Saturday, April 6, 2013

Germany - Neuschwenstein Castle

Well first of all I have to tell you about our dinner last night. We walked right down the street to The Akropolis, a Greek restaurant! I had grilled fish, Lee had lamb. We split a carafe of wine, and there was complimentary Ouzo to boot! I really liked the Ouzo, I'm not sure if I have had it before. It tastes like licorice. I actually had a second glass (they're small, really).

I was supposed to run this morning, but decided not to, because we needed to get going to make our reservation for the tour at Mad King Ludwig's castle. When I started my marathon training for this year, I decided to add an optional Friday run. The key word is optional. If I'm feeling good then sure why not, but it's not a must do run.

Our tour was at 1 pm, and it's about an hour and a half from Lindau to Hohenschwangau, the town where we were supposed to pick up our tickets. We're climbing up into the mountains, and yes indeed, there is snow on the ground, before too long quite a lot of snow. "The trees look like lace" says Lee, and he's right, they do.

We find Hohenschwangau, and are immediately plunged into tourist hell. In spite of the crummy weather, tourists from all corners of the globe apparently want to see Sleeping Beauty's castle, and there are plenty of tour buses here to accommodate them. I had debated whether to bother to make reservations, but boy am I glad I did. The line to buy tickets stretches way down the road, but the line to pick up reserved tickets is nonexistent.

We are actually quite early, but that's okay. It's a mile long walk uphill to get to the start of the castle tour. It's also possible to take a horse drawn carriage, but we opt for the walk. It's not that bad if you are moderately fit, not very steep.

As we climb up the road the castle slowly comes into view. It's really pretty, like something out of a fairy tale. And as we wait for the tour to begin the sun actually starts to peek out from the clouds. we can even see some blue sky!

The tour itself is anticlimactic. Our guide has memorized her schpiel, but the story isn't nearly as interesting as the story of the residence in Wurzburg. Mad king Ludwig built this castle in the mid to late 1800's. Inside the castle the walls are painted with scenes from various Wagnerian operas. Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances and the castle was never completed. The End.

Tour completed, we grab a German hotdog at a snack stand and head down the mountain to our car, ready to get the hell out of there. I'm glad I saw it, but would never go back.

As we drive back to Lindau, the clouds roll back in and it actually starts to snow again, fairly hard. We find a steamy cafe around the corner from our hotel and have coffee and more German pastry. At some point this pastry habit has got to stop, but not yet, not yet.

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