We had a brochure in German with all these roman buildings and structures that we got in the tourist office (but we couldn't read) and the tourist office people were oblivious and couldn't tell us how to get to any ruins. Some tourist office that is!

I was really bummed that I could not see any roman ruins on this trip

Eichstatt to Harburg to Garmisch

We even found a book that claimed Roman ruins in the area!

So this was a weird day. All we had to do was go visit the castle in Harbug, and get down to the ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (down there lies the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze, and I really wanted to check that out. The guidebook said you can take a train to the top!). So how can we fill in the time? Well, if you know Bonneys then you know we are suckers for Roman ruins. We noticed on some random maps that they had marked the old Roman border wall. The Romans, you see, had pushed about this far into Germany before giving up, building a wall, and thumbing their noses at the Germanic hordes. So we thought it'd be cool to check out this wall.

Breakfast first: Meats. Coffee. Bad cereal.

Another trip to the tourist office became an even more frustrating experience. I remember being armed with both the word for Romans ("Romanisch!") and ruins (don't remember now), and repeating over and over, "Romanisch!? Romanisch!?!?". But no dice. We had a hand drawn cartoon map that showed a dotted line that was PROBABLY the wall...so that's what we went with. Another entry in our guidebook mentioned another random fortress on the way, and that was added to the plan as well.

We had an early start, which was good since we spent about an hour driving back and forth where the dotted line crossed near the city of Weissenburg. No luck.

Looks promising!

Next, to find the random fortress. We spent yet another hour driving back and forth, back and forth, before we finally found the road up to the fortress. It looked pretty cool from the outside, but once we entered the gate, something seemed funny. There were fun facts around, but much of the fortress was off limits. That's not usually weird, but there was something... It was still early morning, and there were cars inside the fortress... eventually we figured it out. These were condos! All the doors we were seeing were people's houses! I guess their insurance against the Huns was pretty reasonable. That was pretty crazy.

But not as crazy as the moat. The fortress was in sort of a star shape, with a very deep moat. And there was a herd of deer in there! Fresh venison every night, I guess.

Dinner is served, sir

So, the place was a bit of a bust once we found out it was condos, and we boarded the USS Leon and hit the road. We found a sorry excuse for Roman ruins on our way out of that city.

Finally, we made it to Harbug. Hooray! And it seemed to be a rather standard castle. Lin-Wei got us tickets for the next guided tour, which unfortunately was in German, but we did have a small pamphlet that described each sight, in English. And our tour guide, a stout German woman in period dress, could also say "This way please!" in thickly-accented English.

Our German Tourgroup. They moved slow.

Our tour group consisted of 30 Germans all over the age of 65, Lin-Wei and I, and a young Italian couple, armed with an Italian pamphlet. At each stop, and mostly notably the first on in the castle chapel, the tour guide would go on an on, and have the whole crowd laughing, while we just sat there and read stuff like "In 1720, the church was renovated in its present appearance. The pulpit, organ, stucco and ceiling frescos date from that time..." That's gold Jerry! Gold!

The tour was pretty fun. A highlight was us getting to climb a latter into a loft, once the old Germans cleared out of the room. They weren't able to go up there, but the Italians and Bonneys were given a free pass. I used the time to take care of a little business.

We ate lunch at the castle restaurant, and briefly debated spending the night there. We'd always wanted to spend the night in a real castle, but as we'd seen it all by this point, we didn't really need to stick around. We decided instead to head down to Garmisch-Partchneabenben, and see if we could actually find some lodging there. I was getting nervous that maybe we wouldn't, this being Friday and all, and it being a resort town. Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2006