurous. After we summited, we grabbed hot cocoa and beers to enjoy on the summit. Though as we sipped, the clouds and rough weather came in. So we headed for the tram to get back down to the valley. The wind and weather reared up, and we had to stop on our descent several times as the wind rocked the the tram car side to side. We managed not to collide with the towers, but it was an adventure.
When we hit the ground, we drove around to find Michelle. We’d forgotten to get a sticker from Austria so we drove around trying to find a place open that had stickers. No luck. So we headed back to FÃ¼ssen for Dinner. We went to a medieval themed restaurant for dinner in the old town. We were made to wear bibs, drink from crockwear, and I was finally able to order a 1 liter stein of wonderful Bavarian lager. For dinner, I had the schweinbraten and Michelle had these horrible sauerkraut cakes that everyone agreed were horrible.
After dinner we wandered the town some more, took in a band playing in the city center, then headed back to the apartment to start packing for the drive back in the AM. Plus, everyone agreed that some alone time would be welcomed. Hilary and I walked around the villa of Halblech and stuck our noses in some farms and just took in the local flavor. I even found a decoy traffic sign that was made from random parts to trick people in to slowing down. We explored until the impending thunderstorm arrived and we retired to the apartment and went to bed early.