Day 26 & 27 – Munich & The Crazy King’s Castles

IMGP0723 The train that I took from Venice last night was possibly the worst thing I’ve ever endured travel wise. I’m so glad it was a (relatively) short trip. 7 hours from Venice to Munich overnight. It was a cramped 6 person compartment. The seats didn’t recline. They were also very short seats so you couldn’t really slide down into them. It was also extremely warm. Not to mention the 5 or 6 times I was woken throughout the night to show my ticket or my passport. Would have been a much better trip if the sleeper beds weren’t already sold out.

I got there in the end though. I walked straight into Burger King at the train station in Munich to use their loo. I almost didn’t recognise the person I saw in the mirror. I looked like death warmed up carrying a backpack. I got a chocolate thick shake for breakfast, that’s the kind of pick me up I needed, and sat and used their internet for about an hour or so before I decided I was able to walk in a straight line enough to make it to the hostel.

The hostel was about a kilometre up the road. It was a really nice place. More like a hotel actually. All the facilities you could ask for and it was clean, secure, and the damn internet worked. I dropped my back off and sat down to plan the day and charge my laptop, phone, and camera before I headed out for some sight seeing.

I wasn’t actually planning to come to Munich originally as I didn’t really think much of it when I was here last time and didn’t think there was that much more to see. I decided to stay in Munich as it was the easiest launching point to go to the castles over near Fussen and to move on to Salzburg afterwards. I don’t know why but I was actually glad I came back to Munich. It was good weather and I walked around and saw a lot of things that we didn’t even come close to last time.

IMGP0752 I saw the typical things like the Glockenspiel (which could do with a tune) and the former palace and what not. I also went and explored the english garden (pretty much a forest with lots of streams and rivers all over the place). The highlight for me was see these guys surfing on the river. I had heard about it and couldn’t fathom how they’d actually do it I didn’t think the water would flow fast enough in a river to make any sort of wave. Well this is one fast flowing river plus they’ve put a concrete sandbank under the water to create this constant wave effect. It works pretty well. The surfers just hop on out there and can surf back and forth. Not much room for tricks but its cool none the less.

So after lots of walking I went back to the hostel for for a bit. I had planned to go back out and see a few other things but ended up falling asleep for most of the afternoon.

The following day I took the train out to Fussen which is the closest town with a train station to the castles at Hohenschwangau. This is where the Neuschwanstein castle is. The one that inspired the castle at Disneyland. This area was one of the most scenic and picturesque places I’ve been too. Something straight out of a postcard. Everything is so green and lush, all set to a striking background of towering mountains, rolling hills, and the sweet smell of cow manure. Seriously you could not escape it.

IMGP0788 There are two castles perched on opposite hills just above the Hohenschwangau village. You can see them individually or you can get a ticket that covers both of them. I decided to see both. Might as well since I’m here. The only way to see the castles is by guided tour and when you buy your tickets they slot you into the next available tour for your chosen language. I had an hour wait for the first tour at the Hohenschwangau castle. You need to make your own way up to the castles in time for you tour. It was supposed to be about a 20 min walk up to Hohenschwangau but I think I made it up there in about 5 mins. That gave me the opportunity to have a look around the grounds and take in the view before my tour started.

The inside of the castle is very different to the others that I have been too. The paintings are all painted directly on the walls for one. The rooms were relatively small but still very elaborate with gold plated this and that.

I then headed back down to the village to make my way to the next castle. The Neuschwanstein. This is the one I came to see. The castle was never actually completed. King Ludwig II died suddenly at the age of 40 and they ceased construction immediately upon his death. Strangely though the castle was opened to the public only 6 weeks after he died. Ludwig II liked to spend the country’s money on expensive castles so I suppose they thought it would be a good way to get it back.

IMGP0833 Neuschwanstein was very impressive. Up close its just as you would expect like something straight out of a fairy tale. The only external feature that wasn’t completed was a chapel in the courtyard. Inside only 16 out of 120 of the rooms were completed and the king only lived in the castle for around 5 months or so before he died. The rooms that were completed were outstanding. The murals, the huge chandeliers, everything was big and grand and you can only imagine what the completed castle would have been like. The most impressive room was the Music Hall. They still use it for small concerts and apparently the acoustics are extremely good.

After leaving the castle I walked up to Mary’s Bridge which over looks the castle. By that time it had become a little windy and had started to rain a little bit. The bridge, although made of iron, had wooden board making up the walkway. I’m not afraid of heights but I’m not so comfortable with falling to my untimely death. These boards had a fair bit of give in them, and with the amount of people up there with you does not fill you with confidence. It took some photos and then carefully made my way back to solid ground then hiked down the hill to catch the bus back to Fussen.

It was a very memorable day and I’m glad I made the effort to venture out there. The scenery was entirely different to what I had seen of europe so far and the sort of stuff you imagine when you think of europe.

Tomorrow I’m heading to Salzburg for a short stop over before making the long trek to Budapest. The end is getting nearer. I hope no one is squatting in my apartment.

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2 Responses to Day 26 & 27 – Munich & The Crazy King’s Castles

  1. Matt B says:

    Yay! I’ve caught up! You’re nearly home, and I’ve gotten through them all. I’m very disappointed to see you didn’t test out the acoustics in Neuschwanstein by singing “It’s A Small World After All”. Very appropriate. Hope you’re enjoying Hungary. The language is very messed up. In the event that you need to communicate in Magyar, here’s some important phrases.

    Hello: Jo napot kivanok
    How are you?: Hogy vagy?
    My name is Matthew: A nevem Matthew.
    Where’s the toilet?: Hol van a mosdo?
    This lady will pay for everything: Ez az holgy fog mindent kifizetni
    My hovercraft is full of eels: A legparnas hajom tele van angolnakkal

    Hope you’re having fun!

    Matt.

    • Mat says:

      Ha! Shame I wasn’t up to date with my posts. I’m running about 3 days behind! Sshh! Don’t tell anyone! 😉

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