Saturday, May 21, 2011
Two Castles and a Change of Plans
Friday, May 20, 2011
This morning we arrived in Munich a few hours late thanks to an animal on the tracks somewhere around Hamburg that led to our train needing a new engine. Unfortunately I was not able to sleep well at all. I felt like this train in particular was quite jerky and loud and for some reason my earplugs were really uncomfortable. Nonetheless we made it to Munich.
Once in Munich we checked into the hostel and stowed our bags and then headed back to the train station to talk to someone at the Euraid about future train travel. While the guy was very helpful and spoke perfect American English he had a way of making feel stupid and inept. Apparently we've been using our pass wrong and we are lucky that it didn't get torn in half. He sorted us out and gave us some advice about our future travel days. The most interesting thing that he pointed out was that we could save about $45 by going to Schwangau today to see the castles of King Ludwig rather than wait until tomorrow when we would need to buy a train ticket or use another day on our pass. I called the castle tour office and they were able to accomodate us today so we hopped on the next train to Fussen!
The train was about 2 hours followed hy a 15 minute bus ride and a short hike up to the first castle, Hohenschwangou. This is the summer castle of King Ludwigs father and he grew up here. It was beaitiful and the views were stunning. They wouldn't let us take pictures inside but if you google it you'll find lota of images.
After touring the first castle we ate our picnic lunch of bread, cheese and an apple before heading up to the main attraction, Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauties castle, it really is a fairy tale castle. King Ludwig used the operas of Wagner as inspiration for all of the wall paintings in the castle.
King Ludwig seemed to be a little more interested in building the perfect castle than ruling a kingdom so he was forced to step down because he was not mentally able to he king, aka he was crazy King Ludwig! Shortky after stepping down he eithe killed himself or was murdered, no one knows exactly what happened. Because of these events Ludwig only spent about half a year living in his castle and never quite got all of the work done. To this day it is still unfinished. What is finished is incredibly oppulent and simply stunning. Every window has an amazing view as well, it really is breathtaking.
After visiting the castle we hiked up to Mary's Bridge, which is quite an engineering achievement of the 19th century. From the bridge we had a spectacular view of the castle and the valley that lies below. There is also a waterfall off the other side of the bridge. It would be great to come back and do some hikinh around the village as there are lots of trails and paths to follow.
After getting our pictures we headed down to the village to grab a bite to eat, schnitzel sandwich, and catch the bus to the train station. We made it back to Munich without much excitement.
After getting the key to our room and taking our bags up we set out to get a bite to eat. We wanted to go to the Augustiner Beer Garden but ended up at there downtown restaraunt instead. We sat outside and people watched while we ate our pretzels and then headed back to the hostel for some much needed sleep!