Sunday, December 28

Castle Hoppin' in Bavaria

What do you do with an open weekend in Germany? Well, we were going to head to Paris but then decided that the three little kiddos wouldn't think it'd be much fun walking the streets of yet another odd city in the freezing cold. So we decided on a "day trip" to see some castles. Our goal was to leave at 10am.

Hmmm, funny thing about this relocation, I have absolutely no concept of what time it is here. It is not helped by the fact that the only clock in our hotel room is on the room phone and is TINY and on what I call military time. I'm still trying to get the hang of what time it is when the clock goes past 12pm. That's serious thinking for this gal right now!

I can't stand not knowing what time it is. When Morgan wakes up to eat in the middle of the night, it kills me to not know what time it is and how many more feedings I may have to wake up for. Ryan finally went and bought a clock for us last week, but the boys keep resetting it. You'd think I'd wear a watch and I would if I could find one that didn't give me a rash with the metal touching my wrist. I should look into the cause of that sometime.

Anyhow, back to trying to leave at 10am. The castles we were going to see where 2 hours away and closed at 4pm. We ended up leaving at noon and hit traffic. I'll interject here that I had no idea where we were going or what the weather was like. That would have been helpful info given that we were headed for the Alps! My poor family and I had our coats, but left the scarves, mittens, and hats at home. Brrrrr! Click on the picture below to see all the pictures.
Hohenschwangau Castles
We were headed for Hohenschwangau. I have a love/hate relationship with our new GPS. Love not having to be Ryan's navigator while kids are screaming, but I love looking at maps while we drive places because I really like to have a feel for where we are in relation to other places. I still haven't google mapped Hohenschwangau yet, so I can't even tell ya where it is except that it's at the beginning of the Alps. Kills me to say that!

We got there an hour before everything closed up for the day but missed the chance to catch any of the tours inside either castle. Finally we decided to stay the night and try to do both castles on Saturday which turned out really well! Note that we hadn't planned to stay the night and the boys were rather confused that we were staying in our same clothes to sleep in and wear the next day. Ergh!

About the Castles:
Hohenschwangau dates back to the 12th century and the Knights of Schwangau. After the 16th century it felt into ruin. In 1832, King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought and rebuilt the "jewel of German romanticism" for use as a summer hunting retreat. His son who became King Ludwig II loved its situation and built Neuschwantstein close by. King Ludwig absolutely loved Richard Wagner's operas and dedicated this new castle to him and his operas, particularly "Swan Lake." Neuschwantstein's architecture inspired Walt Disney's creation of his Disneyland trademark castle.

Our highlights: Loved the thick hot chocolate and the boys wearing it all over their faces! No love for the hotel's shower and refused to use it - the hotel was adequate but worse than a Motel 6. Loved seeing my boys devour watermelon for breakfast at the buffet and even push aside beloved cereal! Loved the new inch of snow on everything in the morning so the castles looked like you should stop and paint them, so we took pictures! No love for the sub-freezing weather and being ill-prepared. Loved our short uphill walks to the castles and Germans overestimating the time it'd take for these walks. Loved that Morgan had to take a gander during the tour but slept for all the time we needed to be outdoors. Loved that the boys behaved really quite well during the tours. Ryan and I still needed to buy the tourist booklets to understand what we saw but missed the tour guide sharing because the boys didn't understand that the ropes were meant to keep you from touching or sitting on treasured royal antiques. Loved all the murals Bavarians have painted on their homes, buildings and all over inside these castles! WOWEE! Wished we'd brought some Motrin for our aching bodies after carrying kids all day!