In the previous installment of our honeymoon travelogue, Cori and Ryan visit the robots.
Prague was lovely, but we had places to be! The day we left Prague was a big day — first we wanted to visit the BMW Welt in Munich, Germany. The Welt and the connected BMW Museum are pretty incredible. First of all, crazy interesting architecture!
So very cool. And then there is so much to see — all sorts of concept cars and motorcycles (if you haven’t read the other parts of this honeymoon travelogue, we spent nine days on a motorcycle in Norway!), as well as tons of history about BMW, quietly glossing over their role in WWII, of course.
We spent the morning looking at all the displays and asking employees whether or not Mini (owned by BMW) will ever do an overseas delivery program. The answer? It’s not out of the question!
(For those of you who don’t know, I’m a proud Mini owner. I love my Little Blue Pig!)
As I said in our first post, getting our Volvo in Sweden was an understated affair. Picking up a BMW through their overseas delivery program is a much fancier deal — you get your fancy car on a fancy platform in front of everyone wandering around the Welt. And you get to drive it down a fancy ramp. It’s fancy.
On our way out, I looked up to see familiar faces (which is strange, since we were 6,000 miles from home) — it was Jen and Ger, our Irish friends from Prague! What a small traveling world! It was fun to run into them again and that sealed the deal — we were going to be Facebook friends.
We then headed to Austria. We had originally planned to stay two nights in Austria, with time to look around a bit, but due to some planning mistakes, we had to change our itinerary. So we had one short night in the country, and only one thing we really wanted to do — ride the Alpine Coaster in Imst. The Alpine Coaster in Imst is the longest in the world — almost a kilometer and a half! It was a must-do!
We hit more traffic than expected on our way to Austria. As we slowly inched our way up the mountains into Imst (think Park City or Lake Tahoe), we didn’t think we were going to make it before it closed, and tried not to get our hopes up. But we got there with 15 minutes to spare! We rode the ski lift up the mountain, hoping the alpine coaster was going to be all we had hoped (Ryan has the GoPro attached to his head).
Oh it was, and more! Because I was strapped in and needed both hands to control my car, I couldn’t take any photos. But trust me — it was SO FUN. Basically it’s a track on the ground and you sit in a one-person car with handbrakes and they just…let you go! It races along the mountainside with sharp turns and quick drops.
I was able to careen down the mountain without seeing anyone else, which meant that I was as light on the brakes as possible — only around blind corners did I even think about braking. When we got to the bottom, we realized there were two minutes until it closed — so we bought another ticket and did it again!
We both loved Imst and the little bits of Austria that we saw, and thought it would be cool to come back for a motorcycle trip in the future — a ride across Austria and Switzerland. Oh, the fun we would have!
That night we stayed in Innsbruck, Austria. We wished we’d had more time there, but the next morning we packed up to head back into Germany. We wanted to travel the Romantic Road up through the middle of Germany. The Romantic Road begins at Neuschwanstein Castle, our first stop of the day!
When we got to Neuschwanstein, it was pouring. But that didn’t deter us — we bought an umbrella and got our tickets for both the famous castle and its smaller yellow counterpart, Hohenschwangau.
The tour of Hohenschwangau came first, and was very interesting — strange family history and cool stuff to look at.
After our first tour, we decided to walk up to Neuschwanstein instead of taking the bus. It was a nice walk and even though it was damp, it felt good to stretch our legs. The views from the walk were amazing, both down to Hohenschwangau and the valley below.
We had no idea what to expect when it came to Neuschwanstein (or “the puzzle castle” as I kept calling it, since it’s in all the puzzles). We didn’t know that Neuschwanstein was basically a magical playhouse for Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. Though it was designed to look like a medieval castle, it was actually built in the mid to late 1800s, so it’s in great condition (at least the parts that were finished — building stopped after the king was declared mad and suspiciously drowned in a lake). And because he was a bit off in the head, it was a crazy place inside. Rooms dedicated to romantic heroes. Incredible mosaics. A CAVE. There’s A CAVE inside. Stalactites and all.
It’s also massively busy and filled with tourists. While we both enjoyed it, we found it overwhelming and crazy. After our tour, we walked a bit up the hill so we could get a great view of a the castle from a bridge. Pretty spectacular, right? Sleeping Beauty, we found your castle!
The crowds, however, were overwhelming. I had to Get. Off. That. Bridge.
We ended up taking a “shortcut” back to the parking lot down a service road in the woods. A thousand people took the paved road, we took the road less traveled. It was so lovely to stroll through the forest alone. Such a change from the crowds!
The rest of the day, we drove up the Romantic Road. Instead of the autobahn, we drove on side roads, through medieval villages, past small castles, across pastoral landscapes.
We couldn’t GPS it (the GPS says “autobahn all the time!”) so we had to follow the brown “Straße Romantische” signs. These were not as prolific as we might have hoped, but we had a good time spotting them and following their siren call. Many times we wondered if we’d lost the road, only to look in the rearview and see a brown sign going the other direction, confirming we were, indeed, still on the road.
We were on the Romantic Road, so of course we drove through the town of Kissing:
And then there was no kissing, which made us mad since this was our honeymoon and all:
We drove all the way to Donauworth, where we had dinner at a lovely little restaurant, before we had to leave the Romantic Road to head west to our night in Karlsruhe (another Marriott — thank you mom and dad!).
In the next installment of our honeymoon travelogue, Cori and Ryan worry about their license plate.