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The Romantic Road/ Amsterdam

semi-overcast 14 °C

We are again heading north and decided that a drive through Bavaria in Germany’s south would fit the bill nicely. The Romantic road promises beautiful scenery in the Alps to idyllic towns along the route. We were not going to drive the entire route, just a few stops on the way to the Netherlands. First stop was Fussen, a tiny little town on the edge of the alps but with one of Europe’s major tourist attractions… King Ludwig II famous fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein Castle. P1040743

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He had a mad crush or obsession with a German composer so with the help of a theatrical designer drew up the plans for the castle. It looks like it was planned by a couple of set designers or the “gayest gays in the village”. If you have never seen photos of this castle before you will still recognise the façade because of Disney modelling its logo after it. There are two castles in the area, the much lesser known and less visited Hohenschwangau was where mad King Ludwig grew up and although it is still a sight to behold it does not compare with Neuschwanstein which is just up the hill. I certainly wouldn’t say they were beautiful, more a blow to the senses. P1040738

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As the rumour goes, he had spent the entire royal coffers on the castle and had plans to build more when the state finally declared him a loony and he met his end in a lake not long after. It was only six weeks after he died the state opened the castle for tourism and have been raking the millions in ever since. Poor old Ludwig wasn’t mad after all.P1040749

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From going to one mad German to another mad Austrian we headed along to Nuremberg. Nuremberg was once touted as the most German of all German towns and it was here that Hitler held most of the rallies for the emerging Nazi party. There is still evidence of the massive building programs he had set up with the marching grounds capable of holding five hundred thousand troops and roads complete with grandstands. The document building is massive depressing looking building that was modelled on the Roman colosseum which now houses a museum and a music school. The stand where Hitler gave all of his speeches is still there and overlooks the mock battle arena which is now used for rock concerts and street hockey. P1040756.jpg The foundations for unfinished work have been filled with water and are now lakes to paddle or sail a boat about. It seems like it is all still there but somehow disguised.
We are now in Cologne and are shaking off a dusty feeling after being entertained by a great blues musician “Wailin’ Willy “ . The food in the café was way overpriced and the quality was very ordinary but for two reasons the night turned into a success, the waitress brought out four beers for us instead of one and three cokes so it was up to me to make sure we didn’t waste money, so I did it for the team ( a small beer is 400ml, hiccup!) and a great chat with Willy after his gig. Willy is a bloke that sings the blues even when he’s talking to you. I felt myself singing in my head “ da na naa nat” after he completed every sentence. Cool man.P1040779.jpg
Deciding that the next logical step for us would be Amsterdam we have packed up the van and headed to the Netherlands. Amsterdam has been a great city for all of us in different ways. P1040790

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Patti and I wanted to see the Van Gogh gallery and the Rijks museum that literally houses billions of dollars worth of paintings. Brenton came along for Vincent but the old Rembrandts and Vermeers weren’t enough to convince him of another day out with Mum and Dad although we reckon he missed out on the best. To see the masterpieces up close, even for the great un-educated was a real privilege. We have wandered the streets of this beautiful city up and over canal bridges and dodging the two million or so bicycles that are in the city at any one time. The red light district was a sight to behold, in fact Matt couldn’t get it all in on one pass so soon became a regular “window shopper”. Hard to imagine that its all legal and visual compared to home. Couldn’t get him near another gallery for love or money but he’d look at that all day! every fifteen year old boy’s dream, young gorgeous women wearing undies inviting you into their room. We managed to catch a State of Origin game on SKY TV in one of the bars. Pity we lost. The smell of dope seems to be everywhere but seems to be a tourist thing visit a coffee shop rather than locals. We have found the city easy to get around, interesting and will definitely return one day, only if the weather improves. We have all just about had enough of camper living and we are heading to Dresden to deliver “Princess” back to the company. Its been a great three months in the camper but we are all a bit tired of the close quarters and the driving.P1040789

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Next stop Berlin and then on to Dublin. Andiamo

Posted by mike1967 00:58 Archived in Netherlands

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