Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Neuschwanstein Castle

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles in Schwangau.
We ate breakfast at our little gasthof on Monday morning and drove toward the castles. 

The houses, restaurants, and hotels in this Bavarian town are so lovely, it is hard to know where to look first.

Schwangau, seen from the Hohenschwangau walls

Parking lot viewed from Hohenschwangau. The red X marks the place from which we started our walk up to visit the castle.

Hohenschwangau tower

Hohenschwangau viewed from the town streets below

An I Love You for Robby, as promised!

Michelle at Hohenschwangau

The walk back into town

Another view of the town from the castle

 We walked down a snowy lane from Hohenschwangau into the town, where we caught a horsedrawn wagon-ride up to Neuschwanstein Castle,
the home of "Mad King Ludwig"
Photography was prohibited within the castle, but there are many, many images available in books and on the Internet.
This castle is purported to be the one on which Walt Disney based the
Cinderella's Castles
for which his Magic Kingdoms are so famous. 

Becky and Michelle, with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background
From Neuschwanstein, it was a four-hour drive 'home' to Michelle's apartment in Landstuhl.  Tuesday will be laundry and packing-up day,
and Wednesday I will fly back to Michigan.
What a wonderful time I have had!
What a wonderful friend I am lucky to have!

More images of the castles and Schwangau can be seen here.

1936 Munich Winter Olympic Games Stadium

Getting ready to walk
  After our visit to Dachau on Sunday morning, Michelle drove us to the 1936 Winter Olympic Games Stadium, not far from Munich.  We bundled up, grabbed her walking sticks, and headed off to do some gorge-walking.

1936 Munich Winter Olympic Games Stadium Gatehouse

Ski Jump and Downhill/Slalom Course
 It is astounding to stand at the bottom of the ski jump hill and see how very high the skiers must climb to compete in this event. 

Olympic Stadium Restaurant
After exploring the stadium for a bit, we stopped in the restaurant on the grounds for a gluwein (a hot mixture of red wine and spices) to fortify us for our adventure, and then set off into Partnach Gorge.  Michelle had walked it in the summer, and was eager to see how it was changed by winter.
Entering the Gorge

 There is no way to describe the beauty that is Partnach Gorge. It was developed for tourism beginning in 1912 and is a popular walking and photography spot year-round.
Pictures cannot begin to show the beauty of this region of Bavaria, but here are a few we took during our walk.  You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger and in greater detail.

There is a little cafe part way up the gorge, where we stopped for another Gluwein on the way up and for wonderful soups on the way back down.  There are all sorts of taxidermied animals decorating the restaurant, including this badger, wearing a lovely hand-knit sweater.
Dogs are welcomed anywhere in Germany, and the owners' German Shepherd visited our table for a nice scratch behind the ears.

At the end of our exploration, ready to turn around and retrace our steps back to the car
To see more pictures of our walk, go here.

From the gorge, we drove to Schwangau to spend the night.  We noticed as we entered the town that everyone seemed to be in costume! We had happened upon "Fasching" a German tradition similar to our American Mardi Gras.

Next: our visit to Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles, and our return to Landstuhl.