December 29th, 2009 – by: breezejen
You can't see it, but it's snowing
There was no rush to get going this morning, plus, the weather wasnâ€™t looking all that great. We took our time at breakfast and watched some winter sports on our 13â€ť television, then I looked outside and realized that it was snowing. I tried to urge my husband to hurry up and get ready, so we could go outside and frolic in the snow. Unfortunately, his excitement did not match mine and by the time we made it outside, the snow changed into hail. Instead of playing in the snow we were being pelted about the head and face with wet, hard, hail. Not so fun. So I took refuge in the car a little damp and shivering.
We drove to Lake Chiemsee and even though it was wet and gray, it was still an enjoyable drive. We took the ferry to Herrenchiemsee, the biggest island in the Lake and home to a castle built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The ferry ride to the island takes about 15 minutes and you get wonderful views of the Alps and the Lake, gorgeous. We decided to take the tour of the Castle to escape the rain more than because of interest in it. Thereâ€™s about a 20 minute walk from the dock where the ferry dropped us off to the castle and it rained just about the whole way there.
The tour of the Castle was actually pretty interesting. King Ludwig had an odd obsession with King Luis XIV of France. Besides building the Castle similar to the Palace of Versailles he had paintings of his French counterpart adorning his walls rather than of himself. All the rooms were elaborate and ostentatious with rich colors on the walls and furniture. There was lots of dark blues, deep reds and gold colors everywhere.
The ceilings and walls were covered in gorgeous murals or mirrors. My favorite part of the tour was the Great Hall of Mirrors. I would have loved to take a picture I but couldnâ€™t, no photos were allowed (bummer). So youâ€™ll have to use your imagination with this. The hall is about 100 meters long. On one side are floor to ceiling windows (which were about 20 feet) that overlooked the garden, on the other wall are mirrors. The room has about 1000 candles along its length either hanging from chandeliers or on candelabras. The ceiling had beautiful hand painted murals and wood carvings. The room was just ridiculous and Iâ€™m doing a poor job trying to describe it. You may have to just google search it. The tour lasted about an hour and our guide did a great job explaining the architecture and the design of the Castle.
Kufstein Fortress from the Inn River
After the ferry ride back to dock, we decided to go to Kufstein
, Austria, about a 45 minute drive. Luckily the rain stopped but boy was it freezing. The t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweater, jacket, gloves, hat, scarf and boots did little to fight off the cold, the wind didnâ€™t help matters either. But I withstood the discomfort and managed to walk around for a while. Kufstein is similar to the other towns that weâ€™ve visited so far. Again there are cute shops that line the cobbled stone streets. There are fantastic views of the city and the Kufstien Fortress from the bridge over the Inn River. We decided to go to the Fortress so we took the funicular and walked around the grounds a bit.
It dates back to the 1200s and has served to protect the city (there are still canons at the top) and as a prison. The best part of the Fortress are the views of the city. With the Alps in the background and the cleverly painted store and house fronts, the pictures are amazing. The sunset over the Alps was also breathtaking. When we couldnâ€™t stand the cold anymore, we decided to walk down via the covered steps. The stairway is completely encased by stone and bars cover the openings that are windows, itâ€™s just like being in a Harry Potter movie. I highly recommend it!
As it was getting dark and colder by the minute, we decided to head back to the panzio. We did this just in time because, as we were driving back, the rain started coming down really hard. When we got to the panzio, Herre Schmidt surprised us by preparing a special roasted pork meal. Iâ€™m not too big on large pieces of cooked animals on my plate so I traded mine for a smaller piece. Although I was hesitant, the first bite was quite amazing. Today was our last dinner at the panzio and Herre Schmidt did a great job with a lasting impression. I had a great time in Rottau and really want to return.