From: Emilio Gonzalez 
Subject: 5.24.00 - 13:03 - munich, germany

yesterday was incredibly beautiful - perfect for the day trip i took. there's an
organization in town, mike's bike tours, that does various tours of the area.
some friends and i from the hostel took the bavarian alps tour, a hiking and bike
trip that goes to an area of the alps right on the austrian border. after taking
a bus ride from munich, we hiked up the "backdoor" non-tourist trail to one of
king ludwig the second's castles, an extravagant king who build castles on a
whim. this castle, the inspiration for the cinderella castles at disneyland and
world, is seated on the alps with a breathtaiking view of the area. the land is
indescribably beautiful.

the interior of the castle is absurdley beautiful. in the parts that were
finished (about 1/3rd of the castle, before the king was deposed in the late
1800's - it's a very recent castle) the artwork and decorations are stunning.
ludwig was a huge fan of robert wagner (some say he was infatuated), so all of
the walls are painted beautifully with scenes from wagners various operas. the
whole place is distinctively un-castle like - when we think castles, we think
stone walls, torches, tapestries. this is wood paneling, carvings, paintings,
glass and gilded chandeliers, beautiful ceilings, tilework, the whole nine yards.

after walking back down the mountain, we ate at a restraunt in the small town at
the foot of the mountain and relaxed for a bit. we went back to the bus and
unloaded our bikes, a small fleet of schwinns and other cruisers. riding around,
i felt like i needed a front basket with a baguette and a beret perched on my
head. we rode down a path through the forest to another small town to an 18th
century church next to a beutiful, glacier fed river. the interior of the church
is a bizzare mix of old and new, beautiful italian-style carved marble columns
next to plexiglass spraystenciled with the image of a saint with a modern art
feel. leaving the town, we rode back to the bus, stopping at an incredible alpine
lake, and headed back to munich, tired and content and napping on the bus. 

(the guy sitting next to me, a friend i had met in amsterdam and by chance
happened to show up at the same hostel i'm staying in, just recieved word that
his friend died at a graduation party. he took off. i'll have to find him later.)

i'll be in munich until the end of the week, most likely. i'm planning to head
down to oberndorf on saturday (it /was/ going to be today, ) and then from
there to geneva or lucern in switzerland.