As some of you know I’m a military spouse and my husband is deployed.  What that means for myself and my children is that we face a long and lonely summer without him.  To cheer myself up, as well as them I planned a small vacation.  I wanted to share my vacation review of Hotel Forsthaus and our journey there and back. My dear friend Sonya and I undertook this journey.  We tried to leave early, but it didn’t matter we hit several serious traffic jams.  We did try different ways to get to our destination, but finally we agreed if the Lord wants you to take extra time to enjoy the view it will be this way.

Once we got off the autobahn we started making some good time,and then we got caught behind some hay. We counted out blessing because at least this way we were still moving. This hay truck could only go 25k.  Regardless that was okay, we had some family bonding time and sang songs. The drive going to Alp’s is breathtaking.  Please plan in extra time not only for traffic but to see the true beauty that is all around you.
Once we say the flag on the GPS we all started to clap, but then we made a wrong turn!  This wrong turn set us to left when we needed to turn right. If we had turned around we would have been stuck in traffic yet again. It was ok because we all ready for dinner.  So we pulled off to a little village one town over from our hotel and ordered some dinner. While we were waiting for our food we could hear cowbells getting closer. We looked outside and to our delight we saw a farmer talking his cows for a walk from the dairy back to the field.  The cows filled the street and my kids enjoyed seeing some where the local milk comes from and hearing the cow moo and their bells ring. My daughter said this reminds her of one of those cool movies where people get lost but have a blast anyway. Love the positive attitude of my children! We not only enjoy a great dinner but had a wonderful story about getting lost to share.
After a great dinner our belly’s were stuffed and we were ready to unpack and settle into our hotel. So we all hopped backed into our vehicle and headed for Hotel Forsthaus.  From the outside the hotel looks cozy with so many wonderful paintings on the building. I was very pleased at the beauty not only on the outside but also inside the hotel. The extra detail that was all over was so unique, there is so much history in it, not only the building but also the items that are throughout the hotel. The Hotel Forsthaus has been in the family for three generations. The Bakal family is the newest generation to own the hotel and both speak English; the husband is American so there is no problem with communication. The hotel has furniture that is over 100 years old that is fully restored for everyday use.  Anyone can see walking around this hotel that the family takes a lot of love in the hotel and it’s guests.  This hotel has a whirlpool, sauna, fitness room, free Wi-Fi in every room, and breakfast that is included with your stay. You can also bring you pets for free. The rooms are spotless; they have all feather down pillows and bedspreads. The owners think of everyone when it comes to allergies if you have allergies’ to feather bedding they offer allergy free bedding.  If you can’t eat dairy or breads etc, just  call ahead of time and the Bakal family will make sure their breakfast is safe for you to eat.The Bakal family also has a table full of fliers, brochures of actives, adventures and tourist destinations. It was nice being able to ask questions about information on the brochures as some were German and have them explain to us about the local in English. The Bakal family even offered to call places for us if need be to help make our activities less stressful. That is wonderful customer service!
If you would like to see more details about Hotel Forsthaus or their Villa right in Garmisch you can check out the vital tour on my Youtube channel. Hotel Forsthaus is perfectly located in the middle of everything. The train station is a short five minute walk away. There is travel agent on the same street, two banks that you can get euro from, a bakery, and nice little pub to get a cold drink at and enjoy some ice cream.  The passion juice is awesome; in Germany it is called Maracuja juice.  It was a nice treat to have juice and ice cream sundaes to end the day.If you forget anything you don’t need to worry there is a grocery store the Netto, the Euro store (almost like the dollar store), a KIK and Rossemen like a drug store are only five minute drive away.  For us American military if you take just short fifteen minute drive the little commissary and Base Exchange by the Edelweiss hotel.

Every place we went people were able to understand my bad German and speak in English.

Day one of our adventures took us to Ettal Abbey and the Linderhof Palace.

Ettal Abbey was built in the 1330 the history, architecture and works of art in the side this abbey is a must see. The distance from the hotel is no more than 4 km which makes it no more than a 15 minute drive from the hotel. You can combine it in one trip with the cheese factor and wood carving store as they are only few minutes out of the way.  Parking is available for American sized vehicles and there is a small parking cost.This is easily one of my favorite palaces so far. I think the best time to come is in summer when everything is in bloom. My first time was in winter and it also beautiful but we were not able to see everything on the grounds for it was covered in snow. Truly anytime I am down in Garmisch I try to stop by. We still have not made it all over the grounds to see everything. It started raining too hard and we had to take some cover. Don’t worry if you can see everything it is free to walk the grounds.  The palace tour is free for children. But if you haven’t seen the palace before I highly recommend taking the tour as it is worth the time. Just remember you can’t take pictures inside. It can be harder for younger children as strollers are not allowed during the tour and as in most all castles you are not allowed to touch anything. Heck it was hard for me not to touch the beautiful items all around.

Day two of our adventures we did a cheese tour, shopping at the Holzschnitzerei/Wood Carving Shop, lunch at the Golf Club Garmisch-Partenkirchen , site seeing and rides at 1936 Olympic StadiumAfter a wonderful breakfast we started out on a cheese tour. Schaukäserei Oberammergau AlpsThe distance from the hotel is 5km which makes it about 15 minutes. Not far from Ettal Abby and very close to the wood carving shop. There is no cost for children to take the tour. Parking is available for American sized vehicles and there was no parking fee for where we parked. Make sure you call ahead of time for an English video tour. There was a lot of wonderful cheese to taste test making it very hard to pick our favorites to take home. If you are taking cheese tour or buying cheese make sure you bring a cooler to keep the cheese cold.After we had our fill of Cheese it was off to the Holzschnitzerei/Wood Carving Shop.  I have learned to fall in love with wood all over again after being in Germany. This is a place I will have to take my husband back to pick out a wonderful nativity set for our home.  When we first pulled up it looked as if the shop was closed, it was not there is a doorbell to ring.  The shop owner Wilhelm came out and he also spoke English showing us some wonderful pieces that are all hand made. I was surprised to find out there are a lot of other shops around the area than you may think are actually not real wood carving shops, but they don’t say they are wood carving shops.  I never noticed and with me not able to read German so good the stores count on tourists like me not knowing that I am buy knock offs that are machine made not hand made. So make sure when you are out that it not a machine made knock offs.

After talking with owner explaining what I am looking for and explain about my website he wanted to join up with Sugin’s Corner offering a 10% off coupon if you spend 50 euro’s or more. Wilhelm does some outstanding wood carving. I look forward to being my husband back and buy that nativity for a new family heirloom. Yes, I am repeating this because my husband reads my blog and I am dropping hints to him. :)

It was still early in the day we all wanted to play so with the advice and information we got from the Bakal family our next stop was 1936 Olympic StadiumThe 1936 Olympic stadium in Garmisch is pure family fun any time of year.  This awesome stadium is not only a piece of history but full of entertainment. This too is only a short drive from the hotel (about 15 minutes). They have a bobsled for all ages to ride, bungee jump for children, and a year around ski lift to take you up to see the whole town below.  My kids enjoyed more than a few rides on the bobsled. After seeing more sites of the stadium we wanted a better view from up top and took the ski left up. You can also walk up to the top for not cost or just take the ski lift up and walk by back. This was a nice relaxing ride to see whole town and stadium. I am not sure who enjoyed the trip up the sky lift more my friend or my children.

After a long fun day of walking, playing and eating day it was nice to sit in the whirl pool and also a great time to try out the water proof camera. The hotel whirl pool room is awesome, and the water was perfect.  I look forward to using this again and the sauna come winter!

Day Three our last day of trip time for Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle.  It was truly hard to pack up. We didn’t want this vacation to end. Even my two youngest children Ethen and Faith said there would share their room for ever if we could just stay. I am not sure what makes a 4 star hotel a 4 star hotel, but hotel hit all 4 stars for us.After breakfast we said our good byes to the hotel and head to Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle. This is only about 51 km from the hotel so it is easy trip if you do not want to take this trip on the way home.   We chose to see this destination to do on the way home it was long the way not taking us off course.  It was a beautiful drive on the way to the castle we drove over this awesome bridge that had a great view.
After a few pictures, and trying to see the bats that live under the bridge it was time to pile back in the van.We are enjoyed the drive when we saw another ski lift and people hang gliding and pair a gliding we decided to pull over and eat lunch.  We ate outside of this Greek Restaurant and enjoy the show of all the people gliding back down. It was so nice to just relax the weather was wonderful out and the children loved watching truly enjoy watching how fast the people where going back up to glide back down.
After a nice relaxing lunch we were on our way again.  We drove for only about 25km more and we could start to see the one of castles and there was a unique church that was a great place to pull off and get some pictures.
Now we all could not wait to see the castle so back to the van we climbed in and started reading everything we could to learn about these castles.  For me pulling up seeing this real life castle was like seeing Disney World without all the rides, costly balloons and lovable Disney characters.The parking is a little crazy because of tourist season. This is where we spilt to save time my friend Sonya parked the van and I waited in line. We didn’t know we could have called a head to get tickets and wait in a much shorter line so we missed an early tour in English having to take the last guided tour of Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle. The only way to go inside the castles is with a tour.These two castles are located very close to each other.  Just a reminder there is not cost for children to take the tour. I would recommend bringing a little extra cash for the bus or horse carriage ride up to Neuschwanstein castle, as there is a lot of walking and stair stepping involved in the guided tours of both castles and the museum themselves already. To get to the Hohenschwangau Castle you will have an easy 15 minute walk up hill. The view of the castle is beautiful walking up. The tour was very interesting and full of historical beauty. Remember inside no pictures are allowed. As mentioned there are horse and buggy rides that are available for both castles and a bus for the Neuschwanstein Castle.  The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 45 minute walk up a very steep hill; we didn’t take the horse and buggy ride up and didn’t find out until after our tour that all rides were done for the day. If you take your time and have some fun with family and friends the walk down is wonderful. If you don’t want to walk down make sure you are not the last tour of the day. By the time we left the castle it was around 6:30 and stores as well as some of the restaurants were closed by the time we reached the bottom of the hill.  Luckily we found a hotel restaurant still open at this time, so we got to enjoy a nice dinner and much needed rest.
I hope you enjoy my review of a great hotel and our journey along the way. To the military spouses whose husbands are deployed grab a good friend and plan a nice vacation even if it is still close to home. Enjoy your location and get out it does not have to cost a lot! For money saving ideas check out my blog on traveling on a budget.