The Swanstone Castle

Trip Start Apr 12, 2012
Trip End Apr 30, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel Fantasia Füssen
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Sunday, April 15, 2012

After a scenic train ride through Bavaria we arrived in Füssen. Despite the rainy, drizzly weather the town was enchanting. We booked a room at Hotel Fantasia, which was a short walk across a park. The hotel was lovely, clean and cozy - we were very happy with our choice.

Füssen is a charming little town south of Munich. Most everything is within walking distance, and walk we did, despite the weather that continued to remain drizzly during our stay. While the cobblestones seem so romantic at first, after a while they can really do a number on your feet, so I was glad to have my sturdy Merrells on.

After checking in to our hotel we took a bus to see Schloss Neuschwanstein. This is the castle built by King Ludwig II which was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle built by Walt Disney. The king had it built as a retreat for himself and a homage to Richard Wagner. Only 14 rooms were completed before his death, and his family chose to discontinue the building. After his death in 1886 it was opened to the paying public.

After the bus ride from Füssen we still had a ways to go up the mountain to actually get to the castle. There were several options for getting up there. You could take a horse and buggy, but after seeing how they were packed full of people, many of whom are smoking - ugh - we decided that option wasn't for us. Another option was to walk, but that seemed too extreme for us - our few weeks at the gym prior to the trip had not prepared us for that much walking, especially uphill. We went with the boring bus option, and even with the bus ride there was still quite a bit of uphill walking to be done, which demonstrated just how out of shape we were! Still, it was well worth the hike.

We started off taking photos of the castle from a bridge. We didn't last too long out there as it was very cold and very windy. We took a tour through the castle, most of which was never finished before King Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances. Seven weeks after his death the castle was open to the public, and it continues to be one of the most popular palaces in Europe today. The craftsmanship, dating back to the 1880's was remarkable. It seemed that every square inch was adorned with a wood carving of some sort. Unfortunately photography was not allowed inside the castle but a lot of images can be found on line.

After the tour we returned to Füssen and headed out to find something to eat. It seemed like the town closed up early, and the one place we wanted to try had an hour's wait. Since this was not an option we walked around the winding city streets, getting totally turned around, not to mention hungrier. We finally found a Chinese restaurant that was open so that's where we ate - at The Phoenix. It was ok, not as good as what we get at home, but good enough. After dinner and a few wrong turns we made it back to the hotel and turned in for the night. Since Gary has to watch tv to go to,sleep we enjoyed some old western in German.

When we woke up I happened to open the curtains and saw that it was snowing - BIG excitement for this Houston girl! We braved the weather and the confusing streets to find a bakery where we enjoyed pastries and hot chocolate. We boarded the train, said goodbye to Füssen and continued our Bavarian journey.
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