Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles – July 25

I was a bit disappointed when I woke up to clouds. I’d been looking forward to this portion of my trip for some time and I hoped the weather would cooperate.

We took our time getting out the door since I wasn’t keen on the idea of navigating Munich rush hour. According to Google our journey should only take 1.5 hours so we had plenty of time.

I’d had sense enough to get a GPS with the rental car so we plugged in the address and set off into the countryside. It was beautiful. The farms, rolling green hills, and half-timbered houses were exactly what I’d expected in the Bavarian countryside. What we didn’t realize is the navigation was taking us a different route than we’d gotten from Google. What should have been a 1.5 hour journey took closer to 3. It was mid-afternoon before we made it to Schwangau. The good news, the clouds were clearing up.

Tickets to see Neuschwanstein were sold out until 6pm. Not being terribly inclined to tour the actual castle (seeing the outside was sufficient for me) I didn’t know that I wanted to wait 3+ hours for the next available tour. We asked the woman at the ticket counter for her opinion and she suggested Hohenschwangau castle was more interesting since the family had actually lived there. We took her advice and got tickets for the next available tour.

While we waited for our tour we decided to get a closer look at Neuschwanstein. The trail to what I presume is the best viewpoint was closed so we rode the bus up the hill as close as we could get. The bus was packed and the road quite curvy which made for a wild ride. You exit the bus and realize you have to walk down, then back up, quite a steep hill to the bus stop. Alternatively you can walk all the way back to the village, I think the map indicated it would be a 45 minute walk. With not a lot of time to spend before our tour we opted to walk down the hill a ways anticipating a break in the trees that would afford a nice view of the castle. We did find a decent view of the castle. We took a few minutes to enjoy the view of the valley and castle below then hiked back up the hill to the bus.

Back in the village we began another hike to get to Hohenschwangau castle. By this time I was feeling pretty over the stairs and steep inclines. We got a brief break while we waited for the tour. I was dreading the stairs that would be necessary to tour the castle but in the end it wasn’t bad at all. The guide was great, the tour fairly short which easily kept my attention, and it provided more great views of the surrounding area. One day I will go back and get to the door of Neuschwanstein.

Our destination for the next day was Rothenburg ob der Tauber so we found an airbnb near there to stay for the evening. Back on the road and again the journey was taking longer than it should. We did spend a little time on the autobahn but as we started to make quick progress we found ourselves in a heavy downpour.

Off the freeway and into the village we were wound through alley ways to our destination. It was close to 9 and we were hungry. Unfortunately all the restaurants had already closed. All that was left was the gas station and McDonalds. Ugh, McDonalds! We made a quick run to the gas station where Chris picked up some snacks. I pouted and opted for nothing. Returned to the room and watched Top Gun dubbed over in German. It was quite amusing.

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