Friday, May 26, 2017

Munich...., the home stretch! Day 14 continued, June 8, 2016

After our day in Burghausen, we continued on towards Munich. We made one additional stop in Altötting. This town is Bavaria's spiritual center and Germany's principle pilgrimage site. Every year, over one million pilgrims and visitors come to see the "Black Madonna" statue in the octagonal Chapel of Grace in the town square. The chapel also houses a silver urn that hosts the hearts of Bavarian kings and prince-electors. Although to be honest, I think we missed both of those things. I don't believe we actually got to go into that Chapel. It's quite a spiritual town.

Our luck had still held out with the weather, but we didn't want to take our chances much longer.  We decided to get some ice cream, and take a quick break here, and then move on before the rain really came down!

Nearly everything being sold in every shop was a religious statue of some sort. They were waiting for the millions of pilgrims to come to shop!

And this kid is wiped out!  We're on our way now to our hotel....

Just had to take a picture of the road sign.  Thought it was cute. 

Our driver dropped us off at our hotel, which was perfect for us.  Just outside of the city center, but also right near a metro stop.  The rooms were plenty big and very clean and modern. 

After a quick break, we found a place within walking distance and went to dinner.

The restaurant we ended up at was definitely one frequented mainly by locals. The four of us were having a bit of a difficult time trying to decide what to get and the couple at the table next to us overheard us trying to decipher the menu as it was written only in German. They asked us if we would like any recommendations. We ended up talking to them for the remainder of the evening. Alex and I have found that throughout this trip, when dining it is so easy to strike up conversations with locals. We met so many wonderful people and exchanged so many stories! While seeing the beautiful sites on this trip has been so wonderful, meeting so many people and talking with them has been an added bonus!

Today was a great day in Germany, and tomorrow would be our last day. It's hard to believe we'd already been traveling for two weeks! Tomorrow we head to the fairy tale castle!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Heading to Munich! On the way, the Longest Castle in the World! Day 14, June 8, 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed our river cruise and were sad to leave the ship and the crew. But we had a couple of days left in Germany before heading home. We had arranged for transportation from Passau to Munich, where we would be flying home from.  On the way, we would be making a couple of sightseeing stops! 

So, Alycen, Katie, Alex and I were picked up by our driver, and off we went! Our first stop was Burghausen. Burghausen is on the border between Austria and Germany and the highlight is the Berghausen Castle, the longest castle in the world! 

You can see in the panoramic view the castle stretches all along the top of the trees.  We'd be visiting there today and walking through all of the courtyards!

Heading up past the town!

Turn right for the World's Longest Castle!

Very welcoming! 

Our driver also stayed with us as we walked through the castle courtyards. He was a combination of a guide, although he may not have actually been there before, but also he shared much about the culture and he really just was a great companion for the day!  

This first courtyard had some shops in it, as well as some homes that people were currently living in. The homes were once used as part of the castle. It really was quite fascinating!

Parts of the castle date back to 2/1c BC, with various architectural changes throughout history.  It was during the 1200s that the work for the main castle was finished though, under the Duke Henry VIII.  It wasn't until the 1400s though that the most important construction period occurred, bringing the castle to it's current form. 

This is the well house with clock tower from the 16th/17th century.

This is the outer castle chapel, know as Hedwig's Chapel. Built in 1479 -1489. This is in the 5th courtyard.

Passing into the 4th courtyard, on the right is the Aventinus House. This was the residence of the chaplain of the inner castle chapel, later the living quarters of the garrison priest. 

The building with the pointed roof is the Hexentrum, or Witch's Tower. This was a prison tower with cells and dungeons.  The last witch trials here were in 1751 with the last execution by sword in 1831.

The building with a flat roof is the Zuchthaus (prison or workhouse). This section of the building has been used for several things according to building plans. It has been an armory, tax keeper's residence, a hospital and then as a prison and covered torture passage that connected the Torture Tower to the Witch's Tower.

Entrance to the 3rd courtyard

This is the Master Gunsmith or Armoury Guard's Tower

The courtyards were all beautiful, and the views from the castle were stunning!

These are guard lookout towers, known as pepper casters. Some of them have footpaths that lead to various places - for example, to St. Jacobs' church in the Town Square below! 

George's Gate ...

Here in the 2nd courtyard, one of the former buildings is now a castle cafe! It was time for lunch!

After lunch we spent some more time in the 2nd courtyard and enjoying this amazing view of the town below before heading into the inner castle courtyard. 

The inner castle courtyard. This was so fascinating to me! Really the whole castle was. The buildings here included previous residences of the duchess and her royal husband. There is also a treasure chamber that once held 500,000 minted gold ducats that were transported on 70 carriages, each drawn by six horses! Also there is the Inner Castle Chapel as well as the dungeon for high ranking prisoners! 

There was an art display in one of the buildings, the only one we could enter. No photography of course! But we could go out onto the roof, and take some more pictures of the view below.

We had come to the end of the castle, all 1051m in length. Now we got to walk back! And so we did...of course taking more pictures along the way. 

We were hoping we wouldn't get rained on! 

We made it back to the car, no rain....and we continued along on our way to Munich. We did still have another stop along the way though!  But I'll save that for another post. 

We really enjoyed this morning in Burghausen. It was a leisurely walk through the castle courtyards. And it was so interesting to see the transformation of the castle from what it once was to how it is today. People live in these buildings now, some of them. But if you try to, you can maybe envision this castle as it was, using the guidebook, knowing what the buildings were originally used for. 

It was a stop well worth it!