With such a short trip, days begin early and end late, they are full yet exhausting at the same time. Today was such a day. I’m very thankful we had Kevin again today take us around and share his knowledge with us – we wouldn’t have learned about Mad King Ludwig or found my nativity scene!

We drove through a foggy Bavaria until we came to Fussen, a cute little town where the sun finally appeared. We had our first experience on the autobahn which wasn’t as crazy as I’d expected… there were a few areas where there was no speed limit (can you imagine!!) but the majority we drove about 120km. Not bad – faster than our own highways for sure (100-110km speed limit).

Neuschwanstein Castle… we had to wait close to an hour before our tour began.

Kevin gave us a lot of background history, showed us some ample photo locations and then Ayla and I became photographers for the groups who all wanted photos taken (which was a little fun). The tour itself is not what I’d expected. There were 6 rooms completed – lavishly I might add – but for a man who built a castle meant only for himself (there was only one bedroom created and furnished… he didn’t want guests… can you believe that?) – it was pretty impressive.

After our tour we walked down the long windy road back to the small village beneath the castle. I remember this trail from an episode a few years ago on the Amazing Race… we ate at this little Bavarian restaurant where we shared a table with a family from Asia. Yep – shared a table. Apparently this is quite common.

Leaving Füssen, we drove through Austria for a little while before coming back into Germany and stopping at a very small, very quaint Germany market in Garmish. I drank a hot chocolate with rum while my daughter shopped for Christmas gifts. I mentioned to Kevin that the one thing I wanted to do was to find a nativity scene… and he knew just the place.

Obermmergau – the town known for its Passion Plays every 10 years (the next one is 2020). Kevin introduced me to Toni Baur, a well known and famous wood carver. The moment we stepped into his shop, my pulse quickened and I was enthralled with all the hand carved figurines. It didn’t take me long to find a manger scene I loved… hand carved, hand painted… I bought a manger, the family of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and then went on a hunt for a black sheep.

Yes, black sheep.

I love them. I have been collecting them since I was a teenager and first saw them in Scotland. I don’t have many pieces, but the ones I do have are precious to me. Toni is able to commission black sheep for my manger and have them shipped to me back home… woo hoo!

I ended up doing a ‘little bit of shopping’ today in that store – I found a German frau reading a book with some Christmas Geese looking over her shoulder at the book too…

By the time we returned to our hotel, we were both exhausted and made the mistake of lying down. Instead of going to dinner at 8pm at night, we slept till 12:30 am. With all the stores closing at 8:30pm here and there being no room service… guess I’m going to have to wait till breakfast for food.

What’s the plan for tomorrow? I have no clue. Friday is our ‘free day’ and one I left up to Ayla to plan. I’d love to go to Salzburg and see the markets, but she would love to stay in Munich and not walk too much (lol). We change hotels tomorrow so your guess is as good as mine as to what we’ll end up doing 😉