Our second day included a tour of Neuschwanstein castle, near Fussen, Germany. The castle sits above the town of Fussen, about half way up a mountain. You have 2 options to climb to the castle, either hike up or you can pay a few Euro and a horse drawn carriage will take you up. We only had 30 minutes before our tour started, so we decided to take the carriage ride. We sat in the front next to the driver…right behind the team of horses. The horse that Don sat behind had some serious gastric problems…well, you probably get the picture. The driver, who spoke broken english kept saying ” ist cologne!” and would take deep breaths. I found the whole situation hilarious…I know that Don was laughing on the inside. Actually, he found it funny to…Probably even funnier if it was me instead of him.
Neuschwanstein Castle, built from 1869 to 1886. Neuschwanstein was designed by a painter first, then an architect. Construction stopped at King Ludwigs death, only a third of the rooms were completed, and within six weeks tourists were paying to go through it. King Ludwig was declared mentally unfit to rule Bavaria and was taken away from Neuschwanstein. He was found dead in a lake 2 days after his eviction. Even today people debate whether the “Mad King” was murdered or committed suicide.
The second half of the day we planned a hike through the lodge we were staying at. Our guide told us that we would be hiking above Garmisch to the Alte Hutte, a restaurant in the mountains that serves an authentic Bavarian Cream Puff. Along the way we would be stopping at a War Memorial. I assumed that this memorial would be either to remember the victims of the Holocaust, or to the allied troops that liberated the country of Nazi rule. This was not the case, however. It was a memorial to those Nazi soldiers that died in the war, who came from the village below. It was quite disturbing really, I have been to Dachau and to Auschwitz Birkenau, as well as the Anne Frank House…but I have never seen this. I kept asking “where is the memorial to the Jewish families that just ‘disappeared one day?'” I decided not to take any pictures of the memorial… a large stone structure with over 200 plaques and photographs of those who died, along with dates and places. Several had fresh flowers and pine boughs draped over their plaques…which also left me feeling unsettled. We did take a picture of us at the memorial, with the view of Garmisch behind us.
Our reward…a GIANT Bavarian Cream Puff. It was filled with ice cream, cream (duh), chocolate syrup and sprinkled with hazelnuts. Don and I shared one…but we couldn’t finish it.