Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Swan Rock Castle

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here we are in the front side of Neuschwanstein (the side without the scaffolding)!

We’re in Zurich now, but we’re not sure we’re here legally. We just might be illegal immigrants! We stopped at the Austrian border to buy a “vignette.” for Austria. It was 2 Euros for one day. I used my German to ask a couple what to do. I asked the cashier if we could also buy one for Switzerland, while we were at it, but she only had 1 year passes for Switzerland. So, I decided to get it at the Swiss border, but when we got to the border there was no place to buy any permits, and the border guard just waved us in. We’ll have to try to keep our heads low while we’re here. We’ll be leaving the car in the parking garage for a day and a half, anyway.

We only drove through Austria for about a half an hour this afternoon, but Crystal said it wasn’t as clean as Germany. I’d have to agree. Switzerland looks very clean, however. Brenda (our GPS unit) did a good job of getting us across the border(s), despite the fact that the main freeway was closed for miles. We took some very romantic side roads. The girls had fun trying to take picturesque pictures from the back seat. Every time they set up a shot for a nice cathedral a tree would get in the way. Brittany got one shot where a fat tree trunk blocked the entire church tower.

We got up early this morning and enjoyed another scrumptious breakfast at the Hilton. We love eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit…. Too bad we don’t get the breakfast for dinner. We just don’t eat that much first thing in the morning. We were on the road by 8 a.m. to drive to Neuschwanstein. We arrived about 9:45, which was just perfect. We had time to look around for a while before our 11 a.m. castle tour. We got to the Marienbrucke (bridge) to take a picture and we were disappointed to find out the entire castle is scaffolded and under renovation. Just our luck! We took a family picture, anyway. That’s the way it is when you’re traveling in Europe. The first time we saw Notre Dame it was entirely covered in scaffolding! Now, we’ll have to come back!

The day has been cloudy and cool. It feels nice, but also diminishes our pictures somewhat. They don’t allow picture taking inside the castle, so we have a day full of outdoor, cloudy pictures. We rode the bus up to the castle, but walked back down. It’s a pretty steep walk, and worth it to ride up. Inside the castle we had an “English-speaking” tour guide. We didn’t get everything she was saying, but we got the general idea. The castle is a monument to Richard Wagner. King Ludwig II was obsessed with Wagner and his operas. Each room was about a different opera. Amanda correctly identified each opera BEFORE the tour guide told us which one it was. We were very proud of her.

So, King Ludwig II died under mysterious circumstances before the castle was finished. Maybe he was knocked off in an attempt to curb his outrageous spending. The castle is owned by the government today. The tour was only 35 minutes long. It would have been longer, but the upstairs was never finished. I guess the Wittelsbachs left most of their really cool stuff back in Munich. We saw most of that yesterday. What Neuschwanstein really has above all other castles is location! You just can’t beat it.

We had some pretzels for lunch, and are going to go look for a restaurant here in Zurich for dinner. Ed is taking a nap. It was a long drive for him. The girls napped in the car. I have some very unattractive pictures of them to prove it!

We have a nice, corner room here at the Marriott, and the girls have an adjoining room for the first time on the trip. That’s nice.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Whistling Prairie. We are enjoying your daily blogs. I hope that you are not illegal immigrants in Switzerland! Abby is in Chile now. Check out her blog at

    Your adventure looks awesome!