Rounding out our winter vacation, we made a stop at Neuschwanstein Castle and Liechtenstein before heading back to the Milan airport to fly home.
Our driving day to Neuschwanstein Castle (heretofore represented as NC because I can’t keep typing that out) was foggy. Not just a little foggy, it was foggy to the extreme of not being able to see 50 feet in front of you, which isn’t the best way to be driving on the German Autobahn.
The Autobahn is almost as terrifying as I pictured it–people will fly by at speeds of 200 kph or more. Our tiny little rented Peugeot could not top 144 kph (90 mph) though we sure tried. I felt like the car was going to come apart at the seams at that speed, so we didn’t try to maintain it. It was fun to see how fast we could go, but we preferred to keep it safe. When we did pass some slower cars, we had to be especially careful about cars coming up behind us. They could go incredibly fast and would NOT slow down for anything. There were a few close calls which prompted screaming and nervous fits of giggles after the cars passed. Our tip–if you don’t have a big enough engine to handle it, stay out of the left lane. We learned our lesson.
When we got to NC, the fog hadn’t lifted. It was enormously disappointing because I was picturing this:
Instead, we got this:
Boooo. So we couldn’t see it from the outside, and we weren’t allowed to take pictures from the inside. I was sad that I wouldn’t have much to show for the whole thing.
Here are some photos that I did capture despite the fog.
This smaller castle was below the fog, but we did not choose to tour and visit this one.
Kinda blah, right?? We overheard some of the workers saying that it was the worst fog they’d seen in the area for awhile. Lucky us!
Despite it being ridiculously foggy outside, inside the castle was just plain ridiculous.
The paintings, the details, the carvings, the walls…EVERYTHING in this castle was incredible. It was so incredibly intricate that I kept saying to myself “This is just stupid. That’s STUPID!” I didn’t mean stupid in that I didn’t like it or that it wasn’t worthy to see…it was stupid in that it was so absolutely mind bogglingly ridiculously incredible that I didn’t have any other words for it. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was worth seeing just because you can’t believe something like this exists in the world and that it was created for one man (who died before he could even live in it).
Of course, since it was so incredibly stupidly awesome, it attracted busloads of people, so it was very very commercialized. Of course they led you through three different gift shops on the short tour. Of course you were stuck with a group of 100 other tourists to bump into in tiny spaces. But sometimes, you just have to deal with the tourists and the commercialism to see something amazing. I wish it hadn’t been so foggy that day so we could have gotten an even more full experience.
After our tour, we packed up and headed into Liechtenstein, where the fog never let up. We arrived at night, too late to take pictures. The next morning, the fog persisted until after breakfast when we could finally see what the fog hid from our hotel view:
Beautiful, beautiful mountains.
We couldn’t stay long to admire them though…we had a long day of driving through the mountains ahead of us in order to catch our flight that evening. The views on the way to the airport were fascinating and breathtaking. I truly, truly feel like I could be a mountain girl after this vacation because I couldn’t get enough of the stunning landscape.
I have a feeling that we’ll find our way back to these parts of the world multiple times in our lives. I felt so happy on this vacation, seeing the many wonderful things we saw. I highly recommend going near Christmastime if you can because the cheer in the air was very worth the chilly temps and rainy/snowy/foggy weather.
Now that we’re back home in Spain, it feels good to be next to our Christmas tree with our pups, but we’re already planning our next trip for early January! More on that later!