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  • Day48

    Day 48 - Fairytale Castles

    September 20, 2020 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    After an awful night sleep for no apparent reason, I went down to the cafeteria to pick up our breakfasts to go. It was a decent doggie bag of a cheese roll, a ham roll, yoghurt, bar of chocolate, apple, apple juice & a large cup of coffee.

    It was just after 10am, when we hit the road heading for Hohenschwagon & it’s two famous castles. After negotiating the outskirts of Munich, we headed south & eventually picked up the Romantische Straße (Romantic Road), apparently devised by promotion-minded travel agents in the 1950s. “It describes the 350 kilometres (220 mi) of surface roads between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany, specifically in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, linking a number of picturesque towns and castles.

    “In medieval times, it was a trade route that connected the center of Germany with the south. Today, this region is thought by many international travellers to possess "quintessentially German" scenery and culture, in towns and cities such as Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber and in castles such as Burg Harburg and the famous Neuschwanstein”.

    We arrived outside Neuschwanstein around midday & on the approach road the two castles appeared out of their shroud of clouds up in the mountains. It was a magical sight to behold. The most iconic castle is the white Neuschwanstein Castle, a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II (Mad King Ludwig) of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died.

    Neuschwanstein Castle has featured in numerous movies including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

    The 2nd castle, Hohenschwangau Castle is a 19th-century palace. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It doesn’t look so impressive from a distance.

    After numerous photos we headed into Neuschwanstein, which was heaving with tourists. The car parks wanted €8 to park & the entry fee to each castle was €25, too much for us. Instead we (I) abandoned the car illegally & took photos as best as I could.

    Afterwards we continued through the expensive town of Fussen, heading further west just north of the Austrian & Swiss borders until we arrived in Friedrichshafen. Friedrichshafen sits on the northern shores of Lake Constance looking across at it’s neighbour, Switzerland on the southern shore. It is also surrounded by vineyards & apple shrubs bursting at the seams with fruit.

    We stopped for a leg stretch & a nosey & discovered that the lake shores were sandy & effectively a beach as we know it. It may have been that it was a Sunday, but the roads on this stretch were heaving.

    We could have stayed, but decided to push on to our intended destination in the Black Forest. It was a slow, but scenic drive to Merzhausen, a couple of miles south of Freiburg im Breisgau, the largest town in the Black Forest. Our hotel, Gruner Baum Merzhausen is a traditional style hotel for the region.

    After checking in, we went down to the bar & restaurant for a couple of locally brewed beers & planned our itinerary for tomorrow. Dinner was expensive, so after much debate we ended up just sharing a carpaccio salad & a traditional German pizza, which was very thin & called a Flammkuchen. It was nice, but I went to bed still hungry.

    Song of the Day : Castles in the Air by Don McLean.
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