Friday, November 9, 2012

Europe 1.05 - Hohenschwangau, Germany

Actual date of this event: 26 October

It was our first night staying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and we chose to stay in this town so we could go visit other towns near us. Our hostel bed & breakfast had THE worst pillows EVER! If you know me well, you know that I have to have practically perfect sleeping conditions in order to get my needed amount of beauty sleep... let's say 8 hours. Well the pillows were terrible. I was sleeping on the top bed of bunk beds. And the room was pretty warm. I was not doing well in the sleeping category so far in GP.

To top it off, the group had decided to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on Friday because it was supposed to be the most spectacular castle according to Luke. I was weary of this because, well, I am a bit spoiled when it comes to visiting castles these days. Can I help it that I live in Scotland where there is a castle in almost every square mile of the country? No, but I went along for the ride anyway.

We completely goofed and found out that we would not be able to take a train to Hohenschwangau, which is where we would need to go for the castle. Apparently there is a large amount of tall, pointy land in the way, something called the Alps, that makes it difficult for a train to go that direction. We determined we would need to take the bus which would take 2 hours. We wanted to make sure we got to the castle early enough so that we could have enough time to see what we wanted to see and make it back on at least the last bus time which was 5:00pm. Therefore, 7:50am was our departure time.

After not sleeping well and having to get up early, the obvious choice is just drink a bunch of coffee because coffee cures all. Right? Wrong! When you have to get on a 2 hour bus with no bathroom, you cant exactly drink a bunch of coffee and be good to go. Coffee and no bathroom do not make a great combination! Therefore, I had about 4 ounces of coffee which was pretty much pointless.

I was in a very cranky mood on the bus and really could not keep my eyes open. And then we had to make a bus change halfway through which forced us to wait in the cold for a few minutes for the next bus to arrive.

All right, all right. It sounds like this is the point where Debbie doesn't enjoy the trip. Yeah, pretty much.

When we got to Hohenschwangau, there is fog. Lots of fog! According to Luke, the castle should have appeared before us on top of a hill, but the fog is so thick, we can only see halfway up the hill. Dave, Jen, Luke and I decide that we were not going to go into the castle while Jen's parents decide to buy tickets. The four of us decide to hike up the hill to the castle to view the grounds, while Jen's parents took a bus. You're probably thinking, "Debbie, I bet you were thrilled with walking given your cranky mood and lack of sleep." I was actually okay with it because it woke me up for the day, and plus it was exercise! Anything to burn some liters of beer and pretzels was quite all right!

The hike up the hill was, um... interesting. We went up a paved path which was shared by horse carriages. Aww, how sweet, horses. No! Not when they leave the poo all over the ground! So here we are dodging horse poo while walking uphill for 40 minutes. Eventually we were all super hot and sweaty and still cant see this dang castle!

Finally it appears, and my suspicions were correct. Its just another castle. Not as impressed with it as I would have liked to be. Especially since this is THE castle that inspired Cinderella's castle. And ever since I was little, Cinderella has been my favorite movie. Not just favorite Disney movie, but FAVORITE movie. Ask mom. She'll tell you. Anyway, it was meh.

When we got to the top, we could see most of it but some of the towers still had fog surrounding them. We took some pictures and watched all of the tourists waiting to get into the castle... Jen's parents included. We are glad we did not go into the castle because of a few reasons:
1.) it was 12 Euros
2.) there is a specific touring time and you cannot enter until that time
3.) the touring time includes 60 people
4.) when you enter the castle, you are required to stay with your group
5.) the tour is about an hour and thats all you get
6.) you are not allowed to take pictures inside the castle
7.) I have seen a billion other castles

We walked around to another side where there happened to be construction and scaffolding that covered half of it. We found Marienbrücke which is a bridge that crossed over a few waterfalls where you are supposed to get great views of the castle, but not on that day.

We tried to hike down a path to the side where Luke went on his last visit but it ended up being too steep, so we had to turn around the other direction. Instead of the horse poo road, we chose to go down the bus route which was much longer. We didnt have any issues with smell but we did almost get hit by a bus. Seriously, one of the funniest moments ever watching Jen attach to a small cliff like Gak Slime to dodge this bus.

This is Hohenschwangau Castle which is the less impressive castle
of the two but at least we could see this one!
Once we made it to the bottom, we walked to the Alpsee which is the only time that the fog was pretty. A foggy and calm lake is pretty neat to look at. We even got to watch some kids throw bread at ducks for a while. And watch one duck chase another duck for a piece of bread which went on for about 5 minutes. We also snapped a few shots of Hohenschwangau Castle.

We headed back to the bus much earlier than expected (1:30pm instead of 5pm). Luckily we were some of the first people on the bus because school was getting out at the same time (at 1:30pm, not sure why), so kids flooded the bus. Seriously, probably 100 kids were on this bus with us. I cant even explain how hilarious this bus driver was... yes, I can, picture Kramer, thats this bus driver. He kept putting more and more kids on the bus. He couldnt get enough of them! To make things worse, for us, half of these kiddos stayed on the bus for probably 15 miles out of town. I cant believe how far away their home is from school! And I still don't understand why they were going home at 1:30pm!

Poor us! or poor children???
We arrived back, and my exhaustion was kicking in again. We made our way to the grocery store to pick up supplies for dinner. Jen made a Goulash while Dave made some Spätzle which were both yummy! It was Jen's mom's birthday, so we had some cake and Bavarian Brandy for dessert. They stayed up a while having some drinks and playing Presidents but I went down pretty quick. After, we had another big day on Saturday... the forecast said snow... and we were heading to Innsbruck!

Bavarian Brandy
Why do I love Hohenschwangua? I dont really. I liked that we got some exercise and got to see a foggy lake. After a horrible night of no sleep and an early morning, it was not the greatest day of the trip.

Please do not take my horrible experience to think you will also have a horrible experience. I am a very high maintenance sleeper, and if it wasn't for that, I would have enjoyed the day so much more. Please read the history of the castle which includes some beautiful pictures of it and its surrounding area!

Posters of the castle.
Not sure what castle we saw, but it wasn't this one!
Schloss Neuschwanstein is the actual name for the site. Schloss is the German word for a building similar to a castle, palace or chateau.



  1. You are completely spoiled rotten to the bone.

  2. I'm not spoiled rotten :-( There had to be some part of the trip that wasn't the best, and this was it. I understand that I am fortunate to have had this experience, so I wouldn't take it back.

  3. Cinderella was my favorite movie too until Lion King came around. I loved Gus-Gus the fat, little mouse. And I am certain you would have been blown away at the castle had it been a clear day. I'm blown away by the picture of it that you're standing in front of! Stunning!!

  4. I would have been cranky as well. No sleep, no caffeine, no bathroom, and no view! That stinks. It's so funny how our impressions of different places are different based on the circumstances of our experience. The castle does look lovely, but I've heard most people say it's a bit overrated. And you get castle fatigue after a while...


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