July 28, 2017

The World of Violins in Mittenwald

Whether you enjoy Classical, Rock or Country music, if you listen to music your life has been touched by violins.  In a grand fusion, violins have moved from the concert halls of famous composers like Mozart to the arenas of Rock or Country music.  I’d like to think that charming Mittenwald Germany has had a little to do with this!Beautiful Violins Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Salzburg is famous for its hills being alive with the Sound of Music but there is another village in the area that is famous for instruments that help make this beautiful music! For more than 300 years violins from this unassuming mountain village, located near the border of Tirol and Bavaria, have been famous in the musical world.  Even Mozart played a violin with the “made in Mittenwald” stamp!Violins Geigenbau Museum Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Matthias Klotz was a violin maker from Mittenwald who brought his craft to this lovely town.  Since 1685 the industry of violin making has made a huge impact on the city as well as the surrounding area.Violin Museum Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Knowing the place Mittenwald holds in the history of violins, I set out to find the Geigenbau Museum. Not only did I find a wonderful museum but one of my favorite buildings in all of Mittenwald! The museum is home to a grand collection of violins from the Klotz family and other violin masters dating back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.Workshop Violin Museum Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Not only can you see some of these exquisite violins but there are also many other plucked instruments on display.  While exploring the museum you will find displays of Baroque and Modern violins, as well as a workshop and a history of Mittenwald’s violin trade.Instruments Violin Museum Mittenwald Germany

The Geigenbau Museum is a wonderful display of the culture that has shaped Mittenwald!

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Charming Mittenwald

Mittenwald is that quintessential Bavarian village we’ve all dreamt about visiting.  This tiny town located in southern Germany at the Austrian border is full of charming people, quaint buildings festooned by traditional Lüftlmalerei, great food and history all ringed by majestic mountains.

Yes, Mittenwald is too charming for mere words.  I was lucky enough to visit Mittenwald last summer and for Travel Photo Thursday I”m sharing some of my favorite photos that tell the story of why Mittenwald is known as one of the most beautiful and charming Bavarian villages.Charming Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Trough in Mittenwald Bavaria GermanyWater trough in Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

 

 

Lüftlmalerei is defined as a tradition of painting the facade of a building and Bavaria is famous for it.  These murals depict village life or carry a religious or hunting theme.

 

 

Beautiful Bavarian Buildings in Mittenwald Bavaria Germany 

Violin Museum Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

World Class Violins can be seen at the Violin Museum

Water Canal Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Lovely canal running down the main street

Between the mountains and the lovely canal running through the streets of Mittenwald, it is important you look up and down while visiting Mittenwald!


These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Mittenwald: Pictures Tell the Story

The only reason I decided to visit Mittenwald Germany was it’s status as one of the most beautiful Bavarian villages.

As divulged in Magical Mittenwald – Bavaria at its Best I am a complete sucker for the quaint villages so often found deep in Bavaria near the Austrian border.  So off I went to Mittenwald in search of “that” village.

This is what I found!

Beautiful street view Mittenwald Germany
Mittenwald is known for it’s storybook quality which reeks from every nook and cranny of the village.Street outside Violin Museum Mittenwald GermanyYes it is touristy but it doesn’t really seem to take away from your enjoyment of the village.

Painted Building Mittenwald Germany

This peaceful alpine village is known for it’s painted buildings and they are everywhere! The frescoes depict both religious themes and details of the history of Mittenwald.

Frescoed Building Mittenwald Germany

Surrounding Mittenwald are the mountains, which are right there!

Mittenwald Germany the mountains are right there

As in most European villages, the church takes center stage.  The lovely Sts. Peter and Paul church is at the center of Mittenwald.  You can’t miss the lovely frescoed tower!

Street View with Church in Background Mittenwald Germany

Even though this church is slightly more modest than other European churches, the inside of the church is very beautiful and full of tiny details.

Inside Mittenwald Germany ChurchCheck out the wood working details on the ends of the pews!

Inside Mittenwald Church Look at detail on pews

It doesn’t take long to tour Mittenwald, a couple hours will do.  Don’t rush your visit, though, as you will need time to soak in all the atmosphere.Facade Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

Which may include a lovely dinner outside with a couple local boys playing great Bavarian music!Dinner outside Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

 

I love these alpine Bavarian villages, what is your favorite type village to spend time in?

Goatherd Encounter in Mittenwald

While all of traveling results in special memories, every once in awhile we have an extra special memory that stays with us for years!

One of these travel moments happened while I was in Mittenwald Germany.

If you are a Sound of Music fan, you know “High on a hill was a lonely Goatherd” is the opening line to a song written by Rodgers & Hammerstein and sung during the Marionette scene in The Sound of Music.  The “Lonely Goatherd” song is one of my favorites but

Did you know Goatherders are real and can be found in the Bavarian Alps?

I have never given much thought to Goatherders until I ran smack dab into them in the hills above Mittenwald.Hummel Little Goat HerderI really thought they only existed in this song or the Hummel figurine.

I was wrong!

It was scorching the day I arrived in Mittenwald.  My hotel, the Alpenrose, suggested I take the bus up to one of the local lakes to cool off.  After spending a little time wandering the village and touring the Violin museum, I decided to take their suggestion and escape the heat by climbing in elevation.Lautersee a lake above Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

The bus dropped me off at Lautersee a beautiful lake high above Mittenwald and surrounded by mountains.  As I wandered around the lake, all of a sudden I heard a lot of ringing bells.    My initial thought was “Wow, these hills are alive with the sound of music!”Goats making beautiful music Lautersee Mittenwald Germany

Not being able to see what was making all the noise but expecting cows; I turned the corner and came face to face with a large herd of goats!  They were everywhere.Goatherders in Lederhosen Mittenwald Germany

After taking a few pictures, I continued along the path and noticed two goatherders sitting under the nearby tree to my right.  They were even dressed in Lederhosen!

OMG, they’re real!!!!!

The goatherder of song and story actually exists.

As the afternoon wore on, I ended up at the edge of the lake to dip my feet in the cool water.  With shoes and socks off I heard the bells getting louder and louder.  They were coming right at me!  Some came to the waters edge for a drink and others kept to the trail.Goats stopping for water on the way home Mittenwald Germany

There were two goatherders leading the pack and one bringing up the rear!Goatherders leading the way home Mittenwald Germany

My close encounter of the goat kind was one of my favorite memories of this trip!  Experiencing culture and randomness like this is so much fun.

Goatherders. . . Who would have thought?!!?

 

What is your favorite travel memory?

Magical Mittenwald – Bavaria at its Best!

Mittenwald is one of those scenic Bavarian villages that you’ve been waiting to visit.

During my trip to Europe later this summer, I will be making a stop in Mittenwald on my way to Innsbruck.  Why?  Simply because it is known to be a picturesque Bavarian village and I can’t seem to get enough of them 🙂

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Bayern tourismus Marketin gGmbH

But there is so much more to Mittenwald than just a pretty face!

Mittenwald lies in a beautiful valley created by the Isar river and is surrounded by majestic mountains.  Goethe visited in 1786 and declared it “A living picture book!”  I believe part of this was due to its idyllic location and the other part must be all the frescoed buildings lining the Obermarkt.  The frescoes covering the buildings of Mittenwald tell the story of this historic town.

Frescoes of Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Frescoes in Mittenwald by Alaskan Dude, on Flickr

There is also the St. Peter & Paul church built in the Rococo style between 1738 – 1740. The church is full of frescoes inside and out and is the center of the village.  It also hosts an organ festival during late summer.

Loveley Street Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Lovely Street in Mittenwald by bangli 1, on Flickr

The highest private brewery in Germany is located right here in Mittenwald.  Yumm more beer!  They offer tours complete with a tasting at the end 🙂

The surrounding mountains and lakes are begging you to explore them.  There are many hikes in the valley and even to the mountaintops.  Whether you want a hike of a couple hours or an all day trek, walking in the nearby woods or mountains will charm and fascinate you.

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany Mountains

Mountains of Mittenwald by TeunSpaans

Of course, if hiking your way to the top of mountain isn’t in the cards for you, maybe the Karwendel Cable Car or Kranzberg chairlift would be more suitable.  The Karwendel Cable Car rises to 7,360 feet where you will find a nature reserve and an incredibly scenic vista.  The Kranzberg chair lift whisks you up to almost 4,000 feet and some of the most beautiful walking areas.  Spend your time walking through alpine flowers, pass lakes and even a restaurant or two.  If you’re here during the winter this area offers great skiing and boarding opportunities too!

There is one thing Mittenwald is very famous for that you might not expect in a Bavarian village – Mittenwald is known worldwide for its violin making!

Being on the Roman trade route from Venice to Augsburg, Mittenwald was a very prosperous town during the medieval age. When shipping became more popular, Mittenwald’s economy sank.  Thanks to its own resident, Matthias Klotz, Mittenwald once again flourished!

Klotz Violin 1794 Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Klotz Violin 1794

Being trained by masters in Italy, Klotz brought his renowned craftsmanship home to Mittenwald. It was during the 18th century that this tiny village received international acclaim for violin making thanks to Matthias Klotz!

While in Mittenwald you will find many things related to violins.   You may wish to explore the Geigenbaumuseum where you will learn about the local history of violin making while listening to beautiful music.  Or a visit to one of the many Master Violin Maker’s workshops may be in order! Here you can witness violin making firsthand.  If you haven’t had enough of violins at this point, stop by the Violin Making School which as part of its curriculum includes training in all string instruments.

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Hesse1309

Yes, there is much more to Mittenwald than her pretty face and I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes!

 

Have you been to Mittenwald?

What is your favorite Bavarian village?

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and Alpine Bavaria

When people visit Germany it almost always includes a stop in Bavaria and, with good reason, this trip will include a visit to Neuschwanstein, just one of King Ludwig’s castles. Perched high atop a hill deep in Bavaria, near the Austrian border, sits Neuschwanstein castle. The castle combined with the dramatic scenery created by the jagged peaks of the Alps equal a beauty that is unsurpassed.

This impressive castle, built in the medieval style, creates a dreamy fairy tale vision that also exemplifies the feeling of this southern portion of Bavaria. It’s no wonder the castle is so popular!

View of Neuschwanstein Castle Bavaria Germany

View of Neuschwanstein Castle from www.schloesser.bayern.de - Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung

I recently had the opportunity to read a new guide to visiting Neuschwanstein and her sister castle Hohenschwangau. Written by Edd Morris, Neuschwanstein Castle 2013: An ‘Exploring Castles’ Travel Guide would be a great read for anyone visiting the castle for the first time. The author not only gives tips to enhance your visit of Neuschwanstein but also includes nearby hotel recommendations, not to miss excursions, ways to save a few euros on your visit and some interesting history on King Ludwig and the rooms in the castle. Also included is a discussion on the various ways you can reach the castle.

Alpsee Bavaria Germany

Alpsee by Nicholas Even

The close proximity to Munich enables visitors to reach the castle on a coach as a day tour from Bavaria’s capital city. My first visit to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles was on a coach trip from Munich. There are many pros and cons to this type of trip and while I thoroughly enjoyed my bus tour and could recommend it if you only had one day to experience King Ludwig’s castle, it’s not my preferred way to visit Neuschwanstein and her environs.

My favorite way to visit Kind Ludwig’s castle is by personal car spending multiple days in the area to fully experience the Bavarian Alpine countryside.

Why? Let me tell you just some of the reasons you should explore the region!

Oberammergau Bavaria Germany

Oberammergau by Oberau-Online, on Flickr

  • Visit villages that are famous for their painted buildings, violin making (Mittenwald), wood carving (Oberammergau) and organ music (Ottobeuren)
  • Fresh air, green meadows and National parks
    The Alpspitze and Waxenstein as seen from Garmisch Germany

    The Alpspitze and Waxenstein near Garmisch by Octagon

  • Enjoy a picnic in one of the meadows listening to lovely Alpine music from the bells around local Cows necks
  • Make cheese from the milk produced by these Happy Cows!
  • See storybook villages complete with chalets and window boxes overflowing with color
  • Hike up the Tegelberg mountain or around Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze
  • Swim, sail, canoe or walk around the many lakes in the area including Alpsee, Forggensee or Obersee
  • Drive along the Alpine Road stopping to visit other castles like Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee
  • Visit beautiful Wieskirche or the Baroque Abbey in Ettal which dates back to 1330 and is famous for its beer and schnapps
  • Ettal Abbey Bavaria Germany

    Ettal Abbey from wikimedia

    What do you think? Would the Alpine Scenery make for a wonderful holiday?

     
    While I did receive a copy of Neuschwanstein Castle 2013: An ‘Exploring Castles’ Travel Guide for free, all opinions are mine.

Colorful Buildings in Europe

With a history dating back thousands of years, its no wonder Europe is full of villages and cities whose streets are lined with colorful buildings.

 

These colorful buildings line rivers,

Bamberg Colorful Buildings GermanyBamberg Germany

Dress Up Old Town’s,

Mainz Colorful Buildings GermanyMainz Germany

Or are as colorful as their past!

Erfurt Colorful Buildings GermanyErfurt Germany

Some villages are even known for their beautifully painted buildings.

Mittenwald Colorful Buildings GermanyMittenwald Germany

 

No matter the reason they exist, the colorful houses found in Europe delight us all and help keep memories of our visit fresh in our minds.

Lucerne Colorful Buildings SwitzerlandLucerne Switzerland

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Romance – European Style

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, romance is in the air!

There are cities like Paris that are known as romantic but to me romance is in the eye of the beholder.  With romance in the air, I thought it would be fun to look at a few European destinations that are romantic.

Here are three European locations that have the glamour, enchantment and fairy tale feel to them to bring out the romantic side in me.

Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne Old Town Switzerland

Lucerne Old Town along River

What isn’t romantic about scenery like this?  Lucerne and her lake have to be one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Europe! Everywhere you look you’ll be rewarded with beautiful mountain views.  Enjoy a romantic stroll through the old town marveling at medieval buildings or along the river.  Another romantic adventure is a steamer trip on the lake maybe even stopping off at one of the villages along the shores.   Splurging on one of the romantic lake side hotels will cap off the romance of the city!

Salzburg Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Salzburg Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Salzburg

The storybook quality of Salzburg is palpable and oozes from every corner. Salzburg is a beautiful city full of gardens, history, architectural gems, music and other cultural events.  The views from atop the Hohenbsalzburg will take your breath away and leave you feeling peaceful.  A visit to the many Sound of Music locations will bring back fond memories and a smile to your face if not a song in your heart plus they are some of the most beautiful and romantic locations in the city. A leisurely stroll through the Altstadt after dinner is a wonderful way to end the day.  It is truly a serene time of day and the darkening sky will certainly put you in a romantic mood.

Ludwig’s Castles & Small Villages of Bavaria Germany

Neuschwantstein Castle Bavaria Germany

Neuschwantstein Castle by BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

If you find mountains, castles, charming villages and beautiful vistas romantic then this part of Southern Germany is for you! The well known Neuschwanstein Castle will not disappoint those looking for a romantic retreat. The castle’s fairy tale feel has been sparking romance for eons.  After spending time at the castle, I suggest a walk in the mountains or visits to the many nearby traditional Bavarian villages.  Explore their streets lined with painted houses and buildings adorned with window boxes overflowing with flowers.  Enjoy learning about traditional crafts like wood working or violin making. For romantic lodging, experience a traditional Bavarian guest house!

 

What European city or area brings out your Romantic side?

This is my entry for Carnival of Europe hosted by Aleah Taboclaon at Solitary Wanderer. This months theme is “Most Romantic Places in Europe”.

European Lodging – The Choice is Yours

George Bernard Shaw said “The great advantage of a hotel is that it’s a great refuge from home life”. This too true statement is indicative of why the choice of hotel when traveling is so difficult and important!

Luckily Europe has many different lodging options which will add to the enjoyment of your escape! Here are a few that I’ve been lucky enough to have stayed at.Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

Hotels can be wonderful traditional guest houses like Gasthof Fraundorfer in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Hotel Alpenrose in Mittenwald Germany. Make sure you know whether they have elevators and are prepared for stairs if they don’t! Also make sure you know whether there is a bar or restaurant on the first floor. This may mean it may be a bit noisier than expected.View Schloss Hotel Rheinfels Germany

They can be Luxury class beauties set on the shores of an equally beautiful lake as with Palace Hotel on Lake Lucerne and Suisse Majestic Montreux Switzerland or seaside in the Hotel du Palais Biarritz France or even have amazing views of rivers like the Schloss Hotel Rheinfels in St. Goar Germany. I don’t have the opportunity to stay in luxury hotels often since the price is not usually in my budget but can say I’ve enjoyed staying in luxury accommodations even if I wonder if they are really me.

Gasthof Fraundorfer Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany

Gasthof Fraundorfer by Q-BEE, on Flickr

There are 4 star large basic properties conveniently located for train travel such as the Intercity Hotel in Mainz and Hotel Excelsior Erfurt Germany. Not usually my first choice but I really did enjoy how close they were to the train station and the city centers of both were easily reached.

Green hotels like Hotel Victoria Freiburg Germany which boasts they are the “most eco friendly hotel in the world” and they just might be! All electricity and heat come from renewable sources like solar, wind and wood pellet heating. The thermal solar panels on the roof and the natural materials used throughout hotel make for a wonderful experience and the Victoria is also convenient to both the train station and city center!BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany

Historic architectural treasures in perfect locations – Old Town city centers – but not completely convenient for train travel BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany and Kasererbraeu Salzburg Austria. The beautiful building housing the Barockhotel dates back to 1520 while the Kasererbraeu is from 1342 and was once a monastery and brewery before becoming protected by UNESCO!

Hotels I’m glad I read the online reviews of so I wasn’t completely frightened by the entrance, Panorama Central in Budapest. A wonderful oasis once you got inside but honestly a little unsettling getting to! Moral to this story, READ online reviews!

Known for its history and spa, Schwarzer Bock Wiesbaden. I’ve been lucky to stay here two times and can say this is one of my favorite hotels. Dating back to 1486, the Schwarzer Bock is a classic beauty- luxurious and yet very comfortable. And in a wonderful location!

Hotel I fell in love with because there was a heat wave and it was air conditioned refrigerated, Grauer Baer Innsbruck! I would stay at this property again because it was very convenient to Old Town and train station.

While my preferred type of lodgings are guest houses and architectural and historic beauties, in some way, all of the hotels I’ve stayed in have added to my enjoyment and experience I had in their cities and villages.

What do you look for when choosing a hotel for your trip?

A Stand Out Moment in Rostock

Ten days into my trip exploring the Historic Highlights of Germany and I had not experienced that one stand out moment like my Goatherd encounter in Mittenwald Germany.  I was beginning to feel it wasn’t going to happen.

That is until the afternoon I wandered into St. Mary’s church in Rostock. 

Outside St. Marys Church Rostock Germany

Your local guide in Rostock!

Beautiful St. Mary’s is located in the old town right off Neuer Market and can be seen for miles.  The large brick Gothic church has guided sailors to Rostock for decades and, today, it can be used by tourists to navigate the city – it sure helped me!

Altar St Marys Church Rostock Germany

Beautiful Altar

Built in the 13th century, St Mary’s was damaged but survived the bombings that devastated Rostock during WWII.

Pulpit St Marys Church Rostock Germany

Ornate pulpit

St. Mary’s is a beautiful church. The gilded altar is spectacular and the one of a kind medieval Astronomic Clock which dates back to 1472 is very interesting!  There are many wonderful ornate features such as the Royal box and the pulpit but the exquisite and enormous Baroque organ from 1770 is probably the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

Royal Box St Marys Rostock Germany

Exquisite Royal Box

Yes all of these made the church very beautiful but what made it exceptional was the majestic music I was treated to while exploring the church!

ST MARYS CHURCH Rostock Germany  by RAYANDBEE, on Flickr

The organ in St Marys church by Rayandbee, on Flickr

On this afternoon an orchestra and choir were practicing for a performance so my time wandering the church was enhanced by the beautiful and haunting music and voices. Take a listen!

This music really set the tone for my visit!  You could feel the music as it bounced off the walls of this beautiful church. My time in St. Mary’s church was one of “those” stand out moments that I will always remember!

 

What stand out moments do you have from your travels?