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Friday, September 16, 2011

Füssen and Hohenschwangau, Germany

Me overlooking Neuschwanstein Castle

This year's annual trip to Oktoberfest started with a flight to Zurich, Switzerland on September 15. Jonathan and I flew with our friends Rachel and Keith to Zurich, where they rented a car and drove through Austria to Germany--a gorgeous ride through the beautiful countryside.

On the ride from Zurich to Füssen
We arrived in Füssen, Germany, checked Rachel and Keith into their hotel, and I did a bit of walking around to see the town.

We hit the ground running and drove to Hohenschwangau, near Füssen, to see the Castles of the Bavarian King Ludwig II.  Hohenschwangau had been the "summer castle" in which King Ludwig had grown up in, and from where he watched the construction of his famous castle, Neuschwanstein for 17 years.

We toured the interior of Hohenschwangau Castle. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed. It was interesting, however, that the Queen had her own floor, the King his own floor, and there was a hidden stairwell connecting their two bedrooms, his directly on top of hers.

From the castle, there were wonderful views of the lake, Schwansee, which borders Hohenschwangau. The lake is so blue!

Jonathan and his signature pose over Schwansee

After touring the castle, we stopped in the village for some lunch and some beers at Bräustüberl. I had a nice bratwurst and a helles beer.

Village below the castle. Yellow building is where the lunch and beers were purchased.

A dunkel, a helles, and a weissbier under Schloss Hohenschwangau
After lunch, we hiked up to Castle Neuschwanstein. King Ludwig lived in this castle for only 172 days before being deposed and his mysterious death. The interior was not fully completed.

We walked first to the Castle (about a 20 minute walk -- all uphill, then around the castle on a hike which led us to a bridge called Marienbrücke, which spans the Pöllat gorge, overlooking a waterfall that is almost 100 yards tall.

Neuswanstein Castle from Bridge Marienbrücke
Waterfall far below the bridge

After a gorgeous day visiting the castles, we hiked back down, drove back into Füssen, then Jonathan and I took the 7:05 train to Munich to begin the Oktoberfest adventure.

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