Central Aust '09
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From Salzburg, the next stop was Hohenschwangau, where we would see Ludwig's Castle. This trip involved a train from Salzburg to Fuessen, and then a 5-10Km trip to Hohenschwangau itself. There is a bus that goes from Fuessen railway station to Hohenschwangau, but the day was cold and raining so we decided to get a taxi instead. The taxi was I think 7 Euros for the trip and it only took 10 minutes.
Our lodging at Hohenschwangau was nice, just a small B&B called the Hotel Albrecht. We arrived there and put our bags inside. Once we were settled, we went for a walk around the town, by this time it was starting to get dark.
We walked around for probably 40 minutes, just wandering with no real purpose, and we noticed that this place was really quiet - there was nobody around! We walked up past the tourist shops and cafes, up towards the castle. After the walk, it was time for a night's rest, we had a day of castles coming up!
The castles at Hohenschwangau must get really busy! All the information we had read on the Internet beforehand told us about the castles and long lines to get inside, and told us to purchase our tickets in advance to make sure we got a spot. We had bought our tickets perhaps 2 months in advance, and this included payment of an extra booking fee. The procedure was to take our booking sheet to the ticket office in town, show them our identification, and they would give our ticket.
When we got to the ticket office first thing in the morning, it was actually very quiet and we got our ticket straight away. There are two castles here, and our ticket said the first one to visit was Hohenschwangau Castle, and after that we could go to Neuschwanstein Castle.
After getting the ticket, you have to walk to the entrance for Hohenschwangau Castle. The Web Site for the Castles says that it's a 20-minute walk up the hill, but there are two tracks. One track is basically a road which is used by Horse & Carriage, or for people pushing the baby in a pram. But the other path goes straight up the hill, it's quite steep in places but only takes about 5 minutes to go up.
Once we got to the castle, the first thing we noticed is that it was all covered up for maintenance. I guess that didn't matter too much as we could still go inside. Due to us being super early we had to sit in the waiting area for some time until it was time for our ticket, and then the tour inside lasts about 40 minutes.
There are many rooms that we saw, and all of them are furnished and decorated beautifully. You are not allowed to take photographs inside the castle.
After the tour of Hohenschwangau Castle, we walked to the bus stop which is near the ticket office. The second castle (Neuschwanstein Castle) is at the top of a mountain, and the road to get there is long. It would take 45 minutes to walk, but we chose to take the bus up to the top which is about 10 minutes.
When we got off the bus we walked the short path to the castle. As we still had some time before our tour we walked down to Marien Brucke (Marien Bridge), which is a little way up the hill and crosses between two cliffs. You get a fantastic view of the castle from the bridge, but of course there are many people on the bridge at the same time.
We wanted to get a photo of us with the castle in the background. It seemed to be quite a challenge to find someone that was actually capable of taking a decent photograph!
The tour of the Neuschwanstein Castle was also very nice, in some ways much like the first one, it was beautifully decorated and furnished, and it was a little bigger than Hohenschwangau Castle.
After the tour was finished, we went back down the hill on the bus, and back to our hotel. On the way we were rewarded with a nice view of both castles ontop of the hills.
Since there was not much else to do here, we were going to get some lunch but all the cafes were busy and they didn't really have much choice for vegetarian food. So at the main road junction in Hohwnschwangau town (there is only one big junction!) there is a big bus stop and we took the bus back to Fuessen. I think it was bus 78, but basically it was the same bus everyone else was taking.
Once in Fuessen we grabbed a bite to eat at a small roadside shop, just a sandwich and some cake, and then waited for the next train to Innsbruck. Some notes I found suggest there was no train in Fuessen directly, but rather bus number 74 to Pulverturm, Reutte. Get off the bus at Reutte and 150m behind is the raillway station. These notes also said something about changing trains at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but I can't remember if we had to do this or not.
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