Bavaria is the largest of all the German states, and was once its own Kingdom. It is a vast and varied state, but it’s the southern portion which I love. Where the rolling green countryside meets the soaring Alps. It’s large, famous, and decadently ornate castles. It’s small century-old villages, each with their own identity and perhaps even culture. It’s sunshine and fog, wet green grass and dense dark forests.
A bench seat beneath a tree with yellowing autumn leaves and a winding road through the bright green countryside; Small farm buildings in a green field at the base of the mountains, hidden in fog.
Small rock cairns beneath lush forest foliage on the rocky stream that comes from Pöllat Gorge; Looking across the green grassy field to the 19th Century castle Hohenschwangau, with a flock of birds flying in the fog above.
Cars pulled over on the side of the road to look at the famous castle Neuschwanstein, just visible in the fog.
A horse in the countryside around Neuschwanstein wearing a cow bell; A cow in a field totally oblivious to the famous Neuschwanstein castle which is slowly emerging from the fog above.
At Pöllat Gorge, in the lush forest at the base of the castle, the crystal clear waters of a waterfall are harvested and channeled through old wooden infrastructure.
Well designed wood piles on a farm at the base of Neuschwanstein; The old wooden channel which takes the water from the Pöllat Gorge waterfall, with the closed walk around the gorge in the background.
Instead of joining the hordes of tourists visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, we followed this quiet country road into the forest at the base of the plateau on which Neuschwanstein stands, and instead found the beautiful and peaceful Pöllat Gorge; The crystal clear and tranquil waters of Pöllat Gorge.
Whilst wandering down a country road away from the crowds, trying to get a quiet distant view of Neuschwanstein, we were passed by this farmer on a tractor just trying to go about his daily life; Three horses in a field in the countryside with a small village church behind, the peaceful country setting for the tourism icons of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
The gold decorations on the gates of Ettal Abbey, one of the largest Benedictine monasteries still in existence, catch the last light of the day; In the distance a tiny bridge crosses Plansee, a small but picturesque lake in the Alps near the Austrian-Germany boarder.
In Ettal, a village nested in a narrow valley in the Alps, a small shrine sits in the middle of a field with the soaring mountains rising above; Though Ettal Abbey was founded in 1330, it was mostly rebuilt in the early 18th Century due to fire, as is evident in the ornate gold Baroque decor.
The dome roof of Ettal Abbey, nestled in a valley in the Alps; The Benedictine monks at Ettal Abbey run, among other things, a distillery, a hotel, a cheese factory and a brewery on site, here the bottled beer and kegs are being loaded into trucks at the back of the Abbey.
The day fades over the small but beautiful village of Ettal, nestled in a peaceful valley in the Alps and dominated by the Benedictine Abbey which has stood there for over 650 years.