Wednesday, October 4th, 2000 Fussen
The weather is overcast, but not raining this morning. We were both up early after a restless night and finished breakfast and were out the door before 9 am. Our plan today was to drive to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau, which are located just north of Fussen. A short twenty-minute drive, we arrived at the site and found parking up at the top near the start of the road up the mountain to Neuschwanstein; cars are not allowed to drive up the mountain. Jim was rather turned around as we came in from the South instead of from the North as we’d always done in the past. Hohenschwangau, Ludwig's father's castle, is located at the parking lot.
We’ve seen both of these castles twice, so the plan today is to hike! We walked up the road to Neuschwanstein and it was still very foggy. For those that don't want to walk there are several horse drawn wagons that you can ride on for a fee. From there we went to Marian’s Bridge, a short ten-minute walk past the castle. Normally this is a spectacular view, which we’ve never seen, of the castle. So much fog you could hardly see the stream below the bridge let alone the castle down the hill. So we decided to continue up the mountain towards Tegelbergbahm. The sign said that it was a three-hour hike. We were looking for something to kill time while we waited for the fog to lift; so we started up the hill. Tegelbergbahm is a mountain with a cable car going up. Some go up and walk down this path. A few walk up and then go down the cable car and are bussed about thirty minutes back to the castle area. This is also where the brave ones start their daredevil hang gliding…right from the top of the mountain and some from the top of the cable car!
About two hours into the hike on switch back trails mostly, but all up hill; we decided to go back to the castles. Jim had gone ahead of Martha finally and she stayed with a very nice German family; father and his two teenage daughters who spoke limited English. The father finally gave Martha his walking stick and made another for himself. It really helped and we’re going to take it home as a souvenir if there’s room at the end of the trip! It was about an hour going back down the mountain; but the fog had lifted and we had our spectacular views of the castle and the valley below. Took lots of photographs! Offered to take a photo of a Japanese couple and then they took one of us together. Then the wife asked if they could take a photo of us with her! Lots of Japanese tours in this area.
Arrived back at the car about 2 pm, ate our lunch and headed back to the hotel to rest. After a short time we walked over to the castle in town to take a look at the Local Art Gallery in the castle. Our ticket yesterday to the Monastery included this tour so decide to make use of the tickets. The best part was the Monastery Church, St. Mang; just outside the palace. It was a lot like the Church in the Meadow. All done in Bavaria Rococo style with crystal chandeliers. There was also an interesting display about a Redemption Priest who was trained in Germany but became a priest in America. He trained other priest and conducted retreats in America. They wanted him to be Bishop of Pittsburg but he turned it down. He died of Yellow Fever in New Orleans in 1867. He is now known as Blessed Franz Xaver Seelos. There have been several miracles before and since his death, which were attributed to him. Then last but not least, there is a red neon ladder outside the church on the steeple, which starts at the bottom, curves up and to the sky. Their name for it is Jacob’s Ladder! At night it lights up and is visible for miles!
Enjoyed some ice cream and sat in the shopping area listening to two young men playing their instruments. One was a lute and the other had a guitar, together they made some very beautiful music. Back at the hotel we called home to let them know we were okay and to say hello; then it was time to go to dinner. We walked to the Infooday recommended by Rick Steves. He said it was under the palace. But it was actually on Ritterstrassa, which is one block before the palace. The name of the place was WunschBuffet. You filled your plates and they weighed it to figure the price. It was 1.99 per gram for vegetables and 2.99 for hot food. Those along with German draft beer made a great last dinner in Fussen. Home to pack, wash hair and set the alarm for 7 am for an early start. It’s now 9:30 and Jim is already fast asleep. Think its time to close and read a little before lights out!