Europe 2014 (Part 6 of 6) | Germany – Castles

Wednesday morning started early. Turns out, if you want to actually see the inside of the Neuschwanstein Castle you need tickets. In order to get tickets you need to reserve them. In order to reserve them you should do so no later than 3 days prior. That didn’t work for us. Your other option is to show up early and stand in line. We heard and read about long lines. We had a back up plan though and that was to hook up with the free tour from the same folks that handled the Munich tour. They start their tour from Munich and the bulk of the cost is the train tickets to the castle, and when you get there you still have to buy the tickets but tour guides have an in and can get them. So that was our goal to drive down and meet the group at the train station.

We left Munich about 9am, it’s roughly a 2 hour drive, but we wandered through some small German villages on the way and pulled into the town beneath the castle just prior to noon. We made the call to just stand in line. The line was about 30 minutes long and our tours for the castles were at good times. 12:50 for Hohenschwangau the castle the crazy king lived in, and 3:20pm for the fancy castle.

Words cannot describe the beauty there.



You have lots of options to get up the mountain to the castle. Busses, or horse drawn carriages. But you still have a good 15-20 minute hilly walk in front of you.

The views are amazing though. So, the short version of the story is, this King, King Ludwig II was kind of a nut. He never married, lived alone and like to decorate and build ‘fancy’ castles. You can draw your own conclusions. He started on this castle well after the home we live in was built, so in the scheme of castles it isn’t very old. It is cool though, and it was a good idea to finish it even after he died. It would have been a shame to let that go to waste.

They don’t let you photograph anything inside either of the castles, primarily to keep the tours moving and motivate you to buy a book.


After touring the castles, we beat feat south, through the Alps. There’s no point in taking photos in the Alps. You cannot do them justice with a point and click camera. The shear beauty of the



We have some pretty impressive vistas here in the states, out in the Rockies, but they still don’t compare. After rolling through the Alps we stopped in Innsbruck, Austria for dinner. We found a quaint Italian restaurant in town and dinned there. It was late and again just about everything was closed so once again we ended up with Italian.

IMG_3220_thumb Claudine was beat, I think it was the yarn shopping on the prior day that did it. 😉

On Thursday we stayed in town. I walked Freising with her, and we stopped in at the local cathedral. It was simply amazing.


After spending the morning in Freising, we headed north to Landshut where both Martin and Rob live. Trausnitz Castle is there at the top of the hill, and it dates back to the 1200’s. We didn’t have time to take the tour, so we walked the grounds and all the public places. It was amazing.





The park and surrounding grounds of this castle were amazing. We saw deer in the forest on the way back to the car. We then headed back to Freising to have dinner at the Weihenstaphan Brewery Beer garden. The oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. The food was great and the beer was great what more could you ask?

After dinner we drove Mark to his hotel and returned to ours to pack for the flight home in the morning. We got up early for the long day, only made longer because both of our flights home were delayed.

So there you have it, 2 countries, and a whole bunch of stuff visited in about 4 and a half active days of vacationing.

Now I need a vacation from my vacation.

Europe 2014 (Part 5 of 6) | Germany – Munich

Monday morning started off well, we got up early and got to the airport and through security with plenty of time to spare.  We had breakfast at the airport and it was surprisingly good.   Our last shot at English breakfast, but again, scrambled eggs on smoked salmon hit the spot for me.

Shopping there was pretty much a bust, given the exchange rates it just doesn’t make sense, and I’m not paying £30 for a T-Shirt (almost $50 us).  I’m just not going to do it.

We arrived at the Munich airport on time, made it through customs without an issue and collected our bags.  Straight to the rental car facility, which had a line, but was uneventful.  Thank you Budget for not doing the same bait and switch that Alamo in the UK did.

We retrieved our car and were off, straight to the office.


Like the UK office, our Munich office isn’t in Munich, it’s technically in Hallbergmoos, near the airport about 3o minutes north of Munich.  The highlighted area in the map above shows where we spent our time in Germany.  As far north as Landshut, and as far south as Innsbruck, Austria.

Upon arrival spent the day handing out new laptops and prepping for the router swap.  Claudine just hung out in the office embracing her down time watching some flicks on the iPad. We took a break about 4pm and headed to the hotel to check in, and change. We headed back to the office to to the dirty work after hours.

Upon completion it was late, like 10pm late.  We hadn’t though through where we’d eat but I was pretty sure the hotel restaurant would be closed.  On our way to the hotel we spotted a little Italian restaurant and popped in there.


The place was about closed but they seated us, and didn’t speak a lick of English.  Only German and Italian, but from a German/Italian Menu you can pretty much figure out what you want.   My Rosetta stone was coming back to me and I could pick out a few things, we used google translate on the iPhone for a few key words.

Best Calzone I’ve ever had.

The following morning, Tuesday, I headed into the office and left Claudine to explore Freising on foot.   Of course she found a yarn store and met a new friend.

I wrapped up my work around noon, picked up Claudine and headed to Munich for a Free Guided Tour of the City.  We took the New Munich FREE Tour in English and it was worth every penny. Our guide, Colson, was in Germany playing American football with the Munich Cowboys.  His wife was completing a 3 year over-seas commitment for the company she worked for and he gave the tours for beer money.  They are free but you tip the guide after the tour.   He earned his money.

The tour started at MarienPlatz, in front of the Glockenspiel.



From there we wandered through the city seeing the sights and learning about the Bavarian kings, and a little about the 3rd Reich.  Colson also gave the 3rd Reich tour so he mixed a little of that in as well.




At the close of the tour we got to watch the Glockenspiel do it’s thing.  Our tour guide was right, I can see why it’s the #2 most over-rated tourist attraction in Europe.  After the tour we ended up at the Hofbräuhaus for dinner.


There was an oriental family seated at the table next to us.  They just assumed we were natives and were very happy to have their pictures taken with me, almost all of them.  It was hilarious.


We stood in the courtyard where Hitler painted one of his famous paintings.  Of course we bombed the hell out of the surrounding buildings but the tower remained in-tact.

We even found another Yarn store for Claudine.  I mean I knew it was there, right there and I took her to it, specifically. 🙂


After we the yarn shopping extravaganza we walked around Munich some more than drove around for a bit and headed back to the hotel to get some rest, Wednesday was going to be a big day.