Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hohenschwangau Castle and Town, Bavaria

Looking up to the Castle as we finish our descent from
We walked down from the Marie's bridge and had some coffee before starting up the walkway to Hohenschwangau. Our reservations for the tours of both castles were timed very well; 2 pm for the first and 4 pm for the second. We arrived at Noon, picked up our reserved tickets and had lunch nearby.
The walk up to Hohenschwangau Castle was beautiful with many lovely views of the lake. The castle is surrounded by formal gardens but most people were hiding in the shadows - again it was a hot day.
Built in 1837 on the ruins of a previous fortress from the 12th C by Ludwig II's father Maximilian II, it was his childhood home. Like Neuschwanstein it has the feel of a real home, actually more so as this is still a residence of the Bavarian Royal line - currently Franz, Duke of Bavaria. The rooms are filled with light and often have balconys overlooking the lake and mountains. Murals on the walls are similar to those at Neuschwanstein - German folk tales. It's a charming warm place - surprising really as Maximilian and his wife Marie were cold and uninterested in their offspring; Ludwig and Otto. There are 2 houses making up the castle - the children lived in a separate one from their parents and hardly saw them.
Formal gardens and fountains - notice the parasol!
It was a lively tour with a funny guide. Afterwards we walked down to the lakeside and toured the Museum of the Bavarian Kings, a modern museum depicting the history of this rather fascinating family up to this present time. One example of the interesting details was that prior to WW II the Wittenburg family opposed the Nazi Regime and escaped to Hungary and Italy, but almost all were later arrested and sent to concentration camps - men, women and children. They were liberated at the end of the war by Allied troupes.
But it was a long day so we were delighted to find our hotel and settle in. Landhotel Gughumf was excellent - our room was the nicest we had on the whole trip and they served a very good breakfast in their lovely dining room. At their recommendation we had dinner at the Hotel Helmerhof restaurant and it was excellent, with a beautiful view of the mountains. We both regretted that we didn't have at least a week to spend here hiking, swimming and eating!

Many of the windows overlooked the
 Lake. The awnings reminded me of Italy.

And another view up to Neuschwanstein

The lake from the path up to the castle

The terrace of the Museum of the Bavarian Kings

Our beautiful spacious room at Landhotel Gughumf

The sitting room area and doors to our balcony

The view from our balcony

And this was the view from our table at the Hotel Helmerhof
Restaurant where we had an excellent dinner.

Next morning we had a leisurely drive through some lovely countryside before taking the highway to Krumbach. That's
Neuschwanstein up on the mountain in the distance on the left and Hohenschwangau on the right.

This church looked so charming but the road was closed to it.

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