Let's be honest, when we found out we were going to be spending the summer in Europe, of course the inner princess in me immediately was day dreaming about bringing my fairy princesses to castles! At the top of the list was Neuschwanstein Castle.
Located in Germany, there are three castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria that are famous with over 6,000 tourists visiting a day! The two primary castles Linderhof and Neuschwanstein Castle are bustling, and we wanted to get in on it! With Neuschwanstein being the castle that supposedly inspired Disney's castle for sleeping beauty, Grant was finding his way into all of our hearts with a surprise trip with a little Disney magic. We rented a car and drove through Austria to Germany where we settled into our hotel is Fussen on a very rainy Friday night.
While we had hoped to explore the charming town of Fussen that evening, Grant was on a call until very late and the girls were starving so we enjoyed some room service of Wiener Schnitzel, spatzel and Bavarian apple tart. The view from our room at Hotel Sonne was amazing, and the quirkly little hotel was overflowing with charm - the perfect setting to get our girls ready for a princess weekend!
The next morning, we awoke very early and did the hotels amazing buffet breakfast that was included with the stay -- this buffet was so good - reason enough to stay there! Attentive staff, so many choices of food and they refilled my coffee 10x which never happens in Zurich!
We walked around Fussen for a little bit and then headed to the castles - you have to show up an hour before your tour, and our tour was at 9:15 so we got there by 8:15. We parked, hiked up a hill to the ticket office, and then found out we were going to have to do a lot more hiking. Other moms had warned me we couldn't bring our stroller so we each tackled the venture with a baby bjorn -- and a 30+ pound toddler :)
We hitched a ride with a horse and carriage that took pity on us that was filled with tourists from Shanghai that were more inclined to take pictures of our blonde babies and family than the gorgeous setting as we rode up to the castles. We are talking hundreds if not thousands of photos from strangers. When we exited the carriage - these strangers all picked up our girls and took pictures with them. We were stunned and paralysed with disbelief, unsure of what to do. Normally I don't let anyone touch my kids. The best part was they didn't speak English, but all insisted on air dropping the photos to us -- so strange but goes to show technology transcends all language barriers!
We got to the top of Neuchwastein Castle only to discover that we were supposed to be at Lindenhof Castle at 9:15 and the information lady at the top of the mountain was of no help, saying we were out of luck. So $60 later, we opted to just hike the bridge with sleeping babies on us and explore what we could -- stopping for fresh donuts of course.
Overall Experience: The castle experience was beautiful if not overly welcoming for families. I'd highly recommend exploring - but if you have toddlers, I'd skip buying the pricey tickets - you arent allowed to bring carriers into the castles or strollers or backpacks, the tour is 3 hours, and apparently they are strict on the behavior of kids. Also, no photography and if you don't instagram it, it didn't happen - right?! (kidding, kind of)
From there we ventured to Maipau - more on that adventure to come!