Tag 4 - Neuschwanstein - Deutschland
[Visited - 1st October 2013]
We set off in Marqus with the goal of visiting Fussen and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. After a beautiful drive through the Bavarian countryside we reached Schwangau without incident and parked half way across the car park from any other vehicles. It was then we realised how busy it was going to be. The whole town is practically based on the tourism of the two castles there. Joining the queue the English tours for Neuschwanstein were rapidly selling out so we decided to visit Hohenschwangau first and left Neuschwanstein until later.
Unfortunately the mist had descended and so the castle I most wanted to photograph was veiled mysteriously. Great for atmosphere, not so great for getting a clear photo. Unphased we collected our tickets and completed the 20 minute walk in about 5 minutes. That said neither castle is great for those with lesser mobility - Neuschwanstein would be particularly difficult. We managed a quick browse in the shop before we got ushered into the castle. Though we were somewhat herded round the tour group wasn’t too big and the guide made sure everyone was there before starting to explain what was going on in the room. Aside from that he was pretty humourous and definitely knew his stuff.
We had time after the tour to stop for food and a rest before we did a bit more shopping and then got the bus up to Neuschwanstein - good job too because it was quite a trek up there. It was obvious this was the destination everyone had come for as it was packed out by lots of people of varying nationalities. We struggled to take some misty photographs before we were rapidly herded around the castle. It was a good thing I got a guide because I missed half of what our guide said because of the accoustics and because we were at the back of the tour.
After we were turfed out we decided to go to Marienbrucke to see if we could get a photo - we half managed to as the mist was clearing slightly but Neuschwanstein was still playing hardball and we could only get half decent shots.
Walking back down after managing to get some tourist free photos of the front we started our quest for food. As most of the tourists had gone most of the places were closed and when we asked at a hotel we were directed down to the lake to the ‘evening restaurant’. (Literally swan lake.) This is where we commensed the embarrassing spectical of our romantic meal for two. Fortunately they had a table free, unfortunately we’d walked into Ritz.. where they served our sprite into wine glasses with vase like carafs.
They also charged us £20 for a main meal. We ended up doing the age old British thing of staying despite being in entirely the wrong place at the wrong time and trying to eat and leave - harder said than done. Finally they released us after coffee and I managed not to burst into hysterics until after we got outside, despite singing Bella Notte from lady and the tramp to my travelling companion mid meal.
Locating Marqus we headed off back to our hotel, grateful that we were going somewhere decidedly more low key.
Tag 3 - Munchen (Oktoberfest) - Deutschland
[Visited - 30th September 2013]
We started off the day with another hearty breakfast of meat and cheese before tackling the confusing world of the German rail system. Fortunately a couple behind us helped us pick a ticket to get us to Munich for 10.20 euros each. When we got on the train we were still puzzling so a lovely German lady explained that our ticket was for the whole day to pretty uch anywhere we wanted and we could randomly pick up 3 extra people and take them with us. She also told us a bit about Oktoberfest as she had apparently lived in Munich previously and generally chatted with us until she had to get off the train.
When we got off a Hackerbruke we just followed the crowed towards the Oktoberfest grounds. It wasn’t hard to notice them, most were in Leiderhosen or Dirndl of various bright colourations. Willkommen zum Oktoberfest! Everywhere there were stands offering Oktoberfest souveniers and food including various steins and das boot! We had a browse and ended up buying some chocolate covered fruit - grapes for me and strawberries for my travelling companion. They were really delicious.
We wandered into the Hofbrau-festzelt tent and after some confusion settled down on one of the long tables in the no reservation area and managed to purchase ein mass of beer. It was huge, seriously huge. My friend also got a pretzl which was bigger than her head. It took us over 2 hours to drink our litre of beer by which time we knew the lyrics of the frequent ‘cheers drink up’ song they kept playing.
How the waitresses were able to carry 8 to 10 steins at a time I’ll never know, I struggled enough with the one I had. We also got chatting to some Aussies/New Zealanders who had managed to get through 2/3 glasses in the time it took us to get through 1. They were able to translate the lyrics of the drinking song for us and apparently one had stopped off in London and Birmingham on his way to Munich. Slightly tipsy we went on a food hunt and ended up buying some.. ‘frites’ type things which were basically crisps but a bit softer in places and I’m not entirely sure what they were but they tasted good and then we also got a 1/2 metre long wurst in a baguette.
We bought some bits and pieces (I bought a stein from the HB tent) and then ended up going on the Hollenblitz ride which was basically waltzers meet rollercoaster. The guys in front of us were laughing their rumps off as we went around squealing with laughter as we were flung round and round and went through colourful strobe lighting.
A bit more browsing and we were exhausted, deciding to go on the large ferris wheel which we’d decided to do as a finale before setting off home. By this time we’d sobered up and were able to enjoy the serene ride up above Oktoberfest, whilst trying to get photographs through theback of someone elses head.
Traipsing back to the station we managed to get on the wrong train and ended up in somewhere completely opposite to where we wanted to be. Fortunately there was a flyer back to Munchen Ost which we got on before managing to get on the right train. In our defence we did get onto te train that the guard told us to but apparently he wasn’t really paying attention to what I was asking.
Exhausted we crawled nto our hotel and into bed.
(More photos to come)
Tag 2 - Pocking - Deutschland
[Visited - 30th September 2013]
We decided to stay close to our hotel on our first day and explore the town we are staying in. Pocking is very beautiful and quiet and basically just a small village. Breakfast consisted of crusty rolls and all of the meat and a little cheese on the side. They also served fruit juice and cereal which we tucked in to. The sugar resembles mini iceburgs rather than sand which perplexed me briefly. Also they have lumps o butter floating in icy water - it sounds like it shouldn’t work but it’s really delicious.
Outside of our window there is a hanging basket full of pink flowers. My travelling companion saw something that looked like a hummingbird feeding on the flowers. We were pretty sure hummingbirds aren’t native to Germany and so we wondered what exactly it was that she’d seen. Google to the rescue and it seems that there are creatures called hummingbird moths that are around in Germany and it looked like the creature that she’d seen so we think it was one of those. We’re now on a mission to see if we can locate and hopefully photograph another one.
After breakfast we made a trip down to the local supermarket to sample the local produce and spent an hour just browsing all the food. We ended up spending 20 euros each but we got food for sandwiches and picnics and lots of snacks to try. We had a panic at the checkout as we didn’t have a bag and we didn’t know how to ask for one in German so ended up shoving the groceries back into the trolley. Fortunately we had our normal bags with us so we managed to stuff most of it into those and only had to carry a little in our hands.
After we dumped the shopping due to tiredness and my upset stomach we ended up falling asleep for a few hours at the hotel. Refreshed we made a picnic and headed off down towards the lake - locating the train station on the way fortunately for our Munich trip tomorrow. After a bit of umming and ahhing we came across the lake which was very still and peaceful. There was also the ruins of a castle on the banks of the lake that we had a wander around.
On the way back we saw a Mexican restaurant was open and stopped in for dinner. The burger was massive - I’ve seen smaller side plates than that. Unable to eat it all we ended up bring at least half of it back with us. Quite proudly the majority of the conversation we had with the waitress was in very basic German. Go us.
After we’d had our fill we wandered back to the hotel for more sleep.
(More photos to come.)
Tag 1 - Pocking - Deutschland
[Visited - 29th September 2013]
We started the day early at 5am. Coffee was required to get us on the road to Manchester. Due to the wonders of technology we were able to park with no fuss as the barrier recognised Luka. On to terminal 1 we located our first flight to Copenhagen fairly easily before we tucked in to some breakfast sandwiches. Pretty sure the egg which tried to escape my sandwich is the cause of my current unsettled digestive system.
Anyone who’s read my blog for some time knows what happened the time I went to Copenhagen so surfice to say I was laughing as we landed in the now familiar Danish Lufthavn. The flight itself was calm and the weather was fine. SAS transferred the baggage automatically which was a huge help so all we had to do was to wander through to the lounge for the Munich flight and then wait.
Airports seem to be a longue and then another lounge and then another longue slowly making their way onto the plane.
Soon we were underway to Munich, again flying through lovely clear skies.
When we arrived at Munich we were slightly lost for a while before we managed to locate Thrifty to pick up Marqus who turned out to be an Opel Active (wider than Luka by far). We got very confused in the car park as we wandered down to space 44 and found no car there. We waved at a man on a scooter who promptly pointed to space 441, the 1 looked a lot more like an up arrow to me!
Fortunately Marqus has a state of the art sat nav, which was very useful for navigating the Autobahn. I have to admit I was half way between terrified and cool as a cucumber. It’s like learning to drive again because not only do they drive on the right but Marqus is a right hand drive so you shift with your right hand so I keep punching the door trying to left hand shift. Also the dash is like something out of star trek though we managed to work out how to work some of the things.
We finally found Pocking after taking our time and parked up at our hotel.
Our hotel is awesome. It looks exactly as you would imagine a quaint German home to look, the room is spacious and the beds comfortable. The owner was very friendly and didn’t mind our exhausted ‘can’t even attempt German at this stage’ English.
We had a wander around Pocking when we’d settled in and realised nothing was open and if we wanted to eat we were going to have to drive. 10 minutes later we were in Starnberg in McDonalds attempting to order Big Macs in a very awkward conversation in broken German and mostly English. Food purchased we tucked in before heading back to the hotel at about 7pm and sparking out.
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#Not a huge fan but it has been a long time since I was in Paris, #submission,
An illustration created for this blog post looking at the more luxurious spots in Paris.
#evening #colors #sky #sundown #munich #mittlererring