Another fabulous day.
We got up this morning – later than planned – and ate breakfast (same as the previous 2 days) very quickly before we checked out of our hotel in Munich and drove a couple of hours to see the “King’s Castles” – “Mad” King Ludwig’s Hohenschwangau (his childhood home) and Neuschwanstein (which Rick Steves says inspired Walt Disney). The drive was beautiful.
The castles are apparently one of the most touristy sites in Bavaria, and I believe it. It wasn’t overly crowded today, but I was surprised at the volume of people given how cold it is.
The map said we’d have a 20-minute walk to Hohenschwangau from the ticket area. It was definitely a slippery walk, but I don’t think it took quite that long. We toured it (unheated, of course) and then headed to Neuschwanstein, a 45-minute walk – according to the map. The cold really wasn’t too bad since the walk was mostly uphill and got my heart rate up a little (and since I was wearing long johns under my jeans, 2 pairs of socks, a long johns shirt, a sweater, a fleece jacket AND a coat, a scarf and gloves– my standard each day we’ve been here), but I wasn’t exactly excited about it when I saw that it would take 45 minutes, either. The shorter route (30 minutes) had several feet of snow piled up on it – no way. We were coming up on several hours of no heat at this point.
We stopped about halfway up and had a bratwurst from a little stand for lunch.
We started to slip and slide our way back down to our car after we toured the castle, but decided at the last minute to take a carriage down. It was no less scary – for me – because I saw one of the horses slip at one point, and I think it was actually colder because we weren’t moving ourselves – but it was fun/faster. (I have issues with this sort of thing, though, because it seems mean/harmful to the horses. I don’t know? I’m conflicted.)
After we finished at the castles, we drove to our hotel in Reutte, Austria. The hotel has a bar/café, so we sat and had a beer (Jon) and coffee (me) and got dinner recommendations.
We walked to dinner – about 10 slippery/dark minutes away – and had our first real meal for the day at a place the hotel owner described as “traditional Austrian” – Romantik Krone.
It was absolutely fantastic! Based on the recommendation of the waitress, I had a steak with a cognac sauce (something I have never ordered/eaten because I typically lean toward chicken/turkey/pork) and mixed vegetables – also came with fried potatoes filled with cheese and chives. Also based on her recommendation, Jon had lamb, spinach and noodles. The place was very cozy and everyone was exceptionally friendly and helpful and willing to help us since the menu was only German.
We reek of smoke, though. EVERYONE smokes, it seems. There was just one family in the non-smoking room with us in the restaurant tonight – and the staff kept shutting the door to our room – but it was still smoky enough that my eyes started to burn a little.
We stopped at the hotel café on the way to our room after walking back from dinner and split a cheese strudel. Jon had a glass of an Austrian wine. I had coffee again.
Up tomorrow – about a 4-hour drive to the small town in the Black Forest where Jon’s company is located. Jon will be working for the next few days (the primary reason we’re here) and I’ll be doing something? Not sure yet.