Part 4: Neuschwanstein Castle

Day 1- A White Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Started Christmas Day in Nurnberg, ending it in Schwangau, looking up at the beautiful Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Two trains-leaving drizzly Nuremberg for Sunny Munich and then onto Fussen, passing snow covered roofs and fields with the mountains ahead of us. It was a beautiful site, with the blue sky above and the sun making the snow sparkle.

I decided to walk to the hotel from the Fussen HBF as google maps said it was a straight forward walk…..google maps lied and continued to re-direct me as it couldn’t decide where I was.. Phone died, tripped and wacked my knee on ice, so I legged it back to the train station to get a taxi. Why didn’t I just suck it up and pay the euros for a taxi to begin with?!

From the Hotel there is a view of the castle so I took to the path and walked in that direction. I was filled with pure childlike joy to be surrounded by so much snow, views of the mountains and castles, all catching the last rays of the day. My first white Christmas! It was magical!

Christmas dinner for one in the hotel restaurant was a salad, gluhwein, bratwurst mit sauerkraut und kartoffle and a brownie to finish it all off. Typical Christmas Day food coma!

Day 2- A Fairytale Castle

Up early for the buffet breakfast at the Hotel to fuel up ahead of a day filled with hiking through the snow to see the fairy tale castle, Schloss Neuschwanstein. I walked through a winter wonderland to Hohenschwangau, the base of the mountain that Neuschwanstein perches. It was a steep walk up to the castle but the views along the way were amazing, taking my breath away (the climb could have had something to do with that due to the lack of fitness whilst traveling).

I chose not to do a tour of the inside of the castle but spend the day photographing (can’t take photos inside anyways and end up spending a lot of time waiting around). The best views of the castle are from a bridge, spanning a valley between two of the mountains, over a great waterfall. Every path I saw said the bridge was closed and a lot of these paths were blocked off too. This didn’t stop me, nor did it stop others. Photographers, we do crazy things to get that shot. It involved ignoring signs, hiking up the mountain along ice slab paths and through snow. I jumped the fence with some others and we slowly edged our way along the bridge, to take in the sight of the magical fairytale castle. Unfortunately being winter, the sun would never hit the castle during the day, but I’m still pleased with the photos I took.

A friend had told me of a further view point past the bridge. So I hiked and climbed (hands and knees, pulling myself up by roots), through snow and ice again, up to a perch on top of a cliff to photograph the castle from a higher vantage point. It was so peaceful. I eventually started to lose feeling in my toes so, carefully, I climbed/slid down on my butt, and made my way back down to the bridge.

I thought the trek up to the bridge was hard….going down was even tougher! So very icy and slippery. At one point I fell (I fell a lot this day actually) and landed on my left hip and thigh, sliding down the ice slab a couple of meters before I could get my hands gripping in to stop me. Ouch! I’m definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow! I made it back to the base of the mountain in one piece. I briefly checked out the other castle, Schloss Hohenschwangau and then wandered partly around Lake Alpsee, which was crystal clear in the sun and surrounded by snow covered mountains. Absolutely breath-taking sight!

I warmed up with Goulash soup before heading into Schwangau, via a longer route back to the hotel so that I could enjoy more of views of the snow and the mountains.

An Absolutely Magical White Christmas!

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