Nearly the last two weeks I spent hanging out around Ingolstadt, Germany. It isn’t a place one instantly thinks of when you think about a vacation! However, it is the town where my dad grew up and around where most of his family still lives. My grandfather, or Opa as they say in Germany, lives there. With my school and riding schedule I haven’t been able to go over and visit for many years. I went to see him, my Aunt Andrea and Uncle Alex and their kids and one grandson. We did all the usual family visiting and hanging out. We also got to see some really great things around Ingolstadt.
Ingolstadt is one of the ‘unknown’ really great tourist destinations in Bavaria. It is one of the only completely walled cities left in Europe. At one time in history it was a military fort to defend Germania against the Romans, Huns and other invaders. The entire city wall still stands. So cars can’t go into the town. You have to park and walk into the city through one of the few gates. The main gate is very beautiful. I put pictures of it on Instagram and twitter. It looks like a moats castle entrance at Disney’s Cinderella’s castle. The original castle where the heads of the garrison lived still stands. It isn’t a castle for noblemen so it isn’t filled with furniture and paintings. It was a soldier’s home. It has been turned into a military museum. This is a museum that is great for kids and families. It isn’t boring endless art or stuff you can’t touch. There are giant ancient cannons you can sit on and take pictures. There are moats and room size panoramas off famous battles made out of those little handpainted lead army guys. There are suits of armor and weapons dating back a thousand years. For me the coolest part is the main hall. It is a giant room that was used to train in winter when it was too cold outside. There are long ramped steps up to the hall because they used to hold indoor jousts there. The flags of the knights of the times hang from the rafters. I can almost imagine being there and watching the large war horses practicing battles.
Another great thing about Ingolstadt is this is the real home of the historically infamous Dr. Frankenstein! He supposedly did his human experiments at the university here. They have a medical museum in his former home. It is like a history of the medical field. I think people in the health care world would find it fascinating. Also anyone who has ever been or will be sick will find it interesting in a sick way too! They have chairs where they tied people down and bored holes in their heads. They have all types of saws and tools for extracting demons. One really gross treatment included sticking pins through the eye balls. Anyway it is another unusual museum that kids would find a lot more entertaining than the usual when traveling. There are parks and great gardens. Also it is only about 30km northeast of Munich so you can easily take a train or drive down to Munich. If you go in the opposite direction from Ingolstadt you can visit Nuremburg and the seat of the war crimes tribunals after WWII. The black forest and all of the traditional clock making, schnapps houses, and home of the Grimm tales are very close as well.
If you head west you can see Ludwig’s famous Castles and a bit East and South you hit Garmisch and some of the best Alpine skiing in the world. So I guess the greatest thing about Ingolstadt is its nearly central location in Bavaria. Maybe that is why they built the original garrison there in the first place. To easily defend all of Bavaria. Anyway, I am exhausted from all the travel this summer. I was so happy to get home and ride Sj. I really miss him when I don’t see him every day. I am only home until Thursday and then it is back to Europe again! Third visit in six weeks. I am not sure if my body knows what time it is. I am excited to go get to work with some great people, exciting things to come!