My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fairy Tale Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle from my hotel window
Hotel Muller sits in a great spot in Schwangau: between the two castles located in that town. From my hotel room, I had a view of Hohenschwangau Castle up on the hill behind the hotel (although I didn't realize that's what I was looking at from my window). From the dining room, there is a spectacular view of Neuschwanstein, which would have been glorious last night but I got in too late to eat dinner at the hotel.

Hohenschwangau Castle
Picked up my tour ticket at the front desk and stowed my luggage; then I had to figure out how to get up to the castle -- which is quite the hike! There is a bus (that had a really long waiting line) and a couple of really slow horse-drawn carriages. I was getting concerned about missing my scheduled time so decided to walk up. Frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. It's a mile or so (all up hill) on a nicely paved road through the forest, and the coolness from the trees saved me! On the walk up I saw a guy that comes along on a tractor with a sweeper to clean up the horse droppings. I guess everyone has a job to do!

Before coming on the trip, I had watched my Rick Steves TV shows, read the books, and listened to the podcasts so I knew you had to be on time for your tour. When you get to the top of the hill, there is a 'waiting area' with an electronic board showing the tour schedule. The time for my tour was reasonably soon so, after taking some photos of the castle, I went on up into the castle courtyard. This is probably a good time to mention that I'm really bad at taking 'selfies' -- either with my phone or with my little camera. I keep trying, but they don't turn out very well. There are people with 'selfie sticks' everywhere, though, so I'm guessing their pictures will turn out a bit better than mine.

View from the castle with the hills of Austria in the distance
I know that Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland and I've seen photos, but was truly impressed by how beautiful it is. Old Mad King Ludwig did a really good job with the design of the outside, but I was less impressed with the inside. One thing that came as a total surprise was the number of steps that we had to climb once we got inside. The castle was never finished so the tour covers only the finished part that was used by King Ludwig -- and they're all on the top floors. After walking all the way up the hill, it was a bit of a chore also climbing all of the stairs but I prevailed!

One of my terrible 'selfies'
The castle was impressive inside but, even more, the views from the castle across the valley and down to the town and lakes was magnificent. You could see the hills of Austria in the distance and, of course, the other castle that had been built by Ludwig's father.

On the way back down (walking), I saw a guy selling donut holes.  They looked like the ones Mom used to make (maybe a little bigger) so I had to try them. They weren't as good as Mom's, but mmmmmmmm.
My cute new watch

Back at the hotel, I was able to retrieve my things and get everything straightened out for the bus trip to Munich. With a little time to kill, I wandered around and found a shop that sold watches.  I bought a cute watch to replace my broken one.

All in all, a really wonderful trip down the Romantic Road.

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