Exploring the Bavarian countryside with local and friend, Joe, was a real treat. As part of our holiday in Europe, we were spending a few days in Munich and hoping to meet up with Joe to see the sights in the more rural part of Bavaria. Joe met us at the train station in Fussen and was wearing traditional Bavarian Lederhosen, he had our whole day (loosely) planned starting with a quick stroll through Fussen and a visit to Neuschwanstein castle.
Neuschwanstein was the castle of King Ludwig, a fairytale castle that inspired Disney featured in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The castle was never finished because King Ludwig died during its lengthy construction. The rooms that were completed are open to the public for viewing as part of a guided tour, you can only see the interior as part of a tour and no photos are allowed unless you are on one of the balconies or in the kitchen. It is a shame because the painting, mosaics and furnishing are truly magnificent, if not a little over the top, I particularly loved the patterns painted on the interior of the Throne Room and Singer’s Hall.
To get to the castle you can walk, take a bus or hop on a horse-driven carriage, we chose the delightful mode of horse and carriage and being at the front I got to take in the sights unimpeded and I love the smell of horses. Entry for the castle or castles (you can visit Hohenschwangau as well) comes with a guided tour scheduled for specific times during the day, tickets are bought at a ticket office at the bottom of the hill and if you’re not waiting in the queue you can browse through the souvenir shop or grab a bite to eat.
Hohenschwangau is the childhood home of King Ludwig, big and yellow, it can be easily scene from one of the balconies of Neuschwanstein. King Ludwig’s father, King Maximilian rebuilt the castle after it was destroyed by Napoleon and it was used by the Royal Family as a summer hunting lodge. We didn’t visit Hohenschwangau, one castle was enough for the day and we really wanted to see more of the region.
After lunch Joe took us to Tegelberg mountain, we rode the cable car to the summit and spent a pleasant hour or so enjoy an icy cold beer or Radler (beer and lemonade) and watching people parasailing and hang-gliding off the summit. All around us were snow capped mountain, we come from a more tropical part of Australia and to be sitting on a mountain covered with snow was a truly special moment. Once off the mountain Joe drove us to see the Wieskirche (Weis Church), a heavily decorated church in the middle of a field, it has been newly restored and apparently tour buses frequent the location when travelling the Romantic Road. With the day almost over Joe takes us back to his family home, his Mum, Sister and Grandmother had cooked a traditional Bavarian dinner of Roast pork, potato dumplings and salad followed by berries with Bavarian Cream. It really was the most wonderful way to end a day that will stay forever in our memory.