Speaking of going out of my way to see a certain site, I used one of two days in Munich to go to Füssen. If there is something I did correctly, it’s using the hell out of my German train pass. Anyways, what was there to see at Füssen? Only the Sleeping Beauty castle, of course!
The castle itself, like almost anything in Germany, is easily accessible via public transportation. From Munich, it’s a 2-hour train ride into Füssen and then a quick bus jaunt to the base of the castle. The rest of the way you can choose to either walk up the gentle slope and, if you are as out of shape as I was at this point of my trip, earn your calves of steel. Or, you can opt for the more romantic medium of horse and carriage, which would’ve been felt silly to do by myself—especially since I have such a strong pair of legs that I packed just for this trip (not).
Finding your way up to the castle itself is like following a treasure map. The signs and sole road are clearly marked, so all you have left to do is unwrap your present at the top!
When you reach the castle doors, you realize that the small speck you saw at the bottom of the mountain is actually a monstrous beast of a castle—in the most elegant way, of course. It’s even more overwhelming when you’re trying to fit it in within the scope of your camera lens. I so wished the weather gave me blue skies instead of the grayscale of the day, but I couldn’t complain. After all, this was better than the castle at Disneyworld!
You have the option to purchase tickets to tour the inside of the castle for 12€, but because Ludwig II died before construction was complete, they never built more than 15 rooms in the whole castle! From what I hear, the inside leads to a glimpse of the most extravagant of 19th century lifestyles. But I was more intent on getting that magical shot from the Marienbrücke, the bridge that gives you the most exquisite panoramic views around the castle.
Normally, it would’ve been smart to check the weather conditions. In terrible weather, like when I visited, they closed off Marienbrücke. But this girl flew thousands of miles from the states and she wasn’t about to let a little metal fence get in her way of a perfect shot! After walking back and forth in front of the fence, debating my dilemma—and keeping an eye out for guards—, I made my move. Using the short brick wall beside the fence, I hoisted myself up and over, landing safely on the other side. Luckily, I had practice hopping over fences during my time in Berlin. If I’m not careful, extended time in Germany will turn me into a criminal! Quickly, in case someone did see me, I hurried off onto the trail. Later on, it became clear to me why they had fenced it off, although I wasn’t the only rebel out there. It only takes one person to break the rules before total anarchy. The trail hugged the mountain, one side falling off completely into thin air. So you can see how it was concerning when whole parts of the trail were completely covered in ice. At one point, I thought I was going to slip and hurtle off of the side of the mountain.
The anticipation that built up before I turned the corner onto the bridge was crazy. I walked shakily onto the bridge, first seeing all the professional photographers with their HUGE cameras set up with even larger tripods. And then I saw it and baby, it took my breath away.
The magic of it is definitely that it looks like it just one day emerged from the mountain beneath, like the star on top of the Christmas tree, growing naturally along the treeline. I stood there for quite some time, drinking in the sights and reveling in my time in Germany; this was one of my last stops on the trip and though I was sad that my time was up in Germany (no worries, I made myself a promise that I would one day spend at least a year living in this beautiful country), I was glad that this was the sight I ended on.
Finally, after I had my fill—though does that really ever happen with sights like these?—I slowly made my way down the slopes and back into the center of the village. But, before I left Füssen, I treated myself to one last treat: glühwein (how could I resist??) and these bits of fried powdered dough balls. And so, I sat there alone and watched the tourists milling in and out of the gift shop while breathing in the crisp, woodsy air.
Linking up with Travel Tuesdays!
Have you ever been to Neuschwanstein? What did you think?