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Füssen, DE

by dan.kronstal on November 13th, 2011
Beautiful south-German countryside

Beautiful south-German countryside

We got away from Munich just in time. During our last evening in town a soft fog rolled in, and by morning it had congealed and cooled into a decidedly unwelcoming mess. We made our escape and headed south and west, through Buchloe and on to Füssen. The ride was pleasant, but didn’t become really interesting until the last half-hour. Then we broke through the fog and emerged into blue skies overlooking some pastoral countryside composed of rolling hills, and populated by small villages. Communities were connected by winding roadways that approximately followed the rail, and forked off into the horizon, weaving through stands of trees and bridging narrow streams. It all made me wish for a motorcycle.

We arrived and walked to the address of our hostel, where we were redirected to their second location at the other side of town. After this annoying detour we got ourselves checked in, and went out for a quick look around.

Füssen altstadt

Füssen altstadt

The day was clear, but quite cold, so we were thankful that there wasn’t really much to look at in Füssen. A small altstadt, just several blocks wide, one bridge across the river, and you’re out of town already. We had dinner at an asian restaurant, which wasn’t very “local”, but we’d had a lot of sausage in the last couple of days so needed a break.

Cool bottles

Cool bottles

After dinner we spent a little more time looking around, but didn’t linger, since it was so cold out. The town is cute enough, but the thing I liked the most was one shop selling liquor, liqueur, oil, and vinegar, all from large and interestingly shaped bottles with small spigots in the bottom. You either buy a container from the shop to fill with whatever you’re after, or bring your own from home. The sight of racks and racks of mismatched bottles to tap was very appealing to me somehow.

Back at our room, we cranked the heat, but still felt quite frozen. Not until later in the evening when we headed out for a snack and drink did it feel like our room had started to pick up any warmth. I think that both of us will be quite ready for warmer weather in South America, and neither of us knows quite what to do when we get back home to Calgary, where the weather will be at least this bad, permanently.

The view we wanted

The view we wanted

Our whole reason for coming to Füssen was to check out the castles of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, Schloss Neuschwanstein (which he commissioned and designed, and built… well, mostly) and Schloss Hohenschwangau (in which he lived). In postcards both of these castles look very impressive, and the Austrian alps and German farmland can clearly be seen under fine blue skies.

The view we got

The view we got

Our first, and only, full day in Füssen was not going to provide such a view. The fog had followed us from Munich, and crept up while we slept. We would not be put off, however, and spent the day touring these castles and the small tourist village below and between them.

Main gate of Hohenschwangau

Main gate of Hohenschwangau

We had a look at Hohenshwangau first, the older of the two, built by his father in an Italian style. The tour was very good, and gave us a pretty solid look at the interior of the castle. We had taken advantage of the time between our arrival in the courtyard and the start of the tour to examine the exterior and grounds, and it was interesting to see how small the chambers and living quarters inside the walls were. It was a neat expression of the idea of “luxury”, which in Canada is expressed more in terms of square footage and yard space, and less in terms of solid-gold picture frames and dinnerware, which is what we saw here. After the tour we returned to the small “village” area below the castles, and had a snack at one of the cafe’s there before our longer walk to Neuschwanstein on the adjoining peak.

The castle is the slightly-less-white part

The castle is the slightly-less-white part

On the way to the top we passed a way-station where some folks had pulled over for a beer or a meal, but we instead had only a portion of delicious “Bavaria Donoughts”, freshly plucked from the oil and dusted with “powdersucker”. We ate as we walked, and arrived at the castle just as we finished the snack.

You can almost see the top...

You can almost see the top...

The fog was so thick We couldn’t even see the top of the towers and spires from the ground at the foot of the castle wall, but it did lend a somewhat mysterious, though not at all photogenic, atmosphere. Construction of Schloss Neuschwanstein was not completed before Ludwig II was declared “mad” and deposed, so our tour was not quite so long, and didn’t have the same “lived in” heritage (though he apparently did live there for something like 170 days).

Dinner at Ludwig's

Dinner at Ludwig's

After our tours we returned to Füssen for dinner, which was at a restaurant appropriately named “Ludwig’s”. Christina had a half-chicken with two potatoes drenched in cream and chives. My meal was an assorted platter of meats, including chicken, duck, ribs, pork meatloaf, dumpling and red saurkraut. We spent the rest of the evening journalling and drinking tea at a cafe.

The next morning was, of course, clear and blue and perfect for picture taking. But we were leaving, so had to enjoy the view from the platform of the train station. Our ride from Füssen to Heildeberg passed back north, through some of the same beautiful country as on our inbound trip. I tried to read on the train, but couldn’t tear my eyes away from those rolling hills and cute little towns.

2 Comments
  1. Mom and Dad E. permalink

    Holy Molly, guys!
    Did you finish that mound of food! Especially your portion, Dan!
    That castle indeed is the mould of Dineyland! Was that the first castle you toured or the second one?
    Ha-ha! Get used to that cold weather… Calgary weather forecast calls for a looong, cooold and nasty winter!
    Have a safe trip to Buenos Aires!

    • christina.kronstal permalink

      I think we almost did. I couldn’t fit the 2nd potato – I think I only finished half of it. The ‘Disneyland’ castle was the 2nd one we toured. It’s too bad we couldn’t really see it, but you get what you get sometimes :)

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