15 May 2006

Vacation - Act I, Scene III

The next day, we spent the day near Schwangau, a lovely town in the Allgäu region, right on the edge of the Alps. As you can see, it is a very beautiful area.

Most of the day was spent visiting the town's two castles: Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. Hohenschwangau is more or less a "real" castle. What do I mean by that? As opposed to its neighbor, Schloß Hohenschwangau had been lived-in by members of the Bavarian royal family. Neuschwanstein, on the other hand, is a relatively modern (late 1800s) fantasy-world dream of King Ludwig II, who only lived in the unfinished building for 173 days before he was deposed and, three days later, died under mysterious circumstances. Neuschwanstein is gorgeous and sits in a very dramatic location, but between the mass of tourists (we weren't even there in the "high" season, yet there was a pushing and shoving match amongst people trying to get onto the bus to take us to the castle) and knowing its history, it just seemed like some sort of Bavarian Disneyland Castle without those snaky rope thingies that allow a relatively large number of people to form a "line" in a fairly compact area. But don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the day a lot. The castles were wonderful on the inside and the tour guides were great, particularly in Hohenschwangau.

The Hohenschwangau castle's exterior was under renovation while we were there, so I don't have any real photos of the castle. It was covered with tarps that seemed to be just about the same color as the actual exterior, but it still didn't look very photogenic. There was this lovely swan fountain there, however.

We tried to be polite about getting on the Neuschwanstein shuttle bus, but when this gigantic group started to push ahead of everyone else that was there at least as long as they were, we decided that we weren't going to put up with all of them cutting in front of us (remember, I said above that there was nothing resembling a line at the bus stop) and we worked our way to the front. The apparent leader of the group tried to tell Jeannette she had to wait her turn, but the driver didn't care who got on his bus as long as they paid, so we squeezed past the obnoxious woman onto the crowded bus. We made it to the drop-off point with enough time to take a leisurely walk to the castle. If we would have missed the bus, I am sure that we would have had to run. And that wouldn't have been fun.

There was this nice bridge over a waterfall that has an excellent view of the castle. Normally when Jeannette and I travel alone, we don't get many pictures of the two of us together. I'm still a bit leery about handing over my baby - er, camera - to a complete stranger. But luckily (and if you have been paying attention, this will not be a big surprise), my Dad & Steply-Ugmother were with us, and I don't mind handing my camera over to one of them, since I know where they live.

Since our tour of Neuschwanstein was at 12:15, afterwards it was definitely lunchtime. And with the hiking through the mountains, it was completely appropriate for us to drink a maß.

Since my Mom and Step-Dad (sorry. We don't have a funny variant on that one... Yet.) are talking about visiting us around Oktoberfest time (or more likely, the Bad Cannstatter Volksfest), Jeannette decided she needed to get into shape for carrying massive quantities of beer.

For those of you paying attention, yes, I used that picture a week or so ago. But it fits into the story. Trust me.

Anyway, after lunch, we leisurely strolled down the mountain, found the car and drove through Wank (see, I told you it was appropriate. If I was just trying to throw something gratuitously into the story, I would have used this one.) to a store that Jeannette had spotted on the way into Schwangau. There was a huge sign that said "80% off on Lederhosen". Well, almost. In small print, there was an "up to" in front of it. But we still went in, Jeannette tried on a bunch of stuff and eventually got a nice pair of Leather Shorts. No pictures yet, but I am sure you'll get to see them next time we hit a Volksfest.

Well, that pretty much wraps it up. Until the next installment, that is.



At Wednesday, 17 May, 2006 , Anonymous Angel said...

Beautiful place to spend your holiday :-)
(Says one who lives in the Allgäu and loves the countryside every day a little bit more.)

At Friday, 19 May, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the pics of the signs!! ha ha. - shel


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