Erynn and I have made a habit of traveling to watch the finals of the World Rowing Championships. We tend to make a vacation of it - two days of rowing followed by a couple days visiting the surrounding area. They've only been held twice in North America since I've started rowing so the events are usually in cool places. The 2007 installment was in Munich, and was the fifth world champs we've attended. After watching rowing for a couple days, we then headed to various sites around the German state of Bavaria and then to Salzburg, Austria.
We were pleasantly surprised by our friends Patrick and Miren. They made the trek to the Worlds too. If you're a constant reader of this site you'll recognize them from our Worlds trips to Sevilla (2002) and Eton (2006). They were also in Lucerne (2001), but I don't have any photos of them there. I tried to convince them to go to Beijing in 2008, but I don't know if they're convinced.
The photos above show us with Patrick and Miren. Erynn in front of the regatta center sign and me with the boathouse in the background. The regatta lake and boathouse were built for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. It is a beautiful venue with thousands of permanent seats.
The Bavarians sure know how to party. During the weekend finals, this band played almost constantly around the regatta site. Miren really enjoyed the little boy dancers in their lederhosen.
I think I might have mentioned that the facility is pretty cool. On the left are the grandstands and on the right is the boathouse.
The left photo shows the finish of the Men's 4- event with New Zealand storming across the line first. The only person I knew personally in the entire regatta is Pete Reed in the GB 4 who was in fourth. Up until this regatta, the 4 from Great Britain rarely tasted defeat and were the 2-time defending World Champions. The loss was gutting and has shaken up the British rowing scene in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. You can read about how I know Pete here.
The photo on the right is pure vanity on my part. One of the regatta chase vehicles was an Audi RS4, which is one of the coolest cars ever. Every time the car turned around to head up to the start for the next event the driver would tap the accelerator a little bit just to make the crowd jealous. Only at a German regatta...
Another highlight of the weekend was the ever present Slovenian contingent walking around in their green shirts. The Worlds officials were voting for the location of the 2011 and the crazy Slovenians did their best to secure Bled as the chosen destination. Fortunately, they were successful and Erynn and I will now get a chance to visit another new place in a few years.
I think they had sampled a little too much of the local brew, because it took a little while for them to get the signs right. Tons of fun.
After the racing, we took a drive around a couple of the famous Bavarian lakes with Patrick and Miren. First stop was Starnberg and the Starnbergersee. We took a nice stroll along the shore and stopped for coffee.
Another stop was in Herrsching on the Ammersee. On the left are Miren and Erynn in front of the Tennis Club. On the right is Erynn with a bronze statue that is on the shore in town. The town was very beautiful but it was a bit cold to enjoy the stroll too much.
On the next day, we headed to Schloss (Castle) Neuschwanstein, but we also stopped in Füssen on the Forggensee for lunch and some shopping. The weather was warmer so it was quite a nice day out. And no, Erynn wouldn't let me buy her any lederhosen.
The Castle, or Schloss, Neuschwanstein is an incredibly famous tourist landmark in Germany. The castle was begun in 1869 and commissioned by Ludwig II. The castle is actually rather modern and meant to be a rural escape for the Ludwig and an homage to his buddy Richard Wagner, the famous composer. It's probably the most famous building in Germany and was the inspiration for the castle at Disney World.
The weather was a little hazy for a decent photo so I'll give you one guess which photo was taken in front of a poster of Neuschwanstein.
Once we got our tickets for the tour of the inside of the castle, we had about an hour wait before our number was called. So I had a little while to snap a few photos. Here's Erynn with the valley floor behind her. The castle nestles into the side of a mountain at the start of the Bavarian Alps.
Here are a few photos from inside the castle courtyard before our tour started.
As I mentioned, the castle is fairly modern with many modern conveniences like heat and running water. The design and construction was a completely gratuitous display of wealth and vanity. Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances (along with his shrink) and the building was never completed. After his death, it was soon turned into a tourist attraction. No photos are allowed inside, but I stuck my head out of a few windows to snap a few. The left photo is of the Marienbrücke (Marie's Bridge), which spans the Pollät Gorge. The right photo is another photo of the courtyard and gate house.
Some more contraband photos from inside the castle. The left photo shows the Alpsee with the yellow Schloss Hohenschwangau. The castle was the childhood home of Ludwig. The right photo is another of the valley floor with the lake Forggensee and town of Schwangau in view.
I also took a couple photos in the little tourist village of Hohenschwangau, which primarily exists to service the visitors to the castles and surrounding lakes. Many people take a horse cart up the steep climb to the castles.
Some of you may know that Erynn and I have been to Munich a couple times - Our photo album from 2002. The company I used to work for, Keithley Instruments, had its European office in Germering just outside of Munich. As a result, we weren't too fussed about seeing absolutely everything again. We strolled around and just went with the flow.
The above photos are from the Marienplatz in the center of the old city. The Rathaus, or city hall, is the home of the Glockenspiel, but the building was covered in scaffolding for refurbishment. There are some decent photos of the New Rathaus from our 2002 album.
Near the Marienplatz is Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church). For a couple Euros, you can hike up the 302 spire for a view of the Marienplatz and Munich. In the photos you can see the famous Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady) and the New Rathaus wrapped in scaffolding.
Here's a full panorama from the top of the Peterskirche...
... and a couple photos of the lovely Erynn on top of the world.
These photos are hard to make out because of the glare, but I thought they were pretty cool. One of the main shopping centers, the Galleria Kaufhof across from the Marienplatz, sponsored the World Championships. To advertise the event they setup an Empacher 8+ (at about 55 feet long) and some Concept 2 rowing machines in the window.
For lunch we stopped at a cafe across from the Max Joseph Platz (that's him in the bronze chair). There's nothing like sitting outside in Europe having a drink and some cheese.
After lunch we headed next door to the Residenz, which is a giant palace complex that's been turned into a museum. Above are photos from the Grottenhof, or Grotto Courtyard, and the statue of Perseus with Medusa's Head.
We couldn't take photos inside the Residenz, but we couldn't resist once we reached the Antiquarium (Hall of Antiquities). It was the last room on the tour and was HUGE! The whole hall is lined with what appeared to be original Greek and Roman statues.
Here are some photos from one of the other courtyards, the Apothekenhof.
Here's a photo of me with the Residenzlöwen (Residenz Lion). The statue is outside of the Residenz in the Odeonsplatz. The tour guides saw that if you rub its nose you'll have good luck. I'm still waiting.
And no self respecting Munich photo album would be complete without another photo of the Hofbräuhaus ...or me getting its GPS coordinates (N48 08.270 E11 34.779).
On our last full day of the trip, we took the train down to Salzburg for a little quickie sightseeing. The town itself is quite pretty, but HEAVILY traveled by the tourist circuit. The city center has hundreds of shops, and Salzburg was home to Mozart and has an imposing castle on top of the hill - known as the Festung Hohensalzburg or "High Salzburg Fortress". The above photo was taken from a footbridge that crosses the Salzach River. As you can see from the ominous clouds, the weather wasn't the greatest.
Speaking of Mozart, here's his residence from 1773 to 1780. The Mozart Wohnhaus.
I have no idea what the golden globe statue is meant to represent, but I thought it was cool. Can you spot Erynn?
The next stop on our trip was the large castle on the hill, the Festung Hohensalzburg. It looked like quite a trek up the hill, so we paid our money to take the cog railway (Festungsbahn). Once we reached the top, the heavens opened up with the rain. I took a quick little video of the monsoon if you're interested (it's just over 1MB so only if you have a broadband connection).
The above photo is a panorama overlooking Salzburg from the castle's outer wall. You can click on the photo for a larger image.
Some photos just to prove we were there...
What's a Rathburn photo album without a picture of some canon balls? The other photos are just random shots from a couple of the castle courtyards.
On our way back to the train station after lunch we stopped at the Mirabell Palace. It was truly beautiful and being August the flowers were in bloom.
A couple more shots of the palace grounds.
Next to the gardens was a park with a bunch of these funny statues so we took a couple fun photos. Yes, Erynn is drawn to canon balls... I hope you enjoyed the photos!
© 2007 Doug Rathburn