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Notes from the last few days (by Renee)

by on July 22, 2013

Since we have a car (a lovely Renault Megane with a built-in TomTom GPS which Alex enjoys a lot and has blogged about) we are driving a lot. On the way through Bavaria I couldn’t believe how beautiful the countryside was. It was green and very fertile growing wheat, corn and strawberries. We often drive through the Salinas Valley on our way to Santa Barbara, so crops in the field are something we see often. But this is totally different. For hours and hours you see gentle rolling hills and patchwork of different greens in the fields with the twisty road with lots of small towns with REALLY BIG houses crowded right on the road (the concept of a front yard is non-existent here). The houses are 2 or 3 stories, big and rectangular, with the house on one end and under the same roof the barn on the back. Every house has window boxes on the end facing the road with masses of colorful flowers spilling over the edge. (These flowers will rival the ones at the Stanford Mall, for those of you who know what I mean).


We are having fun with all the painted cows we are finding. It must be some type of marketing program with milk producers, but many small towns have one painted cow on each end of town. So far they have been painted in the different patterns in each town with something kind of milk slogan on them. We’ll keep looking as we drive through Germany later in the week – I expect we’ll have a nice collection of cow photos by the time we head home.


While in Munich, we journeyed out to the countryside to see a jousting show. This is quite a production put on by “the man who would be king” if Bavaria still had a king (and he was actually on hand to welcome everyone to the show). Over 1,000 costumed performers, a bigger than life sized Medieval village, horses, good guys and bad guys, fireworks, a huge fire breathing dragon – and finally jousting. The good guys won after a long hard battle, and even though it was 100% in German, we followed the story for the most part and really enjoyed the event.

On Saturday we took to the Autobahn for a “quick” 90 minute drive to Salzburg. I guess serving half-gallon-sized beers to everyone and then letting folks drive as fast as they want to is a recipe for ‘traffic incidents’ as we passed 6 along the way. That added to the bumper to bumper traffic, along with a high percentage of the vehicles on the road towing a camping trailer…it was not the fast and easy driving experience we were expecting. Along the way we stopped by a famous high peak, and took the cog-rail train to the top. In addition to the highest church in Germany (and probably the smallest one too), and a lovely vista, there are a series of caves. The kids and David journeyed down to the “ice cave” which gets snow and ice during the winter – and it says cold enough it doesn’t melt. This only added to the kid’s misery (we asked the guy selling tickets if we would need jackets on the mountain, since it was very warm in the parking lot. He said no — and the answer was yes. We needed jackets even before going to the ice cave – lesson learned!)

Overall we LOVE southern Germany and Austria. The weather continues to be perfect (we are on day 32 and not a drop of rain on us so far). We are finding our way easily thanks to “Jane the GPS” and the kids are not too tired (although Anna needs more energy to blog than she has at the end of long days). I’m tracking our walking on my Jawbone UP band…I think we’ll be over 200 miles by the end of the trip. This is a lower number than last year due to my knee continuing to be an issue. However I’m getting really good with one crutch (I think cousin Ben would be impressed).


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  1. Aunt Ginny permalink

    Please post more photos…I love Bavaria.

  2. Uncle Phil permalink

    See how much trouble you can get into when you think you know the language?
    He said you need “nine jackets,” not “nein jackets.”

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