Christmas in Bavaria

Even though its been a few weeks since, I thought I would share a little about Fussen, where we spent a very special Christmas with Ashleigh.

 

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Fussen is almost on the border of Austria.  It’s a two hour train journey from Munich Haupfbahnhof, the huge main station at Munich.  I managed to choose a train that involved one change, stupidly not understanding the ticket, but at least it was only one side of the platform to the other.   We chugged along through the outskirts of Munich, until the suburbs gave way to green countryside.

Much to our excitement, snow began to appear, with fields and houses looking like story-book pictures.  We also saw some deer, and two foxes which stood out against the pure white background.  While we watched, one fox stood looking intently down at the snow, and pounced through it, emerging with some unfortunately wriggling creature in its jaws.  Just like David Attenborough.

Arrival in Fussen, where the beast and its friends were dragged some 300 metres to our digs.     Hotel Sonne in Fussen was wonderful, with quirky décor based on a musical based on the life of Ludwig II.  Mannequins wearing costumes are positioned around the hotel.  Lovely hot spicy punch, or coffee/tea to go were always available, and….BUFFET BREAKFAST!!  Such luxury.  A wellness area with three saunas.  We hit that sauna pretty hard and lounged around afterward with lovely teas.  I only once encountered another soul there, who happened to be naked.  A complementary public transport ticket was given to us, so free transfers to the Castles and up to the mountains were available.    The Hotel also has its own dog, a black labrador, who greets the guests and generally adds to the welcome, just step over him at reception.

Fussen’s historic town is mainly pedestrian, and the hotel was at the start of the main street,   Steven strode out and announced that he was going “down here”….and this is why.

 

 

The little booths for Gluhwein and Wurst were doing a roaring trade, but it was quiet and friendly, so lots of chat with the customers made for a friendly experience.  Locals and their guests, as well as the tourists all took to the streets for a slug of mulled wine with friends.  We enjoyed walking around late at night, taking in the atmosphere all bundled up.    Christmas Eve  had Steve reeling, with his new buds, Bern and Klaus, who were down to see their sister.  Petra’s Gluhwein was drained, and her beer stock depleted, when the schnapps came out.    Proceedings came to an abrupt halt when the brothers received a terse text from their sister, who had no doubt been cooking all day.      We headed to the Asian restaurant for our meal, which was festive only if you like hearing the staff argue.

 

Fussen is home to some gorgeous and unique shops.  One of them sold beautiful handknitted items, from Ireland and Scotland as well as some Nordic things.  It had by far the best and weirdest window displays I’ve ever seen.  A number of shops also specialised in traditional Bavarian costume called Trachten wear, which is worn more than you would think.  These outfits are absolutely works of art, some prized lederhosen – made from goat leather, which is the premium material – were selling for 600 odd euro, before the jackets and other items that accompany them.  We had some time to chat with the store owner, who told me that you never wash lederhosen, the natural oils from wearing them are all the conditioner they need.    The ladies outfit is a short blouse, a dirndl, apron, jacket/cardigan and some of them are seriously beautiful.    These can be worn to any special occasion, such as weddings etc, as well as the festivals.  I can’t imagine wearing such a gorgeous outfit to a beer festival for the obvious reasons.

 

 

We indulged in treats such as pork knuckle, schnitzel, of course – wurst, hot aperol, mulled wine, the best hot chocolate, schneeballen (we need to get this going at home), struedel and a cheesecake ring-in.

Christmas morning after a beautiful breakfast and collecting our gift from beneath the hotel tree, we took a stroll through the village, and called into the Christmas mass taking place.  We have seen many a church in our travels, but this one particularly appealed to me, with the light streaming in and the choir singing.  Further along the road we amused ourselves by throwing rocks at the nearly frozen pond to test its tensile strength.

We didn’t get snow at Christmas, but there was snow around us, which actually was much easier to get around.  It was very cold and crisp, with a lovely village atmosphere.    Hope you like the photos.  Oh, you will see a picture of the family from Mordialloc also staying there – there were quite a few Australian accents in evidence.

 

 

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

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