After we had left ever-changing Berlin behind us & the gray nightmares of the concentration camp, Olivier & I headed south, where everything had slowly changed from gray to green & the sharp, hard edges of barracks & cities had smoothed, turning into the rolling hills of Bavaria & the Black Forest of Germany.
Since we had entered a new region, I began fidgeting around with the buttons on the radio, to see what it sounded like here.
Immediately, I was reminded of this:
Indeed, that’s what Bavaria sounds like.
What Bavaria looks like is probably just as one might imagine. As cliché as it sounds, the scenery & architecture of the homes did remind me very much of those Grimm’s Fairy Tales that I read when I was just a wee little Razzy.
“People here don’t greet one another with ‘Guten Tag‘”, Olivier told me. “People in this region greet one another with ‘Grüß Gott‘”.
“Uh-huh”, I said. “So, what does that mean? What’s the difference?”
“Grüß Gott means something about ‘greet God’, or ‘God bless you’. Anyway, that’s what they say here.”
Granted, I found this a bit annoying, as I’d rather just say “hello” or “good day” rather than have God & blessings flying about, but the deeper into the region we got, it became clear that we were far from the secular state of France.
Crosses, angels & a bleeding, dying Christ were everywhere. In our room at the B&B in which we were spending the night, the eyes of Jesus followed me wherever I went & a pair of praying hands hung on the wall above us where we slept.
We found it a bit creepy, but then again, we’re not Republicans.
But, hey… when in Rome, or Bavaria… it’s easy enough to distract yourself from the watchful eye of creepy Jesus paintings when outside of the window, is a view like this one:
Just in case you have ever wondered what “quaint” looks like, that’s it. Of course, if you add a lake to that & toss in a few cows, the quaintness factor increases slightly.
If you throw in a garden gnome, well… you’ve pretty much gone beyond quaint & have started shitting rainbows.
We hung out in our room, making plans for the following day, trying to decide what we would see & what we had time for before heading to Freiburg. We talked about visiting Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, but it was a little too far & not very practical since it would be so far out of our way.
The answer was pretty obvious, because stepping out of the front door of the B&B, we could see this place:
It just happens that I had a poster of Neuschwanstein castle on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager. So, seeing it in person was a bit surreal.
The walk up to the castle was a bit steep & took about 20 minutes. After all of the sausages we’d been consuming, we probably needed it.
Once we made it up to the top, we managed to blend in with the rest of the geeked-out tourists that were jabbering & snapping pictures as we all waited for our guided tours to begin.
The tour was actually rather short, as it only goes through a small portion of the castle. Of course, I could be bullshitting you all about having ever been inside the castle, as we weren’t allowed to snap off any pictures inside. Ergo, I have no proof that I was ever in there. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
What I can tell you is that the interior is truly unlike any other castle that I have been to… & I’ve been to several, as I sort of have a thing for castles. Ludwig II, who had the castle built seemed to be an overgrown child. The decor is gaudy & murals of fairy tales adorn the walls.
We left the castle & made our way back down the hill, which only took about 5 minutes, as opposed to the 20 minutes it took to go uphill.
Once our eyes had adjusted from the garish, glittering, gold decor of Ludwig’s digs, we were back in the car, making our way to Freiburg… slowly working our way back to France.
We didn’t spend much time in Bavaria, but when I look back on it all, there’s a mad swirling of images… Hansel & Gretel in the forest, garden gnomes in a Cinderella castle… all shitting rainbows to the jaunty sounds of sausage-making music.