Castles in the Rain

I got up early (have I mentioned it gets light around 4am?) on Sunday morning . Long before anyone else. So to give them all a break I decided to go down to the lobby and take some pictures. The weather looked like it was clearing off and the pictures were coming out very nice. So I went back to our room. They were still asleep. I went down to the "computer room" and bought 1 hour of time. When I was done I checked on the family and they were still asleep. I went down to the breakfast bar and ate. Needless to say, I was starting to get antsy. When I was done - 9am - I returned to the room to find everyone up and STARTING to get ready for the day. Of course, now THEY needed to eat breakfast! I took more pictures.

Finally, around 10ish we got going. Now understand, in order to not annoy each other by being over-bearing, all four of us are "decision averse." That is, no one wants to really make a final, "Let's do it!" decision in case someone else gets annoyed. Obviously this attitude makes for great relations but slow decision making. After much discussion, we finally decided that we wanted to go see Schloss Neuschwanstein (the Disney Castle) because it looked like the weather was breaking. After more discussion, we decided to take the route that would run us through Austria instead of staying in Germany the whole time.

To make a long story short, the view from the car was supposedly beautiful but I didn't see much. This was mainly due to the facts that 1) my back was bothering me when I got up so I took a "back pill" and 2) I had gotten up at 6am and had only had 5.5 hours of sleep. Needless to say I zonked out in the car. They tell me we got caught in traffic because of an accident and the entire drive took close to two hours. So sometime after noon we finally arrived.

Expecting to walk right up to the castle and start exploring we were in for a big surprise. It's like a small town below the castle including hotels, restaurants transportation and such. We had to find parking, a WC (toilette for you US readers) and the line to buy tickets. I didn't realize there were two castles on the property (one for "mad" King Ludwig and Hohenschwangau built by his parents). We finally got in a line that we assumed was for tickets - remember, none of us speak much of the German language and while there are some signs in English, not all of them are particularly helpful. And we waited. For your enjoyment, here is a picture of a bored nephew.

We finally got to the front of the line and received tickets for the 5:10pm tour conducted in English - "oh, and by the way, if you want to avoid the 40 minute walk up the winding road to the castle, buy tickets for the bus over there!" Since we had 3 hours to kill we decided to eat lunch and look around. We got our table (outside of course) and it started raining. We moved to a table that was under a large umbrella/awning thing. It was then that we noticed that the line for the bus tickets was particularly long. We tried to eat quickly and then got in line for the bus.

The bus ride took less than 5 minutes and dropped us off at a spot that still required a 15 minute walk up the hill. In the rain/drizzle/mist. Carlos and Kendall went one direction to get pictures from a catwalk above the castle while the rest of us walked around and up, and up, and up. Once we got to the Castle entrance we found that we still had a 50 minute wait - mostly in the rain.

Finally, things dried up a bit and Carlos and I were able to get several decent pictures around the courtyard. At long last our group was queued up and we went through the castle. While there the weather cleared a bit and I was able to get a couple of decent shots from inside looking out (you can't photograph the interior).

As we finished and started to make the long trek back (20 minutes going downhill instead of 40+ going uphill - assuming you go in the right direction to begin with!) what should happen? It started raining! While the entire day wasn't a washout the rain did put a bit of a damper on things. We ended up getting back to Garmisch sometime around 9:30pm and finished the day eating McDonald's hamburgers. This last shot is of Diane, Michelle & Ethan and way up front Carlos & Kendall as we walked down the hill. This was one of the more level spots.


Sandra said...

Suggestion - I, like you, am an early early riser! If I know that I need to be well rested for the next day, I will take a Tylenol PM, which does two things - helps out with some body aches and pains, and helps to stay asleep longer. It does not help me to fall asleep, but helps me to stay asleep. Not "addictive" (unlike brownie bites from Costco).

cb said...

Sandra, I'm so glad you are still reading this! I feel like for the most part I'm just blabbering but it's nice to know that at least 2 people (you and my mom) are watching! I have not found the perfect postcard for you yet but don't worry, I'm keeping my eyes open!

Thanks for the idea on the Tylenol PM. I always seem to forget about that trick.