2018 Zomervakantie Day 4 – Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles

Almost 15 years ago, my husband proposed to me on a walking path overlooking Neuschwanstein Castle. Today, we took our children there! We didn’t quite make the exact spot – the girls were hot and tired, and it was very crowded with a queue to get over the bridge to walk further up the mountain. However we had a very special day visiting both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.

Both are VERY popular, and being here at the height of the tourist season meant that we hit the crowds as soon as we parked. However it’s all well organised, and my husband was smart to prebook our castle tour tickets online. We still needed to actually pick up the tickets but that queue was much shorter. In fact they warn that tours often book out so if you do plan on seeing these castles, book ahead and plan plenty of time.

We had a 10.55am tour for Hohenschwangau first, and had to pick up the tickets by 9.55am at the latest in the ticket office in the small town. This went quickly so we then spent some time hanging out at the lake.

You can take a horse and carriage ride up to both castles which did look fun, but because of queues, cost and concern for the horses working in the hot sun all day, we decided to walk. To Hohenschwangau, it took us around 20 minutes, it’s quite steep but manageable. This is the “yellow” castle and is where King Ludwig lived as a child. The tour takes around a half hour and is offered in different languages – our English guide was friendly and explained things well, he’s probably done this hundreds and hundreds of times! The facts and dates are all a bit much to absorb, but as you can only visit the castles on a tour, it’s necessary to follow along – in this castle there are around 25 per group.

Next we walked up a steeper slope to Neuschwanstein, stopping for an ice cream along the way, so it took us over half an hour. It was also one of the hottest days of the year, hitting 31 degrees.

The girls enjoyed seeing the castles but were understandably quite hot and tired, and weren’t very enthusiastic when Bas wanted to walk further to the spot overlooking the castle where we were engaged back on 24 August 2003. We headed in that direction though and he surprised me with a lovely necklace and earrings.

We discovered what I think was a mountain biking path back down to the village, and this was lovely and quiet compared to the masses of tourists on the main pathway. It’s a beautiful forrest that surrounds the castles, and there are many walking paths through this national forrest. We noticed that one of the lakes had dried up significantly but the trees were still lush and green.

Though Bas had hoped for a boat trip on the lake like we did 15 years ago, we were all too tired and headed back to our lodge for a rest. We stopped at a supermarket on the way to get some dinner and then “chilled” as the girls call it. I sat on the balcony for some time in the evening and watched satellites cross the sky, some lighting across the horizon behind the mountains, and even saw one blazing shooting star.

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