I originally intended to write a post about Neuschwanstein. But, due to the pandemic, the number of visitors inside the castle was limited, by the time I looked up tickets for King Ludwig II’s fairytale castle, it’s already sold out. There were tickets available at the Hohenschwangau Castle, however, given that it was a beautiful autumn day after a streak of rainy days , I decided to stay en plain air and enjoy the natual settings – mountains & lakes – around the castles.
To get to Neuschwanstein from Munich on public transportation, it takes two hours by train (the fastest without change) to Füssen, then a 15-minute bus ride to the castle.
This was my first train journey in a year and I found myself already drinking before 11. A group of women from Switzerland got on the train half way through and pulled out a bottle of pear liquor, they offered me a glass, and said it was medicine. Along with it, they shared little snacks and Swiss cookies. Next they each opened a bottle of sparkling wine and toasted. I asked what the occasion was. Turned out it was one of their friend’s 50th birthday a year ago, they just got around celebrating it. Cheers!
I got off the bus at the ticket center in the village of Hohenschwangau to see if there’s any walk-in ticket available, there’s not.
With that out of the question, I set out towards the castle.
From the ticket center it’s a 40-minute uphill walk to the castle. There’s also a shuttle bus or horse-drawn carriage, but it’s a pleasant walk in the Bavarian woods.
On approaching the castle, I saw people gathered around waiting for their time slots of the tour.
None for me, I walked on.
Shortly past the castle entrance came an expansive view of the mountains, Alpsee, and the Hohenschwangau castle below.
Alas, the Marienbrücke is closed for repair, so forget about this iconic view.
From the river bed down below, there’s a very narrow area where everybody climbed up to for a slightly better view. It was steep and muddy, not worth breaking a leg.
I had lunch by the stream with the Afghan leftovers from yesterday
Then strolled back to the village.
The courtyard of the Hohenschwangau Castle (King Ludwig II’s childhood summer palace) is free to roam around
All the fountains in the garden reflect the romantic programme of the castle’s rooms. The lion’s fountain, modelled after an example of the Spanish Alhambra fountain represents the Orient. St. Mary’s fountain in the courtyard symbolises Christianity, the Swan Fountain the local identity and knighthood. The Marble Bath reminds us of baths of the ancient times, the “gooseman’s” fountain (1867) refers to legends of the Middle Ages. As a child the later King Ludwiig II. experienced these mountain regions and the romantic murals of Hohenschwangau castle. This was the beginning of his dream to build his own castle – Neuschwanstein!
– by Offical Hohenschwangau Website
Or capture two castles in one shot
But the Alpsee below was calling my name
I went for a walk around the lake
before catching the bus and train back to Munich.
Back in Munich, I was looking for a restaurant called Süßmund Essen & Trinken, which allegedly serves German food with a modern twist. I found it but it was closed 😦
It suddenly downed on me that this was the day when all my plan As failed apart and plan Bs took over!
Which, in this case was Vietnamese food in Munich.
I had a small bowl of pho and monkfish clay pot, as the popular neighbourhood restaurant filled up.
All warmed up, I headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep. Instead of getting settled in Munich, I was already leaving it the very next day to head to a town called Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps.
Coming up next: Ettal Abbey, Germany