Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein

The day after we arrived in Füssen, we went to see our first Ludwig castle, Hohenschwangau.

We decided to take the horse-drawn carriage up to the castle. Marion and I sat in the front seat so she had a better view of the horses. It turned out to be a better view of the horse's behinds but she didn't mind. Even when one of the horses had gas and the other one had to go "poopies". No, no, no- that made the ride that much enjoyable... for Marion. Oh the enjoyment of a toddler in the middle of potty training.

Anyway, it was a short trip up the hill and we quickly arrived at the castle.

We followed the rest of the tourists up the path and found the waiting area. Since we were fairly early for our tour, we walked around the grounds. The castle had lovely gardens, fountains, and the views were spectacular.

Everyone enjoyed exploring, except for Marion.

Marion recently became obsessed with princesses. One of the movies that helped her cultivate this obsession was Enchanted. And one of the first things Giselle does in the movie is go to the castle to get married.

Marion knew we were at a castle. And all she wanted to do was go inside to go get married to a prince. So she let everyone know it. I wouldn't necessarily classify her behavior as a tantrum, just very, very determined to go get married. And darn it, Mommy wouldn't let her. I'm so mean.

So she wasn't very happy with me.
Finally it was almost time to go inside. Seeing how I am pregnant, Colleen carried Marion on the tour. You can tell Marion is happy to at least be making progress towards going into the castle (to go get married).
No pictures were allowed inside the tour. Not that this rule mattered. Marion was a chatterbox the entire time so I was busy feeding her peanut M&M's to try and keep the peace. But I did pick up a few things.

First, everything in the castle was original and everything that we saw was in incredible condition. The paintings on the walls had been directly painted on the plaster and had never been restored. They looked fairly new they were in such great condition. There were ceramic "boxes" to give off heat but the wood was not brought into the royal rooms. Instead these boxes extended to the first floor where the servants would maintain the fire and the hot air would rise. Finally, King Ludwig and his brother Otto stayed in the Annex with their teachers.

So despite Marion gabbing about getting married and me shoving chocolate down her throat, I did learn something. :-) And Colleen got some lovely little chocolate chunks on the back of her jacket. Sorry, Mars, those little shells melt in my toddler's hands.

After our tour, we decided to take the carriage back down the hill. While we were watiting, Colleen and Marion marched along the path in some water.
And then I realized something. We were waiting where the horses stopped and there was a hose next to the path. Hmmm, could that water be poopy water? Hell yes it was, but I didn't let that ruin their fun.

We headed back to our hotel to grab some lunch and rest during Marion's nap. Then, after her nap, we headed out to explore Füssen.
I forgot Marion's stroller and she was running around hogwild so I bribed her with some chocolate ice cream.

Hey, I like to keep the peace when we are traveling and around other people. And she's two, she doesn't quite get reasoning talks just yet.

For dinner we found a traditional Bavarian restaurant. I'm not really a fan of traditional German food (or maybe baby 2.0 isn't?), but my pork and noodles were pretty good. Even the sauerkraut smelled good. Weird.

On Tuesday we went to Neuschwanstein Castle. We decided to take the horse-drawn carriage again since Neuschwanstein is farther away from the ticket area than Hohenschwangau is.

Our horses for the day were Philip (L) and Mona (R).
Philip had some gas problems but was finally able to relieve himself about halfway through the trip. Mona let loose much earlier. And these horses gave you the full view by lifting their tail alllllllllll the way up. This pair was definitely not as modest as the horses the day before. Marion loved every minute of it. And we were able to have a quick science lesson during our trip: Everyone poops. So now, everytime we see an animal on a trip or at a farm, Marion yells "Goats go poopy!!!"

Unfortunately my camera battery died on the trip up to the castle. Can you believe it? What horrible luck. I had forgotten to charge the battery the night before because I felt sick. However, I was able to get a picture of the castle the day before from Hohenschwangau.

Neuschwanstein Castle was much bigger and grander than Hohenschwangau. But I preferred Hohenschwangau because of the grounds. Neuschwanstein had stone courtyards and just seemed cold to me.

However, the inside of Neuschwanstein was spectactular. Seriously, I can see how King Ludwig spent as much money as he did. Everything is incredibly detailed and elaborate. Very over the top. One room in the King's private area is a fake cave, complete with colored stalagmites and stalactites. But the tour moves incredibly fast. Our tour guide had started speaking before we were able to join her in the next room sometimes. I wish we had had more time to look around.

Sadly, my favorite part of the tour had nothing to do with the castle. Colleen carried Marion again and, at one point, Marion peed. Colleen, feeling the warmth, immediately suspected that Marion had leaked her diaper and peed on her. It was hilarious. Having been peed on many times, I am used to it. But Aunt Colleen was not used to this and spent half the tour with a frown on her face thinking her back was covered with pee. Okay, so it obviously wasn't hilarious to Colleen. But I got a chuckle out of it.

After the tour we headed back down the hill in another carriage, this time sitting in the back. Then we had lunch at one of the restaurants near the ticket center. And I wish I could remember the name of it because the pumpkin soup was fantastic!!!!

Then it was back to the hotel for nap time. The rest of the evening was spent exploring some more of Füssen and then returning to the Italian restaurant for dinner. The following day we drove back home. It was a pretty short, uneventful drive after a great, sight-seeing trip!


Caitlin said...

I want to go get married in a castle too, damn it!

Hoppy said...

So much for getting pissed off instead of pissed on!! Can't imagine what the jacket smells like now. Looks like a great time, though!!

Anonymous said...




meghan REALLY loved that...LOVED it :)

Clare Lochary said...

Lucky Meghan (and other assorted Smyths)! I've always wanted to see Mad Ludwig's castle ever since I saw a PBS special about Bavaria. It looks beautiful. Hope you all are enjoying your European adventure.

Also, I went through a princess phase similar to Marion's when I was little. I informed my dad I was going to marry an English prince because a) there were no princes in America and b) I only spoke English. My dad informed me that as a Catholic, all English princes were legally prohibited from marrying me. I was SO upset, so I feel Marion's pain.

R.R.D. said...

OMG- I would love to see the castles. I studied them a bit in college. One of these days...