Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Füssen, Bavaria, Germany

We have been going through very green country side as we travel from Munich to the southern border with Austria and Switzerland. Lots of nice farms, pastures full of horses and cows, dark pine forests, mountains, streams and a healthy smell of manure.

Füssen is a very old small town, it was during the first century AD under the reign of Emperor Claudius a garrison town and the Via Claudia Augusta was as is today the main street. Roman Legions could easily come up from Italy by passing by the Brenner pass which is open all year round over the Alps and from Innsbruck came to what would then have been the border of the Roman Empire in the North with all those dark forests full of German barbarians.
Füssen, Via Claudia-Augusta

Hotel Sonne, Fussen

From Munich 104 Km away it is a regional train so many stops in many small villages, all very picturesque.
We had some very nice pastries and tea on arrival, difficult to find a bad pastry in Germany or Austria.
We are staying at Hotel Sonne in the middle of Füssen, a nice hotel with charm.

Füssen is somewhat like the Benidorm (Spain) of Germany, population 14K swells to 3 million in the summer with crazy tourists who only come here to see one castle, Neuschwanstein (New Swan Rock).
The other castle Hohenschwangau just below and still owned by the Wittelsbach family who operates it now as a museum since 1913 is not that popular, though has a very old history going back to the 12th century. Neuschwanstein on the other hand is fairly new and incomplete, partly furnished since contruction stopped in 1886, though the architecture is more spectacular.

 Hohenschwangau, the Wittelsback Family Summer Residence

The unfinished Neuschwanstein Castle in the morning mist at 850 meters in altitude.

Disaster struck tonight, we had made reservations for dinner at the hotel Sonne restaurant. As we approached the dining room you could here a lot of screaming and loud laughter. I thought, oh they must be full tonight, when we walked in we saw a large group of Chinese tourists. The language Mandarin, screaming for more beer, yes I was back in Beijing all over again, their guide was encouraging them to be raucous in a demented approach to what they thought beer gardens in Germany c.1938 must have looked like. I was dumbfounded and had a sinking feeling that we were in the wrong place, we had a drink and left promptly. We ended up in a bar restaurant across the street, the food was good and so was the service. It is raining a lot and the clouds have swallowed up the mountains. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better and we can steer clear of the maddening Chinese crowds.


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  2. what fabulous castles! In my only visit to Germany, I stopped by and saw both of them - alas I can't remember much - but your photos helped!