Yes, I actually had to go here to get the spelling right *g*.  Okay, visiting Garmisch is a little backward in how our trip to Europe went (we landed at Ramstein Air Base, went to Garmisch and THEN to Venice, but since it was second on my “oh-shit, that’s cool” list, live with it!  LOL).

Anyway, it’s probly best to describe the trip as it went.  We woke up to the sound of Army drill marching (we were at Landstuhl, which was *really* Army at the time), bright and early.  Since, in our marriage, I’ve never heard such a thing (the AF doesn’t march *g*), it was actually kinda cool.  Soooo, we gathered up all of our shit (minus one 35mm camera…sigh), and made our way to the train station via a taxi.

Let me say this right up front, for anyone wondering…German trains really *are* on time…like within 30 seconds of their scheduled arrival/departure.  So we’re standing on the platform at 0730, too stupid to look tired, when a whole freakin’ platoon rolls up, just out of the field. 

Oh, I forgot to mention it was the last weekend in October, hence the last true drinking holiday of Oktoberfest.   Hence, the 99 gazillion Army dudes heading south for some serious imbibing…

So anyway, we’re standing on the platform, stupidly chipper and not having a clue as to what to do, when the dudes roll in…and promptly offer us a Budweiser (ever-after known as an Aluminum Sandwich, at least in my brain).  We politely decline and wait for our southbound train.

These dudes board the “party train”, which is headed straight to Munich…at 0730, people are already faced, hanging out of the windows, hooting and hollering.  (And as much as I’m an alkie in training…holy crap!)

Our train, luckily, was semi-sedate (tho anything heading south was up for grabs *g*).  We cruised through some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen (and keep in mind that I spend 5 freakin’ years in Yosemite!!!).  All in all, it was a scary-long ride for folks new to the German train system concept, but at the end of the day, we ended up in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Just so you know, Garmisch is one of those military resorts that no-one outside the DoD seems to know about…basically it’s scary-cheap, but you need to book waaaaay in advance.  Since this was our honeymoon (after 5 years of marriage), and we actually had disposable income, we went on the fly.  Our original plan was to stay with some folks who were also on vacation, but alas, it didn’t work out. 

We ended up staying in a European hotel chain called the Queen’s Mark.  We were totally shocked at the room rate ($90/night for a KICK-ASS suite) and so booked the room for two more nights.  We discovered the disparity the next morning *g*.

We learned, after trial and error, that rooms in Germany are cheap but the food is hideously expensive.  How expensive, you may ask?  Try $38 for a freakin’ breakfast buffet!!!  Yeah, that’s PER PERSON.  Granted, you get a yard of beer with it, but German lager at 1000 in the AM is excessive for even me *g*.

So we had the traditional “American” breakfast (eggs, pork [brats] and some toast…which I’m SURE the locals were chortling over quite mischievously).  Not a lot for $76 *g*.  We justified the breakfast sticker-shock with the fact that the hotel we were staying in would have probably gone for at least $150 a night in the States.

Anyway, we left the hotel and headed for a gondola that takes you up to the highest peaks in the region.  Keep in mind that we weren’t all that far from the Alps, and you get an idea.  At the top of the Mountain (and yes, I *meant* to capitalize that…it’s at the top of the damned world!), we got to check out the gift shop and such, eat and just kinda wander around.  Got some totally awesome video, watched the other tourons being fools, and then headed down the mountain again. 

Since Garmisch is in the southern part of Germany (right next to the Austrian border), the majority of the serious Oktoberfesters stayed in Munich, so it was quiet in Garmisch. That didn’t stop us from making friends with a dude in the bar that night, who, coincidentally, happened to have some shi-shi position with the Carolina Panthers.  Of course, August was in seventh heaven, finding an American football fan, and we got the requisite drunken, “if you ever want to go to a game, call me…” statement.  And of course, we never followed up.

The next day we shelled out our $75+ for breakfast (and I have to say, it’s just weird to me to see a ten or eleven year old tossing down beer with breakfast…not that I’m a prude, by any means…it’s just against how Americans have been raised, y’know?) and then headed out onto the town.

We picked up some awesome freakin’ souveniers (including some Christmas ornaments that survived our move from the Azores unscathed)…but perhaps the funniest part was when we had German tourists ask us for directions.  Yeah, we actually look that Germanic.  With a name like Schaefer, go figure. 

We wound up our stay in Germany with an AWESOME dinner, and readied ourselves to hit the train the next day and head into Innsbruck…