Füssen – Schloss Neuschwanstein

7 08 2007

29th June, 2007

Apart from humbling me with their generosity & friendliness, Peter & Margit also convinced me that I had to go and see the great Schloss Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Castle) in Füssen, south Bavaria, right on the border with Austria. It wasn’t exactly on my way to Passau, but I thought it a(nother) worthy diversion, so off I pedaled to the south-east.

Neuschwanstein Castle is a rock star as castles go – most people have at least seen a picture of it, even if they aren’t aware of what castle it actually is. It was reportedly used as the inspiration for the Disney Castle, and the similarities are pretty obvious:

Can you tell which is the REAL Schloss Neuschwanstein?
disney_neuschwanstein.jpg

A couple of days later, I arrived in Füssen at about 6:30pm, making straight for the tourist info office and enquiring about campsites in the area. The info lady showed me a few on the map, ranging from a basic patch of ground with a shower block, right up to a 5-star campground with spa, sauna, pool, gym room and trampoline, gourmet restaurant and big inflatible adventure playground… but they didn’t accept tents! Disappointed, I opined that it wasn’t really ‘camping’ if they don’t take tents, but she just shrugged her shoulders, saying not many people actually ‘camp’ around here. She then smiled and mentioned that there was a B&B just behind the office, run by a nice elderly lady, and it only cost 3 euros more than the basic campsite. Well, errr – who needs a tent anyway…

The B&B lady spoke not a single word of English, and I knew about ten words of German. Despite this, we chatted for at least an hour, with her sweetly rambling on about something or other, and me answering on whatever topic I thought we might be talking about. Gesticulation goes a long way, if you have the time. I talked to her dog too, who seemed to understand me quite well.

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The next morning I was up and rolling early, heading towards the mountains beyond the lake (a.k.a. the Austrian Alps). The castle itself is at the top one of the foothills, which turned out to be a decent little climb – I was the only He-Man / wanker that decided to go up by bicycle – everyone else either hiked up, or took one of the horse-drawn wagons on offer. I actually got a few ‘bravo’s and other encouraging comments as I chugged away (at least, I think they were encouraging), overtaking the horses and hikers, until I finally reached the ramp up to the castle entrance. I locked the bike, took a few shots, then lined up for my little guided tour of the inside.

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Quite a view from the lounge room:
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The castle was only 30% completed inside – not surprising, given how lavish and meticulously detailed the completed areas were, and the tour guide swept us through at a brisk pace (tour groups departed every few minutes, so we couldn’t dally in the fancy rooms). No photos were allowed inside, sadly, but you can get a taste of it all at the official website gallery:

http://www.neuschwanstein.com/english/castle/gallery.htm

After that, it was an all-brakes roll down the hill, slaloming past the hikers and horse poo, and I was on my way NE towards Passau once more…

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