Bec – 19th October 2011
…….” my heart wants to sing every sight it sees”……
For those of you who haven’t guessed it yet… I am a Sound Of Music fanatic from way back …..and although we are in Southern Germany, not technically in Austria…..it is the alpine region that surrounds us here that is dragging my Julie Andrews spirit from its depths…making me want to run to the Alps and ‘Doe a Deer’ from the highest heights.
If you are thinking that this whole ‘Sound Of Music’ thing is a little crazy……..I have to tell you that Jamie and the kids were a little hesitant about the happiness effect of the Alps as well…..but the mood is truly infectious and the whole family has caught the Alpine bug.
Yesterday, our first full day in Fussen, Germany……was voted unanimously as the ‘best day of the trip so far’….a big call from 3 kids who were starting to murmur about missing home a couple of days ago.
Hold on to your seats ladies and gentlemen….this is going to be a huge blog…because yesterday was a HUGE day!
My first stop of the day was to the traditional German outfitters across the road from our apartment…. unfortunately Jamie could not be persuaded by me to purchase a pair of Liederhosen (I think he would of looked fantastic in leather shorts and knee high socks! – but to no avail) …..so we moved on.
Back on track we headed off to Schwangu, which is a chocolate box Bavarian village nestled at the seat of the two famous castles, which are the draw cards for this tourist area. Foster and Jamie, ever the energetic ones decided to hike up the mountain, whilst Sari, Mylo and I caught a beautiful horse drawn carriage up the steep hill…along with all the other fat, lazy people. (I only went in the carriage to accompany my minors of course!!!!!)
A 10 minute walk through an amazing, sun lit, tall forest brought us out at the entrance to Schloss Neuschwanstein (the castle). Well worth every step!
This particular castle was built by King Ludwig to overlook his parents holiday home, Schloss Hohenschwangu, which is situated by the lake below, where Ludwig spent many happy years as a child.
Neuschwanstein is dedicated to Wagner and his operas and is a totally flight of fancy…..decorated by characters from the operas such as ‘Tristan and Isolde’…… and even comes complete with an artificial cave built next to Ludwig’s bedroom. There is gold everywhere and mosaics cover the floors. The children were gobsmacked by the decoration….but more so by the mystery surrounding his death….which happened the day after he was declared mentally unfit to rule.
Ever the conspiracy theorist ……I saw straight through this poor disguise to remove a king who was….40 and unmarried…had been engaged for 10 months then cancelled the wedding ….had no children….was the best friend and constant companion of musician and composer Wagner…..was a patron of Bavarian arts, music and fashion…..and used to only entertain men in his apartments after 9pm……women were banned!
Let’s just say ……in today’s age I don’t think it would have been such a ‘mystery’.
The castle took 17 years to build and two floors were never completed, as all building work ceased after the King’s death, so it is an amazing building to walk through and see it as the king himself saw it for the last time.
Neuschwanstein is famous for other reasons….. the fantastic Disney movie featuring Dick VanDyke and a flying car that goes by the name of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang used the castle as the set in the late 60’s……along with the great acclaim that Walt Disney himself used Neuschwanstein as his personal inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle that you see in Disneyland’s all the over the globe.
Not a bad legacy, for one ‘crazy’ King’s flight of fancy.
After our tour, the family headed down the mountain…yes Mummy walked….and yes I have proof (see photo…that’s me with the blue feather in my hair!!) Stopping along the way to take in the view and the clean mountain air.
Our next stop was to the Tegelbergbahn (try saying that eight times, really quickly) Aktiv Park, which is the most wonderful outdoor activity park set right next door to the covered gondola which takes you up to the peak of the mountain at 1730m. Jamie and the children are hoping to do this activity today, weather permitting.
The Aktiv Park has a very long in ground Toboggan Slide that is 760 metres of high speed twists and turns, all done whilst seated on a plastic toboggan sled with wheels. This was high adrenaline action for adults and kids …….and we all loved it! Sari was a complete speed nut and kept wanting to go faster…..Mylo and I had a slight spill, leaning the wrong way around a turn but we recovered and Foster …….well, he just wanted to keep doing it again and again.
There was wall climbing, rock climbing, flying foxes, see saws, swings, log pulls and motorized mini motor bikes that kept us entertained till dinnertime.
It was the children’s turn to pick the restaurant for dinner and this time we had Thai. Boiled rice,crispy duck and Nasi Goreng were the order of the day.
Foster and Mylo said they couldn’t think of anything at all to make the day better.
The weather has really turned today……winter is setting in for good……the skies have been so kind to us throughout Europe and winter has really held off till now……so we can’t be pessimistic about it’s snap arrival. Boots, gloves, hats and scarves are now mandatory outside the front door and heaters have been turned on in all the shops. Our minds are turning to Gluhwein and Hot Chocolates as we pack our bags again to head to Salzburg, Austria.
Danke Fussen….it has been spectacular …x