Remember how I said this was the most disappointing day of the trip? And I’m sure after you read the last entry about Dinkelsbuhl and Donauworth, you are thinking, “Oh, that doesn’t seem so bad!” Well, it’s true. Because this is where it all went wrong. We sped down the Autobahn until we got closer to Fussen. The scenery was incredible.
But I kept waiting for the mountains. We were driving into a little something called the Alps. Now, I am no stranger to majestic mountains. I do live in the shadows of the great Rockies, but I was really looking forward to seeing the Alps again. Fussen is almost directly over the mountains from where I studied in Innsbruck, and I used to love staring at these mountains every day while I waited for the bus.
I kept waiting for the Alps to rise up ahead of me, but the fog was so thick that we were in Hohenschwangau before I even realized it. I never did see the Alps. We got in line for tickets to tour Neuschwanstein. It was around 1 pm, but the earliest time we could get tickets for touring the castle was 5 pm. Of course, we should have bought tickets online in advance, but I guess I didn’t realize how busy it would be in September. Lesson learned.
Since we still had the Alpenstrasse to drive and possibly the beautiful lakeside town of Lindau to visit, we didn’t want to waste 4 hours just waiting for a chance to tour Neuschwanstein. It looks amazing, of course, but we had already visited some chateaux and we basically just had to make a tough decision. We did want to look around, though. Even without going inside either castle, we could at least enjoy the scenery.
We took the bus up to Queen Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrucke) for a view of the castle. The bus was stuffed full of people, but we were lucky to have gotten some seats because it wound up and up and up the mountainside at quite a fast speed for a bus full of people. It was a little stomach-turning, to be honest. Once we got off the bus, we had to hike just a little up to the bridge. We were in the thick of the fog there, but it turned the forest into an enchanted one.
However, it didn’t bode well for our view from Marienbrucke. In fact, standing on the bridge – hundreds of feet (maybe) across a waterfall – was perhaps one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. The wood was soft from all the fog and mist and there were tons of people crowded onto it. I was so worried that it would give way at any time. And it wouldn’t have even been worth it because the view was so obscured by the fog.
And here I was worried about the scaffolding ruining the view. (In case you’re not sure what Neuschwanstein Castle looks like, it’s the fairytale castle built by Mad King Ludwig — here’s a Google image search for you.) Oh well. It might not have been what I wanted it to be, but not everyone gets to see Neuschwanstein in the fog, right? And it was pretty.
We walked back down to the village after checking out the castle and headed on our way. I still had the Alpenstrasse to drive – all those scenic vistas!
But that’s as far as we got – about 2 miles down the road. It started raining. My throat and head were killing me. It was still foggy, and we were losing the light. I had to admit defeat, and I was seriously ready to just get to the hotel and fall asleep.
So I know… certainly not the worst day ever, but it was just so disappointing because I had looked forward to traveling through the Alps for months. I guess I’ll have to go back another day.