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A Week of Sightseeing: Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Last week I had the chance to do a lot of tourism along with my wife and one of my brothers who came visit us from Madrid. We decided to visit Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle – which inspired Walt Disney when creating the castle of the Sleeping Beauty, Disney’s symbol – and Zurich. We also decided to go snowboarding in Austria. What a week!

February arrived with freezing temperatures, and we spent several non-stop-walking days over snowy surfaces, bearing maximum temperatures of up to -4°C. In most photos you can just see our faces, as we were covered from head to toe, you could see in our faces that we were frozen!

Our first stop was Munich (München), capital of the Baviera state. Munich is the third largest German city, and economically is the most important, having the lowest unemployment rate of all German cities. Many companies have their main headquarters in Munich, such as BMW, BSH and EADS, and others placed in this German citiy their European headquarters. A good place to look for a job! For soccer fans, Munich is home of one of the best clubs in the world: Bayern Munich, who play in the Allianz Arena, located in the Northern part of the city.

In Marienplatz, downtown Munich

In Marienplatz, downtown Munich

What most impressed me of Munich was that it has many really wide streets and many green areas: the Englischer Garten, in the middle of the city, is definitely worth visiting, and everyone should also enjoy the views of the city from the Olympiapark. The cold did not keep us from walking all over Munich, taking pictures and enjoying its architecture and landscape. We had lunch in Hofbräuhaus, a very famous Bavarian restaurant where we enjoyed the atmosphere of a typical German tavern, an amazing beer and sausages.

On our second day in Munich, we had the chance to visit the BMW Welt, an awesome museum of actual BMW cars. It’s supposed to be a showroom for people interested on buying a BMW, and for those wanted to learn more about the car brand. After our visit, I left wanting to drive back home one of those fantastic cars, I could live with this X3! By the way, did you know that in Germany there are many highways without speed limit? You can drive at 160 kph and cars will still overtake you!

Visiting the BMW Welt museum

Visiting the BMW Welt museum

During our second day, we decided to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is located an hour and a half car drive from where we live. The castle is located in top of a 800 m tall hill, and welcomed us covered of fresh snow. To be able to visit the castle, we had to walk up the hill, around 40 minutes, avoiding slipping because of the ice and snow. By the time we made it to the castle’s door, I had taken off my sweater, I had unzipped my coat, and I was tempted to grab a beer in a tavern located next the castle. Have I already told you how much I like German beer?

Neuschwanstein Castle is amazing! I am used to Spanish castles, but this one was different. The Spanish ones give you the impression of being taken to the medieval era, and that a knight might suddenly appear  at the end of one of its many corridors, or that an archer might appear from the top of a tower or in the fortified wall. But the Neuschwanstein Castle is… a fantasy castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Castle’s construction started in the 18869 by king Ludwig II of Bavaria, who could only live in the castle for 172 days before he died in 1886 and before construction works ended. Today it’s open to the public and there are tours that will take you through several of its rooms, such as the unfinished throne room, which nevertheless is impressive. Unfortunately, it was forbidden to take pictures inside the castle.

After these visits, we decided that it was time to go snowboarding, and visited Mellau – Damulls Ski resort, in the hearth of Vorarlberg (Austria). Austria is very famous for its many ski areas, and Mellau – Damülls exceeded our expectations, the place is awesome, with incredible landscapes and excellent facilities! The resort is just half an hour drive from my home, so I will definitely come back during the coming weeks.

Landscape of Mellau - Damüls ski resort

Landscape of Mellau – Damüls ski resort

We got up really early, as the resort opens at 8:30. We wanted to get the most out of the day, and luckily the weather was just perfect, so we snowboarded until the close time, 16:30. By that time I was exhausted, and my whole body hurt after several falls. After lunch the slopes were very icy, and for me was really hard to not fall down frequently, as I hadn’t done snowboarding for several years and I am still getting the hang of it. After one week, I still have some pain in arms and legs!

Snowboarding in Mellau - Damüls

Snowboarding in Mellau – Damüls

Finally, our last visit was to Zurich, an hour and a half drive from home – as you can see, my city’s location is perfect for visiting all three countries :). Zurich is not as big as Munich, and its streets are much narrower, thus giving a more cozy feeling. The Limmat river divides the city in half and ends in Lake Zurich (Zürichsee), which is located in the South of the city. Zurich is very colorful and buildings do not have many advertisements, which allows you to appreciate even more their shape and color.

Colorful buildings and the Limmat river in Zurich

Colorful buildings and the Limmat river in Zurich

Landscape of Zurich from the University area

Landscape of Zurich from the University area

It was an awesome week, despite the freezing temperatures! I told my brother that he should already start saving some money for the next time: a trip in the East coast of the USA!

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