6.20.2009

On the Way to Meet Crazy Ludwig

There once was a king
He was as crazy as can be
A fancy castle he wanted
A fancy castle he got
The Germans wanted him gone
A drowning is what he got

That is Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most picturesque, photographed buildings in the world. The princess castles at the Disney theme parks are based on this castle. In comparison, the Disney castles look like the outhouse for Neuschwanstein. We figured before our departure from Germany to ???, it would be a perfect day to visit the Castle.

We got up early this morning to get breakfast at out hotel as well as a little surprise. The little surprise was that our breakfast cost 17 Euro per person. Some surprise. This meal of ours immediately vaulted itself to first place in the contest for most costly meal on the trip. This also meant it was back to sandwich meat and bread for lunch. The bread was taken from breakfast, so we showed them. Not really.

Afterwards, we took a series of trains to Fussen, gateway to the castle. Once there it was a quick bus to the base of the mountain the castle is on, then a thirty minute hike to the top. Once up there we had about two hours to kill before our scheduled tour time. We occupied that by going higher in the mountain to overlook the castle. At first there were a huge amount of tourists, and then less and less the further we went up. Finally I reached the peak (not the top one, that was too far!) after a hard climb up. My reward was a nice view that I didn’t have to share with anyone. It would have been even better if it were fall, and if the castle wasn’t being renovated. I got the picture though and it was nice.

The inside of the castle was impressive as well, as it was something only a crazy man could do. King Ludwig had a fascination with Swans and you could see them painted, sculptured and drawn all throughout the castle. All in all it was quite picturesque and while a little bit touristy, very much enjoyable.

Rather than take the bus back to Fussen, we decided to walk our way back. This walk, while four miles long, took us past many sights that only the locals see. This included Swan Lake plus many amazing views. I would come back to Fussen just for the hiking it was that beautiful.

That takes us up to now. Right now Kristen and I are travelling first class, on a train back to Munich. Outside are a bunch of country houses as well as too many cows to count. It’s a nice relaxing ride, perfect after a long day hiking and sightseeing.

Right after I wrote that, a roving band of Germans came through our car. It was a bachelor party. Apparently in Germany there is a tradition that the groom has to walk around like a beer vendor at a baseball game. Instead of beer he has to sell all sorts of alcohol, trinkets and other junk. He’s not allowed to stop until everything is sold. Kristen and I took pity on him and bought a small soccer ball in appreciation for the unique experience. They were all pretty amusing.

Tomorrow is Kristen’s birthday, so we will be some place special. Actually it’s some place neither of us has ever been. Amsterdam.

Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland. For now.

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