Monday, May 5, 2014

Kempten and Fussen

I have returned safely to Werne from a weekend of travel.  We accomplished a lot in 4 days.  I am going to make two different posts to help organize my thoughts.  I was very stressed about the train travel, and I knew I would be.  I was constantly anxious about making the next train in time.  We left Wednesday at 4:00 on the way to Kempten.  The family friend, Rainer, lives there and we were going to stay with him for a night before continuing to Fussen.  Our high speed train got up to 290 km/hr at some times.  There was bad weather, however, so we were delayed and missed the next transfer.  I was very stressed, but thankfully we were able to catch another train to Kempten that left an hour later.  We got to Kempten at 11:30pm.  Rainer is approximately 50 years old and lives alone.  He picked us up at the station and brought us to his house.  He is very nice.  He gave us a place to sleep and breakfast in the morning.  What we did not expect was his offer to tour us around Kempten.  Kempten is the supposedly the oldest town in Germany.  We were able to see some very old buildings and churches.  Part of one building was from the 1200s.  I cannot wrap my mind around the age - it was built 500 years before America even became a country.  Then he brought us to the train station for our train to Fussen, but he surprised us again when he insisted on driving us to Fussen.  So we all piled in his car (it was only meant for 5 people so we had 4 smushed in the back) and went to Fussen.  I went on the Autobahn to Munster on Tuesday, but this time Rainer drove faster.  We got up to 205 km/hr.  We arrived at our hotel around 11.  We were going to stow our bags before touring the town, but Rainer surprised us again by offering to stay and hike with us.  I highly doubt we would have been able to find this hike without him.  The hike started at the foot of the alps and followed a stream up the mountain and around Neuschwanstein.  A portion of the hike was a sort of bridge sticking out from the rock over the water.

At the end of the hike we were able to go on the famous Marienbrucke bridge that overlooks Neuschwanstein.  The view was unreal.  The bridge was very high over the waterfall.  It was fairly crowded because this was a holiday weekend in Germany.  We spent a good amount of time on the hike taking pictures.  It was a pretty day.  We also were able to drink some of the Alpine water from the stream.  When we got back to the car, something was mentioned about Austria, so Rainer surprised us again and offered to take us to Austria.  So for the next few hours we got a private car tour through the Austrian Alps.  We stopped at the Plansee overlooking the mountains to eat lunch.  I had some delicious Mac and Cheese there.  We also stopped in a small village that reminded me a lot of Gatlinburg between the Smokies (only this was between the Alps and much better).  Rainer did not head home until around 6 that night.  That evening we settled in the hotel and ate at a local pub.

The next day (Friday) we got up early to take a bus up to the castles.  We were able to reserve tickets through the hotel and it is a good thing we did because the ticket line was forever long.  The weather was not as pretty today.  I am sure we could not see many mountains because the clouds were so low.  We took time to browse in the tourist shops and walk around the smaller castle (Howenschwangau) that King Ludwig lived in as a boy.  Our tour of Neuschwanstein was at 1:00.  Although the inside of the castle was very impressive, it was actually a lot smaller than it looks from the outside.  There were tours coming through every 5 minutes, so we could only stay in each room for a very short time.  Pictures in the castle were not allowed, so I wish I had more time to study the artwork and designs.  Every inch of every wall and ceiling was covered in the decoration.  We saw the throne room, bedroom, living room, and ballroom.  King Ludwig was probably religious because he had his own private chapel near the bedroom.  He also liked operas because many of the wall paintings depicted operas.  The king only lived there for less than 200 days before he died.  The 2nd floor of the castle was never finished (the other rooms were on the 3rd and 4th floors) so now they have a shop and restaurant there.  This was the only place we could take pictures in the castle.  This is a view from the balcony of the castle - you can see the mountains, a city on the right (probably Fussen), and his yellow boyhood castle on the left side hill.

After finishing the tour we left for Munich that afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment