Friday, May 24, 2013

Neuschwanstein and the Bavarian Alps

Fionn hasn't had a whole weekend off in a while, but to make up for it this weekend he got 3 days off! Yay! He was so sweet and really made spending time together a priority. I'm a lucky girl :)

On Saturday he suggested we go down to the Bavarian Alps and see the Neuschwanstein Castle. It was built by mad King Ludwig in the 1800s and is the inspiration for the Disney Castle. I have been dying to see it since I got to Germany, but we've been waiting for nicer weather. Well, nicer weather finally arrived, so we got in the car and headed down to the Bavarian Alps.

Bavaria is a beautiful part of Germany with its rolling hills and green pastures and quaint little villages, but once you get down into the Bavarian Alps, you really see some gorgeous stuff. Emerald green fields, fairytale castles and villages, jagged snowcapped mountains, and beautiful blue skies await you at every turn. It's breathtaking. I thought our little corner of Bavaria was great but this...this was amazing. We turned the radio off and just marveled as we drove along.

Soon Fionn slowed down and pointed to a space in the mountainside. "There it is!"

Neuschwanstein looked so small against the huge mountainside, but it was impressive nonetheless. It looked like a fairytale castle. We parked the car and battled the tourist hoards that covered the town of Hohenschwangau. The next English guided tour wasn't for a few more hours, so we decided to skip seeing the inside of the castle and just climb up to see the outside. Fionn told me it wasn't that exciting anyway (he'd already seen it), and honestly I didn't want to battle the crowds. We weren't interested in the smaller castle, Hohenschwangau (below), so we started the climb...

We walked up the trail to the castle, which took around 30 minutes. It was really pretty and had a lot of chances for nice views. The view from the top was really nice!

The castle was PACKED, but we managed to slip into the courtyard for a peek and some pictures. It was such a dramatic view with this gorgeous, soaring castle towers on one side, cliffs on the other, and then a beautiful view of the lake straight ahead. Makes sense why Ludwig built it here!

We pushed our way through the crowd and trekked up to Marienbridge, where you can get that iconic Neuschwanstein picture from far away. The only problem? The bridge was also packed. I mean, the wooden beams of the bridge (which had NOTHING under them, I might add!) were creaking and moving from the weight of so many people. It really didn't seem safe and the super high drop down to the river bed didn't make me feel any better. Fionn took a few pictures and then we asked a German guy to take our picture...he held the camera over his head and took 6 really weird, off focus pictures. We were so surprised we could only laugh. Ah well, we still look cute right? ;)

Luckily, Fionn was a better photog than that guy:

Having got our pictures (and the nice view) and being jostled in all directions by tourists from every corner of the globe (especially you, pushy Japanese lady who kept shoving me with your backpack and til I turned around and gave you the stink eye), we decided to get the heck off the bridge and return to the much quieter trails. Once away from the tourist hoards, we were rewarded with this:

That kinda made it all worth it :)

We took the long way down and (thankfully) didn't run into any more claustrophobic tourist scenarios, so we enjoyed the village and the views of the castle a little longer. It felt like Kaffee und Kuchen (cake and coffee) time to me, so we said goodbye to Neuschwanstein and started looking for a bakery. Instead we found this:

A cheese store! Not just any cheese store-they sold cheese, fresh butter, milk, cream cheese, any dairy product you can think of, plus sausages, meats, jams, preserves, chocolate, bread, cakes, strudel...everything. All very obviously homemade. It was so amazingly good, we bought a hunk of local cheese and a bottle of fresh milk. It tasted so good, and had an almost flowery aftertaste, I guess from all the spring flowers the cow had been eating. We had such a good time in the store, it was really a perfect way to end our trip.

With that it was back in the car and back on the road. We're itching to go back to the Bavarian Alps again as soon as we can!


  1. We're so excited about moving to Germany! We've visited Neuschwanstein once when we traveled there from Iceland but that was many years ago, looking forward to seeing it again! Can't wait to explore the rest of your blog :)

    1. It's such a fun place, I hope that you love it! We will be very sad to leave!