All the stereotypes are here - lederhosen, dirndles, beer-halls, glorious Alpine peaks, incredible scenery, beautiful frescoed villages and legendary hospitality. It's a free State with its' own constitution, staunchly independent and deeply traditional. You can sense that everywhere too.
We have been staying in a small village, Miesbach, about 50km south of Muncih, in a holiday home (with no computer, telephone or TV). Miesbach has offered the best weather imaginable and we've hiked around the nearby mountains, lakes and glitzy spa-towns. I still haven't managed to talk Sabrina and Phoebe into the delights of hiking yet (or that every church we pass is definitely worth taking a look at). Sabrina doesn't see the point in walking somewhere (especially uphill) only so you can walk home again and for Phoebe there's just not enough action (unless you jump all the way backwards singing a song - which she does now)! Nevertheless, we have all learnt how to make compromises towards each other that allow all of us to have something of what we like to do during any day.
The first Sunday we travelled to Munich. It is one of the most beautiful cities I've seen. It's chic, full of splendid architecture, cultural, but still seems charming and provincial. The Englischer Park is the largest city park in Europe and was overflowing with naked sunbathers!
Spent 2 nights in Salzburg during the second week. The hostel we stayed in showed The Sound of Music every night at 8pm (yes, we wathched it both nights - along with the hardest and most well-worn backpackers) consequently we were hard on TSOM trail during the day. (Ben - Phoebe has become granny's protege. Next time you visit us she will ask you, "Ben, have you seen TSOM? Would you like to see it again?")
But, like most excursions, the most interesting part was the least expected. The unusal and mysterious woman I met at the hostel when we arrived. Bridget, a Swiss/French German, who I suspect wasn't very mortal and seemed ageless and beyond definition. Will always be remembered.
A hectic last weekend - Saturday visiting Micheaela in Bad Toelz and Sunday meeting Alex and Sabine in Augsberg. Both are well and so wonderful to see again. Of course Oktoberfest has begun in Munich so the trains were filled with locals dressed in traditional clothes - the girls beautiful in dirndls and the men very handsome in lederhosen. But Okotoberfest aside, I suspect Bavarians will through on their traditional clobber at the drop of a hat or even for no reason except they are Bavarian. I wonder if I think it is the most beautiful part of our time here only because it is our last part. I don't think so.
So, we are home now. That could prove to be another story all in itself. If you want to know more you will have to come over for a cuppa one day. Photos will still come later. CD's and camera are spread out between both hemispheres but none with me! We are all well and taking a deep breath.