Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Beautiful Castle Neuschwanstein in Fussen, Germany

So I know I said earlier that I was going to skip Fussen because it was a bit of a travel from Munich...but between the time I posted that post and the day before I decided to go to Fussen, everyone, just about everyone, told me to go. So I did.

To sum up Fussen in one word: Breathtaking. I spent the entire day there and probably could have stayed longer if it weren't for the annoying two hour train ride home holding me back.

From Munich, the train to Fussen took two hours. Immediately, you could tell at the train station just how popular this destination was for tourist. The train was packed, absolutely packed. Some people had to even stand until seats opened up at other stops.

The farther we traveled away from Munich towards Fussen, the more happy I became about my decision to go to Fussen. Just looking out the window at all the smaller towns really gave you a better sense of what defines the German culture. It was also one of the rare occasions where the livestock actually looked happy, free to roam huge acres of land instead of being packed in tiny dirt pastures like they do in America.

Eventually, the train arrived in Fussen, a tiny town at the base of the famous castles. The town is nice I guess, but there really is not much to see. From Fussen, I then took a 10 minute bus to the castles. Unlike Fussen, the tiny town that houses the castles is actually a sight to behold. Excluding the obvious castles, the town is surrounded by a beautiful lake on one side and an amazing valley on the other. There, you can see two castles: the first one, the one right in town, is Hohenschwangau, King Ludwig's original home. It's yellow and nice, but in my opinion, incomparable to the second castle which is Neuschwanstein. To get to Neuschwanstein, you have many options of getting there, most of them being hikes. The hike is about 20-30 minutes and is very beautiful as you are surrounded by tons and tons of trees transitioning from green to orange. The air is very crisp and clean-smelling as well.

As you near the top, you begin to see the castle looming over you to the right. And once you are there, you can't help but stand amazed at how this huge castle was built on top of this mountain. From the top, you now have some options. Either you can enter the castle with a ticket that you purchased back in town, or continue hiking around the castle. Since I did not want to wait an hour in line for the ticket, I had no choice but to hike around the top.

You essentially have two options when hiking near Neuschwanstein: either hike down to the waterfall/river in the gorge, or hike up to Marienbrucke (Mary's bridge). I did both. Hiking down to the waterfall once again puts you deep in the forest setting where your ears are treated to the soothing sounds of a waterfall. While I was hiking down, it felt reminiscent of hiking in Yosemite. When you reach the waterfalls and river, you notice how turquoise the water is. Not blue, but turquoise. The water wasn't dirty, in fact, it was very clear. But it was turquoise. Which I suppose is fitting for such a fairytale-esque castle.

After resting a bit, I then hiked back up to the castle and then continued upwards towards the bridge. From the bridge, you have the perfect picture of Neuschwanstein. From the bridge onward, you then have the perfect picnic spot where you are treated to not only an amazing view of the castle but also of the entire valley, including the lake. To get there though, you have to have a sense of adventure and be willing to hike off path.

The last thing I did in Fussen was go down a luge track. It was quite fun. This post will be a million times better once I find a way to post picture again. Trust me on this. The pictures I took here, are ridiculous.
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