Joern and I had a fun few days last week during my Pentecost Break. Since I've been moping about lately that I want to go somewhere, Joern was wonderful enough to suggest that at least we go somewhere nice in his new district for a few days.
Joern's company recently merged with Hela Kechup company. When the merge occured, the salesforce was also redistricted. Joern's former region was from Stuttgart southwest to the border of France, and south to Switzerland and Lake Constance. His new region now is from Stuttgart south again to Switzerland, and now, east into Bavaria. A large part of his new region lies in Allgäu, Alpine region of Germany.
Allgäu is known for the Alps, rolling fields, and dairy production, all of which make me happy.
One of the standout tourist attractions found in Allgäu is Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle was built in the 1860s, and largely designed by King Ludwig II who earned himself a reputation as the "Crazy King." Sadly, it seems like the details of his life and death are fuzzy, and seems more that propaganda turned to reputation, and his life was rather tragic.
From the town center in Hohenschwangau, the castle is only accessible via bus, hike, or horse and carriage ride. Well, we're not hikers, and obviously not romantics, so we ended up taking the bus, which was okay, and probably much quicker than the horse and carriage.
From the bus stop, one can walk up a small hill to a bridge, which, according to the book has a lovely view of the castle. Of course, being married to Joern, means that I had to trapse through all the toursits out onto the bridge. The bridge is actually over this huge ravine. It was quite windy up there, and with tons of tourists on the bridge, it wasn't the best experience. BUT, then I looked out over the rail of the bridge to see this:
Well worth the elbows, the shoves, and even the crazy windblown hair that resulted from the visit to the bridge.
The castle, which is supposed to have been the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle in Disneyland, was designed as a tribute to Richard Wagner, a favorite composer of Ludwig.
The castle is, of course, a tribute to oppulence, and is over the top in many respects. It is also incredibly creative in design and technology, utilizing water pressure from the mountains to give the entire castle running water, a remarkable kitchen, and central heating.
Sadly, the king's untimely, and quite mysterious, passing left the castle unfinished. What stands is surely impacting, and awe-inspiring.
Each room is devoted to a scene from one of Wagner's operas, or an entire opera itself. My favorite room had to be the grotto, an artificial stalactite cave.
Sadly, for my reades, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the castle, so you'll have to settle with the exterior. Not so bad either!
The view from the castle is also insanely incredible.
Including, the bridge, and the Pollät Gorge below- yikes, I didn't realize it was this high at the time!
And, from the windows of the castle, you can look down onto the boyhood home of King Ludwig II, Hohenschwangau Castle.
The town Hohenschwangau was typically Germanish touristy, but cute too. I loved the horses, especially the one we saw with the crazy hair, and the hotel near the base of the castle.
That night, after visiting the castle, we headed off to Scheidegg, a town with a beautiful view of the Alps, quite close to the Austrian border. We stayed in a guest house that was fine for our purposes. Most exciting was that from the balcony, you could see Lake Constance.
When Joern asked for dinner recommendations at the guesthouse, we got two that weren't too exciting, both in the center of town. Joern then asked for a restaurant with a view, so the owner suggested a restaurant called "Fünfländereck," or "Five Country Corner." We were lucky that the weather had held out all day, because the restaurant had a beautiful terrace from which you could enjoy the view.