Salzburg to Munich

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Salzburg to Munich

The Chiemsee  (Look for this large lake off to your right.) The Chiemsee is the largest body of water in Bavaria. When the weather's warm, you can see dozens of white sails out on the water.

The lake is a favorite resort area for Bavarians, especially businessmen from Munich. They build vacation houses on the lakefront, and sail their own boats in the warmer seasons.

Look for the islands in the lake. On one of these islands (known as the Herreninsel) is an extravagant palace built by Bavaria's King Ludwig II ("Ludwig the Mad") in the 19th century. Ludwig was trying to create his own Versailles. He also built Neuschwanstein Castle—his most famous creation.

To your left are the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, often overhung with dark rain clouds.

Introduction to the State of Bavaria

Bavaria (Bayern in German) is the largest state in West Germany, and by far the best known to Americans. (Many restaurants in the U.S. have an "Oktoberfest" in conscious imitation of Bavaria: German specialties during the month of October.)

Size The reason why Bavaria is so large is that under Napoleon its borders were enlarged to include territory formerly in other German states. Napoleon favored the Bavarians because they sided with him against the Austrians. Thus, they were well rewarded after Napoleon's defeat of Austria.

The Bavarian spirit The Bavarian shares many traits with the Austrian, his spiritual next-of-kin. The word Gemutlichkeit is applied with equal justice to both peoples. This word refers to the passion for "good times," fellow feeling, carefree living, small pleasures, and warm friendship.

Prosperity Bavaria was for centuries a separate kingdom, ruled by the Wiittelsbach family. Its fortunes rose during the early Middle Ages, because it was situated on the great trade routes between northern and southern Europe. Bavaria has enjoyed prosperity ever since. Today, its factories turn out electronic hardware, clothing, and the famous BMW automobile. Much of this prosperity is evident in Bavaria's capital, Munich.

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