So on the third day of crazy adventure we left Colmar first thing in the morning (fortunately we found a bakery that was open so we could stuff our face with french pastries on our way out of town). Next stop – Garmisch. But with a few stops on the way. We got the car packed up, which I am sure was a sight to see. We only stayed 2 nights in Colmar but we had 2 weeks worth of luggage with us. I am sure people thought us a bit strange.
Aaaand we were off! And what a beautiful drive it was. Our destination before settling in at out hotel in Grmisch for the night was Neuschwanstein Castle. So we drove from Colmar, France back into Germany and through Feiburg and then commenced skirting the Swiss border that we may or may not have crossed on accident… without a vignette… I think this was our favorite drive from the whole trip. It was our first introduction to the alps and it was amazing! We made quite a few side of the road illegal pit stops just to take photos.
None of which do the mountains justice.
We also got to skirt around Lake Obersee for some time. Again – We made a LOT of pit stops.
(The Mom is butting in just a minute: I believe we’re on the German side and the other side of the lake you see in the photos is Switzerland. Horses are Paige’s happy place and water is mine, can you tell by the smile? Had to stop…On the other side of the road was an interesting cemetery and experienced the first time seeing a double bus, not a two story bus, but a bus hitched to another bus. HUGE, this thing was huge.)
So I guess that means I have to show you guys the bus:
But here are some prettier pictures., you know, with me in them!
This is definitely somewhere I want to go back and spend more time than just driving through. The lake is beautiful.
(Mom: Me too, for a few days, not just one.)
But we kept going and kept stopping.
(Mom: Stopping here was a must. If you look very close at the bottom right of the ‘V’ in the mountain, you’ll see a statue of an ELK, or a deer maybe?)
This was such a cool spot. I wish I could tell you where we were, but we didn’t even know – maybe someone recognizes it? We went through a lot of switch backs up and down mountains and spent our share of time on curvy back roads. I have to say, these are my favorite to drive. You get to see so much more than just powering through on the autobahn. I am half tempted to use the motorcycle option on the GPS to choose back roads. If you haven’t figured out yet; mom and I are NOT afraid of spending some time in the seat of a car.
After many side adventures, stops, and… detours to Switzerland… we made it to Neuschwanstein.
We got parked and figured out where we needed to go after talking to a friendly Italian man who was running the parking lot. And so began our walk.
For anyone else looking to make the trip and don’t have any help, once you park you walk up out of the parking area and make a right (just go uphill). You will eventually get the the ticket building on your right. In most cases there will be a line that snakes out to the road. We somehow got incredibly lucky and there was NO line. So we walked right in and purchased our tickets. From here we decided we wanted to take the horse and carriage ride up the rest of the way. Is it bad I might have been more excited about this than anything else?
Yeah… I liked the horses. But if you want to do this, it is not clearly marked. More than likely there will just be a random line formed in front of a gift shop a little way up the hill from the ticket building. If not, form a line… in front of the gift shop… a little way up the hill from the ticket building. And as I had to teach the mom after we let many people cut in line in front of us…when in Germany and in a line, you stand as close to the person in line in front of you as possible. Or else you will be considered not in line – as mom was. She now gets in line like a German – watch out Fletcher, NC grocery store lines, its about to get a little bit uncomfortable.
Well, as you can see from my storie video, photos, and previous statements – we thoroughly enjoyed our ride up. When you get dropped off though, there is still some walking to do – yeah you heard me, even with the horse and carriage ride, there is still quite a bit of walking to be done.
Just before you are about to arrive at the castle gate there is a viewing platform you can walk out to to look not only at the front of the castle but also out into the valley below. Plus there is another little gift shop with food and drink! So of course I introduced the Mom to apfelsaft and cheese pretzels.
But before we went into the castle for our tour we decided to go ahead and make the hike out to Mary’s Bridge.
I have to say we both agreed this was even better than going inside. It is such an amazing view of the castle and the mountains. Yes, it is a bit of a trek, but do it! If you go to the castle and miss the bridge, you missed out! And for goodness sake please walk out onto the bridge. Don’t get all the way up there and take a few steps, a snap shot and leave. Go all the way across and get the full view. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to look down – the waterfalls are fantastic.
(Mom again: Well…Paige is right, go out there, and IF you are the least bit overwhelmed by heights, do it anyway, I DID. I might as well say, I think Paige ran out there as I was taking my frightened baby-step onto the first WOODEN, yes, wooden plank on the bridge. First of all, this bridge in like a mile above that waterfall you see below. Look at that black and white photo above of the bridge and how high it is and all the jagged rocks below. I couldn’t believe I was walking out onto this bridge with about 50 other strangers and on wooden planks.) I made it out holding onto the rail the whole way, baby steps all the way and very aware of what those strangers were doing around me. Once out there, this was my favorite view of all. DO IT 🙂
For anyone who goes to the bridge. Please… please watch your step and your elbows. I will say I was surprised at how outright rude people were. We are all out on a narrow bridge rather high up, you would think people would at least not shove like a bunch of children right? Well just before heading back down someone stomped on my foot with the heal of a stiletto taking half a toenail with them (I had on sandals because it was HOT). I let out a very loud OOOW and a get off and it took every ounce of self control I could muster to not push with everything I had. And the sad thing of it is no one even batted an eye or noticed it happened. So pay attention to your surroundings people!
(Mom again: DO IT EVEN THOUGH PAIGE TOLD YOU THIS STORY, hehe)
From the bridge we made our way back down to the castle and wandered around the grounds waiting for our tour time.
We got tickets for the English tour, so we did have to wait quite a while, but this is what gave us time to walk to the bridge before our tour instead of after. So it all worked out in the end. The tour begins just inside the castle and you learn that the castle is, in fact, unfinished inside. Only some of the floors were finished and furnished. The rest is now used as offices, the gift store, and a cafe. While the tour was fun to see it was definitely not the highlight. We agreed that it would have been worth the trip just to walk around the grounds and to Mary’s Bridge. The inside was at the bottom of the list and also the most expensive. So while it is not necessarily disappointing, it is definitely not necessary; especially if you have been to or plan to go to any of the other castles and palaces in Germany. I later went back with Billy’s parents and we skipped the inside tour and everyone was thrilled with what they got to see and did not feel like they missed out in the least.
(Mom: I have to say though, we posed a lot of questions to the tour guide and learned lots. Ludwig II was sometimes called the Swan King because of his fascination with swans and that was apparent in the castle. This castle was 1 of 4 I think and it was not finished because he perished before it was complete. His death was called, mysterious which of course evoked questions from Paige and I. We were told, Ludwig traveled and visited a doctor, which told him he was crazy and during a walk later, he never returned. Paige and I said, ‘murder’ and after reading later I rest my case.)
We somehow missed the horse and carriage ride back down and ended up having to walk. The walk down is not bad at all, not to mention the heat had subsided also. But I would not have wanted to walk up.
We got back to our car and stuffed our faces with snacks – we were both starving – got our Garmisch hotel address punched into the GPS and got back on the road.
(Mom: Not before we stopped the car right out of the parking lot and fluttered around the tall grass in the field below the castle and heard the little girls giggling and cursing in German on their skateboards. Gorgeous view by the way. Paige, post one of those photos.)
I guess thats my Q.
Tired and hungry we made it to our hotel in Garmisch – Zur Schönen Aussicht Hotel garni. When we pulled up and all the doors were locked with no one in sight, we might have panicked briefly. Who can blame us, sleep deprived and starving?
(Mom: Right, at this point I cannot be blamed for overeating.)
Fortunately a couple walked up after we had sat in the car for a few minutes and let us know we had to press a button that called the owner and she gave us a code to a different box that contained the key to the building and our room. Crises averted! Although it was weird checking into a hotel without ever seeing anyone face to face.
We got unloaded and checked out the room (which was awesome) before getting back into the car in a sudden downpour that had come out of no where to head out and find some fast food.
(The hotel was at the top of a mountain that was on a small road that had been patched so many times it was like riding on a double layer cobblestone road. The view at the top was incredible.)
While we both wanted a good meal, we were too exhausted to think about sitting in a restaurant. So we picked up some food and took it back to the room were we had dinner in bed before crashing for the night. We needed some good sleep to prep for the big hike that would be Day 4!
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