And we're off....on the shuttle bus from parking to Newark Airport.
We arrived in Frankfurt and drove to Munich where Fernando attended a Bundesliga soccer match, the top tier of the German football league system, between Bayern Munich and Dortmund. Here is the Munich stadium.
Inside the Allianz Arena.
An enormous stadium with a seating capacity of 75,000. Fernando had a seat right at mid-field behind the team benches.
Meanwhile, back in Munich, the rest of us walked around the center of Old Town Munich. Here, in Marienplatz, the Old Town's main square, is the elaborate Neues Rathaus or New City Hall.
Marienplatz, the Neues Rathaus and, in the distance, the towers of the Frauenkirche cathedral (The Church of Our Lady).
The Altes (old) Rathaus or city hall is now a toy museum.
The next morning, outside our hotel, the Blauer Bock, just a few minutes walk from Mariensplatz.
Walking to Marienplatz, we pass behind St. Peter's Church with its tall tower on the left, and the Altes Rathaus on the right.
the beautiful baroque interior of St. Peter's Church. It dates to the 1200's.
The tower of the Altes Rathaus with the tower of the newer Neues Rathaus in the distance in Marienplatz.
In Marienolatz, dedicated to Mary, the patron saint of Bavaria. St. Mary's column stands in the center of this busy square.
Marienplatz and the Neues Rathaus or New City Hall.
At 11:00 and 12:00 the large glockenspiel comes to life accompanied by chimes. The top tier represents a knights tournament held in 1568 to celebrate the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lothringia. It is said to be one of the largest royal weddings ever held in Europe. The lower tier represents the Dance of the Coopers, first held to celebrate the end of the plague in the 16th century.
The knights jousting.
In the Hofgarten or Residence Garden, in front of Diana's Temple. This was the palace garden of the Wittelsbach dynasty and dates to the 1300's.
In the Hofgarten in front of Dianatempel.
We had lunch at this biergarten close to Marienplatz.
Outdoor lunch at the biergarten with German beer, sausages and schnitzel. It was great. We left Munich after lunch and headed toward our next stop, but planned a stop at one of (mad) King Ludwig II's palaces along the way.
Arriving at Schloss Linderhof, one of the three castles/palaces built by King Ludwig II in the 2nd half of the 1800's. He spent a lot of time at this small but beautiful palace tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
All of us at Schloss Linderhof.
Beautiful fountains were everywhere at Schloss Linderhof.
Every 30 minutes, a magnificent fountain erupts in front of Schloss Linderhof.
The gardens and fountains which extend from the front of Schloss Linderhof..
In front of Schloss Linderhof. Photos were not permitted in front of the palace.
The baroque façade of Schloss Linderhof.
Then we proceeded to our overnight destination of Garmisch Partenkirchen in southern Bavaria. It is the gateway to the German Alps. It was our stop-over point on our way to Neuschwanstein Castle. Here, a view of the mountains from the balcony of our hotel.
Arriving in Schwangau, the little town below two of Ludwig II's castles including Hohenschwangau, above, and the more famous, Neuschwanstein further up on an adjacent hill.
Hohenschwangau Palace was actually built in the 1830s by Maximillian II of Bavaria, Ludwig II's father. Ludwig spent much of his childhood here.
At Hohenschwangau. We did not go inside this palace.
A view of Neuschwanstein Castle from near Hohenschwangau. It was Ludwig II's favorite of his 3 castles, but he only lived here for 170 days. The palace construction had put a strain on the royal coffers and Ludwig's increasingly erratic behavior led a government commission to dethrone him as king. Three days later he was found dead.
Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the walking path from the village to the castle.
A side view of Neuschwanstein as we arrived at the castle.
We walked around the castle to Marienbrucke, a pedestrian bridge that provides a spectacular view of Neuschwanstein Castle perched high on a hill.
Neuschwanstein Castle and us from the Marienbrucke bridge.
A close-up of Neuschwanstein Castle.
A view of the surrounding mountains and Hohenschwangau from a balcony at Neuschwanstein.
Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein.
Walking back down to Neuschwanstein.
The inner courtyard of Neuschwanstein as we waited for our tour of the interior. Photos were not permitted inside the castle.
Waiting for our tour of the interior of Neuschwanstein.
Singer's Hall where composer Wagner performed. This picture dates to the time we visited Neuschwanstein in 1983 while we lived in England.
Next, we drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a beautiful town, still preserved to look much as it did in the Middle Ages. Here, we found a walled medieval town with beautiful buildings and colorful Easter decorations.
Our hotel was the Marusturm, built into the told town wall at the Markusturm Tower. It dates to 1200 when it was "an inn for weary travelers". The accommodations were modern and one of our favorites.
On top of the tower at the town gate, was a huge stork nest with two storks living there. They were believed to bring good luck to the residents of the houses on which they built their nests,