Day Nine - Pt. 1: Schloss Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein

Hohenschwangau Travel Blog

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Fall colors in the early morning hours near the border of Austria and Germany.

We set our alarm for 7:25am as our goal was to have showers and eat and be on the road by 8:30.  But the shower was a bit of an ordeal for me.  You’d think that after 37 years, I’d have that part of my daily routine down.  But it’s usually the most unexpected things that can throw a wrench into your plans.

I got to the shower house, and was happy to see that there were three shower booths open.  I went into one, pleasantly surprised it was dry, and proceeded to lay things out.  Soap and shampoo in the shower, clothes on the rack, etc.  I got undressed, stepped into the shower, picked up my coin and went to place it into the timer, only to discover I’d walked into a booth that was for tokens.

Schloss Hohenschwangau's vantage point.
  I was stunned.  Just last night at reception they had told me we did not need tokens, only a single Euro coin.  Since I heard several of the showers going, and I knew Derik was ahead of me and he didn’t have any tokens, I presumed there must be showers of both sorts.  So, I proceeded to get redressed, and repackaged and stepped back into the hallway, awaiting one of the other showers to become available.

Not too much longer and Derik was finished, so I proceeded to repeat steps A-E in a now wet shower and 6 minutes later I was mostly clean save for a few soap bubbles that blasted timer forced me to live with.

I got back to Arvie in time to eat breakfast.  Derik had prepared a wonderful bowl of cereal complete with dried raspberries and strawberries.

A swan fountain at Schloss Hohenschwangau
  I promptly sloshed milk across the table and floor.  Finishing breakfast, I pulled the power we’d been plugged in to and stowed that away so we could be on our way.  We stopped for Diesel, since it was about 15 - 20 cents cheaper in Austria and then headed back to Germany.

The drive looked appreciably different this morning from last night.  Despite the overcast conditions the multi-colored trees were still stunning in their autumn attire.

Only 18 km later we arrived at Hohenschwangau, the little town that tourism built.

Water feature of Lion Fountain at Schloss Hohenschwangau
  Everything about it screams tourist, but I suppose when you have two famous castles on your doorstep, that’s to be expected.  They’ve thought of nearly everything to help you spend more money while you’re there too.  There’s not just shopping - though there’s tons of that - there’s eating, sleeping, carriage rides, bus rides, and the like.  The amount of money they make has to be pretty impressive, though I imagine their tourist season takes a severe dip in the winter. 

Tickets for both castles were the order of the day, and I HIGHLY recommend getting their early.  We were not as early as we'd hoped, but they had only been open maybe a half hour or so.  We were able to basically walk right up to a counter.  But as I'd heard, when we were through with our tours and came back past the ticket booth, the line was outside of the building.

Looking down on the town of Hohenschwangau from Schloss Hohenschwangau.

After purchasing our tickets we began our sightseeing and photo taking.  When you’re visiting both castles, you start with King Ludwig’s childhood home first, Schloss Hohenschwangau.  It sticks out like a sore thumb, just slightly higher than the main city.  A large white swan sits at its peak, keeping watch over its amber-colored, fortress-like walls.  Views of one sort or another are available from the city, but after a short climb up some stairs near the ticket center, you’re actually at the castle where it’s much more difficult to get decent pictures being so close.  However it does afford you some great views of the surrounding mountains, valley, and neighboring villages.

Our tour number came up after a short wait and we began our tour of Hohenschwangau.

A view of Neuschwanstein from Schloss Hohenschwangau.
  It was actually much more interesting than I’d imagined.  Since King Ludwig became king at the age of 18 (his father died prematurely from some sort of malady - I don’t remember what), he inherited all the rights to the household.  This included exclusive use of the king’s floor.  He had his own drawing room, conservatory, reading room, bedroom, dining room and living room.  And yet, somehow, this was not enough for him.  He made plans to build a grander castle which is one of the most photographed in the world - Neuschwanstein.

Neuschwanstein sits higher up an adjacent hillside than Hohenschwangau and after our first tour was completed, we began the ascent.  The walk between the two took us about 40 minutes.

Another view of Neuschwanstein
  We arrived at the second castle of the day with 25 minutes to go before our admission time.  I decided to use the time to try and get over to a bridge higher up and take some pictures looking back at Neuschwanstein.  So, off I ran/walked, hoofing it past people who seemed to think they had the entire day to peruse the trails.  I made it to the bridge, took 3 or 4 pictures and then headed back.  At this new height I was afforded a view of Hohenschwangau that I had not seen previously.  I practically felt I was looking down on it.

Not long after I returned to the castle and Derik and I entered the courtyard, our tour number came up.  So we followed the rest of the sheep into the castle to begin our second tour of the day.  Our guide, who was all of 17, was attempting to speak to us in English, but I think most who were there would argue it was a mix of several unintelligible alien dialects.

Walking the road up to Neuschwanstein
  Basically, we were guessing at what he was saying.   But he seemed happy to share his minimal knowledge and we pretended to be grateful to hear it.  We actually applauded when he finished his task.  He must have been proud.

On our way down the hill, Derik graciously stopped and purchased 2 pretzels.  I’m not sure if they were better than the 3 balls of fried dough he purchased on the way up - both were ok.  But at the time we got the pretzels it had been several hours since we’d eaten anything real.  Well, actually it’s been days since we’ve eaten anything real, but I digress.

 

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Fall colors in the early morning h…
Fall colors in the early morning …
Schloss Hohenschwangaus vantage p…
Schloss Hohenschwangau's vantage …
A swan fountain at Schloss Hohensc…
A swan fountain at Schloss Hohens…
Water feature of Lion Fountain at …
Water feature of Lion Fountain at…
Looking down on the town of Hohens…
Looking down on the town of Hohen…
A view of Neuschwanstein from Schl…
A view of Neuschwanstein from Sch…
Another view of Neuschwanstein
Another view of Neuschwanstein
Walking the road up to Neuschwanst…
Walking the road up to Neuschwans…
Looking down at Schloss Hohenschwa…
Looking down at Schloss Hohenschw…
The bridge above Neuschwanstein.
The bridge above Neuschwanstein.
Neuschwanstein as seen from a near…
Neuschwanstein as seen from a nea…
Hohenschwangau
photo by: sethwd2