Thursday, April 9, 2009

Monday at Neuschwanstein

On Monday April 6 we left Jana's house (with Jana in tow) and set off for Bavaria. We stopped along the way for a snack and to get gas, then continued toward Neuschwanstein. The weather was warm (60s) and sunny when we arrived. We decided not to tour Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, the former being King Ludwig's childhood home and the latter being the castle he had built in the 1890s, I think. It was already early afternoon when we arrived, and if you want to tour the castles you tour Hohenschwangau first, then Neuschwanstein 2 hours later, and in between you have to hang out in the town where most of the shops are owned by the same people that own the castles. Kind of a nifty racket for them! So we took the bus up the mountain to Marienbruecke, where everyone gets the fantastic shot of Neuschwanstein that you always see on posters and in tourist publications. We were disappointed to find that that entire side of the castle was covered in tarps and scaffolding. We took the obligatory photos of other tourists with the castle in the background, and other tourists took our photo, too. We then walked to the outside of Neuschwanstein just to look around. Definitely a nice view; no wonder King Ludwig chose that spot for his castle!

Instead of taking the bus back down into the town we decided to walk down. I had read about Poellat Gorge, and the beautiful walk it was, and while I was talking to Karl and the girls about finding this path, an Australian man overheard me and told us that it was closed because of rock slides. So we found a different walking path.

It was interesting because while the ambient temperature was somewhere in the 60s, there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground. Jana and Caroline made a little snowman and for some of our hike we had merely a footpath that was clear while the rest of the trail was snow/ice covered. The mountains looked quite nice wearing their snow caps--very picturesque.

After our hike we drove a little ways to the Sommerrodelbahn at Tegeberg. The Sommerrodelbahn is somewhat like a luge. You sit on a small sled with a stick in front of you. If you push the stick forward you will go faster and if you pull the stick towards you, you will slow down. A cable pulls you uphill, then you are released in a stainless steel chute-like track. You wind your way downhill. It's very fun!

We stopped for more photos after the Sommerrodelbahn and then set out for Munich. We are staying at Hotel Uhland, which is located on a quiet street about 15 minutes by foot from the main train station. Hotel Uhland was originally a mansion built in 1889. We have a large room with a king size bed and a full size bed, nice sized bathroom, table, chairs, TV, and a wardrobe. There don't seem to be too many other guests around. The first morning the breakfast room was packed but nearly empty the other mornings--so it's quiet.

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