|Dachau train depot|
|The famous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work sets you free) sign|
|A chess set carved by one of the prisoners|
|Statue in Dachau|
After Dachau, we headed to the place that has been on the top of my bucket list for a year - Neuschwanstein. The majestic castle, built by Mad King Ludwig II in an Alpine valley, is legendarily the inspiration for Walt Disney when he envisioned Sleeping Beauty's castle. There are actually two castles next to each other. Ludwig grew up in the yellow Hohenschwangau castle, but - according to our guide - built Neuschwanstein because he was tired of living with his mother. I should mention that both of these castles are mere summer and hunting residences. Somehow, the natural beauty actually outshines these dazzling castles.
|The mountains actually make the castle look small|
|This priceless box made of ivory served as an 18th century safe|
|Carriage ride up to the castle|
|Pretty impressive entrance|
|I love this view|
|The view of the valley from the front of the castle|
We stayed the night in nearby Garmisch before driving to Salzburg on Friday morning. Salzburg was a bit of a disappointment. It rained the whole day and there wasn't a whole lot going on in the city. If I had to do it all over again, I'd skip Salzburg and spend more time in the Alps, but we did take the Sound of Music Tour on Saturday, which was fun.
|The back of the Von Trapp home from the movie Sound of Music|
|Gazebo from the movie Sound of Music|
|Austrian lake district|
|Church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp got married in the movie|
After the Sound of Music Tour, we drove to Berchtesgaden to see Hitler's famous Eagle's Nest. This building basically sits atop the world in the Alps. My car could barely handle the drive to the public parking lot, which was followed by a treacherous bus ride up the side of the mountain, which only opened two weeks ago due to snow. After the bus ride, you walk through a tunnel into the middle of the mountain and ascend the peak in golden elevator through the center of the mountain. It is a massive feat of engineering and clearly the model for every evil lair that followed. Again, it's the natural beauty that really is the star.
|The tunnel into Eagle's Nest|
|Atop the world|
|Above Eagle's Nest|
|My friend Natalie does yoga poses throughout the world|
|On the edge of the world|