Hallstatt, Berchtesgarten, Munich, Augsberg
120 days away
253 miles / 407 km since last post
6,679 miles / 10,749 km total
We had a lovely lay-in on Wednesday morning, and then took a wander towards the town centre of Hallstatt. When we reached the lake, we noticed a boat pulling up. They were leaving again in five minutes for a trip around the lake, so we hopped on. The boat trip was very nice and tranquil. The weather wasn't great, but at least remained dry for most of the hour long journey. The mountains above us remained fairly misty, which made for quite a lovely sight in itself. We could see the cable car which runs up the side of one of the mountains, leading to a platform at the top. Had it been a clearer day we might have taken the ride up there, but the platform was going in and out of sight with the mist, so it didn't seem worthwhile.
After a nice trip around the lake, the boat dropped us right next to the town. We took a walk through the centre, which wasn't too big, but had some lovely looking buildings and shops. At one of the churches in the town was a place called The Bone House. A very strange little room packed full of skulls and bones. Apparently, when the graveyard became full, and there was no room left for any more bodies to be buried, they decided to remove some of the remains in the ground, clean them up and keep them in this little house. Some of the skulls was painted and had the names of the deceased person on them, and sometimes the year they died. The most recent is a skull of a woman from 1983, and her gold tooth is still visible. A very odd little place, but worth a visit just to see what the fuss was about. After this we headed back to our motorhome.
By Thursday morning the weather had cleared up a bit, and we headed off in the direction of Salzburg. It was a fairly long drive, and we headed to a campsite a few miles out of the city centre. Whilst it was a fairly big site, it seemed every pitch we tried to park on had a weird angle to it, which made it difficult to get level even with our chocks. We were also a little concerned as the whole place was grass, and as the weather had been quite wet, it was quite slippy too. We were worried that even if we found a good spot, if it rained again we might be slipping all over the place to try and get out of it again. Feeling a bit frustrated, we decided to move on to another site. This one appeared to be the closest campsite to the city centre, but it seemed they charged for it accordingly - an expensive €30 a night! We had a bit of chat about it, and soon decided to leave out Salzburg altogether. There was nothing we especially wanted to see in this city, so the expensive campsite just made the decision for us a bit easier. We decided to head on back into the Bavaria region of Germany, which wasn't very far away, and found a campsite in a place called Berchtesgarten. By the time we arrived it had started to rain quite heavily, so we parked up and settled in for the night.
The rain seemed to continue through most of the night, but we awoke on Friday morning to the pleasant silence - assurance that the rain had finally stopped. However, it was only when Stu got up to use the toilet in the morning, that he noticed snow had settled on the skylight. When we opened the blinds we saw that there had been heavy snow, and it was still going! There must have been a couple of inches or so settling on the other motorhomes in the camspite - though thankfully not on the road. As it continued to snow heavily we started getting a little concerned at what the driving conditions might be like, so we decided to pack up and leave as soon as we could. The reason we had stayed at this specific campsite was for its close proximity to Eagles Nest - a building situated over 1800 metres above sea level, and built as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler by the National Socialist Party. It cannot be reached by private vehicles, so they run a bus service to the top. Unfortunately, the bus service was cancelled due to the weather condition, so we had to give it a miss. I know that Stu was particularly disappointed that we couldn't make the trip. We could have stayed and waited it out for the next day, but we couldn't be sure that the weather or conditions would improve, so we had to move on. We decided that we could always return to this area and try again when we make our way back up through Europe early next year.
Thankfully, the roads was clear upon leaving Berechtesgarten, and the weather cleared up perfectly - especially as we descended a little. We could see the snow had settled on much higher ground, but as we were making our way towards Munich the snow became less visible on the ground, and just on the high mountain peaks.
We found a place in our camperstop book for our stay in Munich. It was actually located at the Allianz Arena - home ground to the German football team Bayern Munich. Amazingly though, part of the carpark is especially reserved for motorhomes - how great is that? I can't imagine that Manchester United do the same at Old Trafford somehow. There didn't seem to be many people about, just the old coachload of people turning up to do the football tour. It actually seemed an OK spot - and even had electricity included, which came in very handy to keep the heater on as the evenings are getting pretty cold. We arrived around 4pm so decided it was a bit late to venture into the city today, so we just relaxed for the rest of the evening.
On Saturday morning we headed into the centre of Munich. The U-bahn station was about a 15 minutes walk around the other side of the arena from where we parked, but once on the train it was an easy journey straight into the city. We had a nice feeling about Munich straight away, it didn't feel like a really huge city and it was easy to get around. We started off at Marienplatz, the central square. Here we found the amazing old townhouse building, and close by was the Frauenkirche - one of the most recognisable buildings in Munich with its twin domed towers. Amazingly it was free to go inside too, so we obliged.
Next we walked up the tower of the 13th century Peterskirche - consisting of a tiring series of fairly slim steps and staircases, eventually leading to great views over Munich at the top. Though it was quite a cramped space at the top with people constantly trying to push past. Perhaps a one-way sign at the top might have made things a bit easier.
There seemed to be plenty of options for places to have lunch, but the big recommendation in our guide books was the Hofbrauhaus, so we decided to head there. Initially it was a bit odd when we first walked into the restaurant area as waiters walked past us - nobody seemed to want to ask us it we needed a table etc. We finally managed to grab someone's attention, and fortunately bagged what appeared to be the last available table for lunch - people arriving after us were being turned away. Despite the shaky start, we soon got our orders in and before we knew it our food and drink had arrived. It was rather special, and we can see why it gets the good recommendations. The beer was delicious, really smooth with absolutely no after taste. Stu opted for roast pork with crackling, and I had suckling pig. Both dishes were served with a dumpling, and we ordered some potatoes au gratin and vegetables on the side - it was delicious. We decided not to scrimp, and shared an apple strudle for dessert. I'm glad we did the walk up the tower before lunch!
Our walk around the city became a bit more casual after lunch, and we headed over to Residenz - the former home of Bavarian kings. Outside one of the buildings were a group of musicians playing some great jazz music, so we stopped a while and listened. They played a grand piano, double bass, saxophone, percussion and vibraphone. They were so good we even bought their CD.
We spotted a few stag dos going on as we ventured near Odeonsplatz - I believe the loudest group were Brits. What a surprise! It was at this point we decided to head back to the motorhome and call it a day.
On Sunday we headed back into the city once again, and we headed straight to the Deutsches Museum, a little out of the centre. We had read up on this place in our guide book, and it came highly recommended, and somewhere you would need to spend the whole day. It was founded in 1903 and is the world's largest museum of technology and engineering. It was a fantastic museum. There were far too many things inside to go into too much detail about, but we had some favourites. Among them are the musical instruments section, paper and printing, astronomy, astronautics, physics, technical toys and - Stu's favourite - an extensive collection of computing equipment through the ages. There was so much to see, but I think we managed to at least cover the things we were really interested in. The museum was certainly a must-see. If I was being a bit picky, I would say that some of the displays were looking a bit tired, particularly in one of the Astronomy sections. There were a few interactive displays that weren't working, which was a bit of a shame. We stopped in the cafe for a quick bite to eat and drink and were served by the most useless, doddery old couple working there. However, these things didn't spoil the overall experience - an amazing place to visit.
Before heading home we decided to stop off at a pub near Sendlinger Tor - the beer in Munich is too good to resist. We had a couple of beers and shared a currywurst.
On Monday morning Stu headed into the city by himself. He wanted to go to a music shop and buy a microphone, so he can record his music on our trip. It was easier for him to head in by himself with the bike. He didn't take too long, and once he returned we left the Allianz Arena, and Munich.
We headed slightly west, as Stu knew a place where there was a camping shop. After losing the cap to our motorhome toilet a few weeks back in the Czech Republic, we have been making do using plastic bags and electrical tape. It was time to get a replacement cap, and so we did. Happy days!
The next part of our journey is to head south along the 'Romantic Road', but as time was pressing on we decided to stop a site in Augsberg. We really need the internet to pay off our credit card, and we had also hoped to do some washing. Whilst the campsite does have internet, albeit at a cost, we opted not to do our washing here. Usually, washing tokens at campsites cost around €3, but here they are €4.50 - quite expensive. I think we'll have to leave the washing for the next site. We bought WiFi for €2, but I think it must be powered by pigeons - slow and unreliable.
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