Posts Tagged ‘schwan’

Anniversary Weekend–Day 2

Sunday morning held even cooler temperatures and off and on appearances of the sun.  We had a quick breakfast and started our ascent to the Hohenschwangau castle, the one that Ludwig built for his parents.  This climb was not nearly as long.  You can take a slightly inclined path and walk for 20 minutes or an all-step, straight-up, no-nonsense path that takes 5 minutes.  We were champs and did the steps. 

We spent some time walking around all the different levels of the castle, though we did not sign up for a tour of the inside.  We liked this castle because it had so many marks of Bavaria on it as well as a giant swan on top of the castle that was illuminated at night.

After looking around the outsides of the castle, we decided to head toward the Alpensee, the beautiful lake that is situated in Hohenschwangua.  The lake is so striking because of its color, a turqois-blue that is characteristic of all the Alpine lakes and is due to mineral deposits. 

Since she saw the horses at the beginning of the weekend, Lauren was concerned about their treatment. (Were they rested?  How many times a day did they have to make the climb up the hill?  Were they rotated in and out?) Finally, though, as anyone could have predicted, she gave into her instincts and spent some time with the horses.  It was inevitable.

After seeing the Hohenschwangua castle and the Alpensee, we decided to head home because we had exhausted the town’s sites (and the weather did not convince us to try hiking).  Lauren paid 30 cents to use the WC and 1 1/2 hours later, with a speed of 200 kph touched on the Autobahn, we were back in Heidenheim. 

We ended our anniversary weekend with a lovely dinner on the terrace of a local Italian restaurant called “La Piazza.” 

1 year down, many more to come!

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Neuschwanstein Castle–Anniversary Weekend Day 1

To celebrate our 1st annivesary (Wow!) we planned a trip to see the most famous castle in all of Germany–Neuschwanstein. Unless you’ve been there, you’ve probably never heard of this castle. However, this castle was the inspiration for the design of the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Everything we read about this place was amazing; it seemed to be a quaint German town in Bavaria but with the romanticism of 2 looming castles (The other castle which is named after the town, Hohenschwangua, is quite impressive as well). A perfect spot, indeed, to celebrate an annivesary.

When we arrived we realized that our weekend wasn’t exactly going to be the peaceful retreat we had in mind. There were so many tourists and tourist buses infiltrating the town that it was difficult to even reach the hotel. Lauren had to peel Russ’s white knuckles from the steering wheel upon arrival. (Ok, maybe this is a tad bit exaggerated).

We stood in line for half an hour or so to get our tickets to go up to the castle with an English tour guide. Because we had a few hours to kill before we began our uphill trek, we decided to have lunch. No sooner did we sit under a protective covering than the skies let loose. We smiled at each other; we couldn’t have timed that more perfectly, we snickered! Or so we thought…

Move forward to castle climb. We gave ourselves an hour to get up the hill because the suggested hike time is 45 minutes. Some people took buses, others chose horse-drawn carriages, but still a significant amount of people walked, even this kid who is spotting the lederhosen we hope to have our soon-to-be-born nephew wearing.

The walk was nice. We got a great breeze and eventually came upon this.

It’s truly hard to appreciate the size of the castle through the pictures. As we approached, we got too close to encompass the full castle in the camera, so we figured that after the tour we’d climb to a spot that’s further away to try to get it all in one shot. This place is called “Mary’s Bridge” or “Marien Bruecke.” For now, though, we practiced taking in the view and saying, “Good morning, my kingdom” as if we were crazy King Ludwig II himself.

They restrict you from taking pictures inside the castle, so here are a few more of the outside for your viewing pleasure.

It turns out that very few rooms of the castle were actually finished. Part of that was because Ludwig was building several castles all over Bavaria (including Castle Hohenschwangua which he built for his parents) and had basically eaten up all of his funds by doing so. Top officials in the government thought he was crazy for doing this, convinced doctors to deem him unfit to serve, and ousted him from office. The next day Ludwig II was found dead. Mysterious, eh?

Anyway, we started to head here:

It was only slightly disconcerting that on our climb our view of the castle was this…

Then this…

At this point, it maybe should have been our clue to turn around, give up our mission, and get somewhere safe. But surely, it rained earlier in the day and we had missed it! We trekked on. Was it worth it?

Our view from Mary’s Bridge:

Seconds after appearing on the bridge, it began to pour. Thunder cracked, lightning struck, and we had at least 1.5 Kilometers to walk to somewhere dry. At first we tried waiting it out under our umbrellas. I mean, really, how long could it rain for this hard? Unfortunately for us the answer ended up being “all night.”

The damage even though we each had our own umbrella:

The picture hardly does this justice; as Russ puts it, “Our faces and the tops of our heads stayed very dry.” 🙂

Unfortunately we were forced to stay in our hotel room for the rest of the evening, aside from venturing out for dinner. The main attractions in Hohenschwangua are viewing the castles and the hiking…we could do neither. Our room was nice, though. We had occasional views of the castles when fog cleared and Russ got to set up his tri-pod and shoot night shots through the rain. All in all, an eventful and fun day. 🙂