The trouble with having to get up at 4am, is that you don’t sleep at all, for worrying about having to get up at 4am. The taxi arrived at 5, and by 6.30am we were through security at Heathrow, after having negotiated the increasingly people free check-in system where boarding passes are ejected so fast from terminals that they fly across the room, and there’s no one around to tell you where to go. Not the most user-friendly system by any means. Early morning is definitely the time to travel to beat the crowds and queues though.

Our Lufthansa flight to Munich was slightly delayed, but the pilot made up the time during the flight, and before long we were trying to figure out which train ticket to buy at the airport train station. We had to change at Munich’s central station, and then again at Murnau, but for 28 Euros between the two of us we certainly weren’t going to complain about the price. The equivalent wouldn’t get you very far at all in the UK. In contrast, Germany’s trains smelled much less of pee, were almost always on time, were well air conditioned, and the tickets tell you which platform you should be on – none of this faffing around waiting for announcements, and being left in the lurch if you can’t hear them.

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On reaching Oberammergau, our base for the next 5 nights, I supervised the bags whilst Rich nipped into the Lidl next door to buy enough supplies to get us through to Monday – supermarkets in Bavaria don’t open on Sunday. Whilst he was gone, a little old lady came and sat next to me in the bus stop, and with my very limited German, and her limited English, we had a very pleasant conversation. Eventually we were able to establish that I wasn’t American, and that she was on the way to visit her children in the next village.

When Rich returned, I tried calling the taxi number written on a big sign outside the railway station, but no one answered, so I phoned the owner of our apartment, intending to ask if she’d mind calling us a taxi, but instead she insisted on coming to collect us. We’d booked one of two apartments at Ferienwohnungen Gerhard Fischer, and fell in love with it immediately. With three little balconies, a double bedroom, sofa bed, good sized kitchen and living area, the website photos don’t do it justice. On a very hot day (31 degrees C), it was lovely, cool and quiet – all we could hear were crickets.

Rich cooked a very tasty dinner of chicken skewers and salad, and we ate on the front verandah with a view to die for. Eating outside during the summer definitely seems to be the done thing here, and we could hear glasses and cutlery clinking from neighbouring gardens. Before it got too dark, we then followed the footpath than runs directly in to the woods from the house, round to the main road, and caught a glimpse of some of the murals for which Oberammergau is famous. It’s an extremely picturesque town, with a very welcoming vibe, and already we felt very relaxed. Goodness knows why we’d not thought of coming to Southern Germany before!

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View from verandah
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