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April 2015, Hohenschwangau – Germany
How to get from 20 degrees to -10, in just a few hours?
Well, I will tell you all about it!
Adventure yourself from München to the fairytale Castle of Neuschwanstein, southwest Bavaria, Germany.
Personal refuge of a reclusive king, and more recently Disney’s inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle, this 19th century palace was haaaaaard to reach. But it was worth it!
Aaaand …we have a pretty funny story to tell. 🙂
Munchen: warm spring, 20°C
We’re taking the express train to Füssen, but realize we’ve bought the wrong tickets and get off at the first stop.
Change 2 more trains on the way.
Füssen: -10°C, freezing
Just follow everyone else to the special buses taking you to the nearby village Hohenschwangau. This is where the castle is.
Reach the final bus stop, and walk some more, uphill.
Sudden snowfall: giant, fluffy snowflakes coming down rapidly. In a few minutes everything’s white, starting with ourselves. 🙂
Hundreds of people standing in line to buy tickets. We walk by, leave the kilometric line behind, and barely reach the ticket center in around 10 minutes.
What do you know?! There is no cue at the reserved lane for online tickets. We’re the first ones for the day!
So…the actual only advice you need for this trip is: book the tickets online in advance! It will spare you a lot of trouble.
We’re finally set to go. Walk uphill again. We make a first stop at Hohenschwangau Castle, the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, before building his own castle high above, Neuschwanstein.
We’re heading to Neuschwanstein now. There’s a beautiful panoramic view, becoming better and better as you climb.
The castle is simply out of this world.
Despite its size, it only contained the king’s private lodging and servants’ rooms. And it is said it was dedicated to his friend Richard Wagner, who actually died before setting foot inside.
The Throne Hall looks almost sacred, like a sanctuary dedicated to the divine power of kings. The Hall of singers, Drawing room, Study, Dining rooms and bedroom are quite surprising as well.
While listening to the guide and all the stories, you can actually feel the sadness inside the walls. After all, the king died before the castle was completely finished…
Ok…let’s get back to München now. But I guess we didn’t have enough adventure for the day, since the best part of the story is yet to come. 🙂
Everybody’s returning to the bus stop. We follow the crowd again. We bunch up in a couple of buses and reach the train station. Now imagine a couple hundred people waiting for a train. The LAST train taking you home.
It’s almost dark outside. The train arrives. Wait…it’s just a wagon!?
W-A-G-O-N. For all of us?? We find out it’s Easter day in Germany, so traffic is reduced.
We try to get in. Chaos! Mothers with child try to pass the child to somebody squashed already in, while they remain on the platform with the baby-walker. And the father. 🙂 I will never forget this image.
What to do!? More than half of our travel fellows couldn’t get in. We hear the bus drivers outside, talking. New announcement: they decided to take all of us with the buses, and drop us off at the nearest train connection to München!
Chaos again..:)) We’re getting off the fully packed wagon and run to the buses.
In a few minutes we’re heading out the highway at 100 km/h. Thrilling!
The bus driver calls through the station the next train’s driver, asking to wait for us.
What an adventure!
We finally reach the train station. The train and the bus drivers wave to each other. 🙂
This is another thing I will never forget: the reliability and kindness of the German people. A solution was found immediately, no matter that it was not their ‘job’ to fix the inconvenience.
The rest of the journey is not so exciting. Bottom line, we were back to Munchen before midnight. 🙂
As already mentioned in the story, make an online reservation on their website, before getting there.
We bought the King ticket (Neuschwanstein+ Hohenschwangau) and paid around 50 euros for both.
Happy travels and stay safe!