The bologne here is really good... I would never consider eating a bologne sandwich in the US if I had any other options, but the Bologna here has chunks of garlic/marinated mushrooms/red peppers in it. Dad still didn't like it so Jenna and I each got to eat two! Yum!
The train to Fussen took a little over two hours. Fussen is all the way in the south of Germany, almost at the Austrian border, and it is right up against the Bavarian Alps. The scenery was so beautiful from the train window!
We all tried to take pictures but the windows were sort of dirty so it wasn't overly successful. Once we arrived in the town of Fussen, we got on a little shuttle bus that took us up to the castles.
Holy smokes, the castles were totally amazing. King Ludwig grew up in Hohenschwangau-- hard to imagine playing in the yard in front of that thing.
Once he began his rule, he built Neuschwanstein, which is the castle that the Disney Fantasyland castle was modeled after. The whole day was pretty exercise intensive... both castles were up on hills overlooking a beautiful lake and valley, which meant that we had to hike up and down over and over again to go from castle to castle.
The Hohenschwangau castle was easy to get to, but Neuschwanstein was about 45 minutes uphill. There was an amazing little bridge over a giant (and very high up) ravine that had a breathtaking view of Neuschwanstein.
I couldn't force myself to walk across it, but we ventured a few meters in to take some pictures.
We were trying to kill time before sundown, so we rented some paddle boats for a few hours and cruised all over the lake.
The lake was really beautiful-- tons of weird black ducks with white bills and plenty of swans. There also appeared to be jellies in the bottom of the lake, which is very strange since it was a freshwater mountain lake.
I tried to take a picture of them but it was a pretty big fail. After the boat we went to dinner. Jenna and I ordered desserts because we had our bologne sandwiches-- we had Black Forest cake and Bavarian Cream. SO good.
We cruised back up to the N castle to take pictures in new light, then went back down to the H castle to see it lit up. Then we headed to the bus stop.
The schedule said that the bus was supposed to come at 9:30, so we waited around from 9:15 to 9:45-- no bus. We thought about walking down to Fussen, but it was 5 kilometers to the edge of the town, not to mention the additional walk to the train station. Plus, the road was pitch black, narrow, and had no side walks. Bad idea... so we walked to the nearest hotel and had them call us a cab. The cab driver drove like a total maniac.
At one point, he was going 160 kilometers an hour! Insanity. I suppose they are used to driving on the Autobahn... but we were thankful because his speed allowed us to make our train, which turned out to be the last one of the night. Must be more careful about that in the future.
The train got back around 1 AM and we hurried back to the hostel to help Dad pack and backup all of our pictures. Needless to say, it was a long day and a very late night.
We woke up early on Saturday (5/7) to head to Fussen to check out a pair of King Ludwig's ridiculous castles. Jenna and I definitely got full use of the hotel's continental breakfast-- we made 4 giant bologne and cheese sandwiches to bring as a picnic.