Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall Break Adventures: Neuschwanstein Castle & Reutte, Austria

So potentially the highlight of the trip for Clarissa was the visit to the inspiration for the "Sleeping Beauty" Castle (i.e. Neuschwanstein Castle) in Hohenschwangau, Germany. Sometimes it is also called the Cinderella castle, I think Disney used different elements from the Neuschwanstein Castle in both movies. It was only about an hour drive from Garmisch (the resort gave us an excellent address for the GPS: Alpseestrasse 12, 87645 Hoenschwangau, Germany).

The ticket office opens at 9 and the castle's first tour starts at 10. The castle is up a very tall hill, so they allowed for time to make the trek up the hill.  Our goal was to get there at 9, but being in vacation mode we didn't arrived until around 9:30. The next english speaking tour wasn't until 11:05, so we got those tickets. One thing I realized while in line at the ticket booth is there are actually two castles in this small town. If you had a full day, you could visit both castles as well as have lunch and shop in the cute town of Hohenschwangau. Not being sure how much Clarissa would enjoy the castle, we opted to just do the Neuschwanstein Castle and not tempt our luck.

Now, remind me again, how did Cinderella get to the ball that night? A horse and carriage you say? Then we must go the same way (much better than a 45 minute walk)!

Unfortunately, there was a nice fog cloud sitting on top of the castle that day. So as the horse pulled us up the hill, we could only see outlines of the castle towers.

The carriage ride takes you about 2/3 of the way up the hill. The road narrows after that point and the horses can't turn around. So we began the last ten minutes up the hill. Mid way though (awesome marketing!), there is a coffee/snack stand, restrooms, and souvenir stand. The kids happily partook in a donut and German pretzel to pass the time before our start time.

At the gate to the courtyard.

One of many flights of stairs. We had read that though the tour you walk approximately 300 stairs. In order to save our backs, we reminded Clarissa about all the stairs in the Cinderella movie, the ones she lost her shoe on, the stairs inside entry/ball room (in the Cinderella 3 movie and Wii games), so she did great on the stairs and walked without complaining at all.

An outdoor courtyard. We were not permitted to take photos inside the castle (and you have to wear your backpack on your front....a little awkward).

Note sure if this was one of the towers who's windows we looked out. At one of the windows, our guide commented on how the view from this window is beautiful....on a clear day.....

Clarissa did amazing on the tour. She held my hand and walked the whole time. I was pleasantly surprised. The tour ends in a ballroom....we may or may not have done a little dance together.

We rode the carriage back down the hill. The forest does remind me a bit like the one Prince Phillip goes racing through.....(the power of suggestion likely). We would definitely like to visit the castles again....on a sunny day!

On our way back to Garmisch, we drove through/past Reutte, Austria. A exchange student friend of mine currently lives there so we stopped by his work to say hi.  Our GPS failed us when trying to find his office, but it did take us out to Plansee.....the water's colors are just stunning and so clear!! The scientist in me wonders if there might be a high copper content in the water.....yep, I'm a science dork!

We had a great fall break. Came back very rested and never had a day we didn't enjoy. I must complement the Bavarian area on their fabulous, smooth roads. Also, I can now say I drove over a 100 on the autobahn.....(km/hr.....I didn't want to get a ticket).

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