A day through the Alps
The night before, in Innsbruck, I paid my €2 for 15 minutes on the Internet to get the next few days’ train schedules from bahn.de (best rail planner for all of Europe, except Great Britain and parts of Italy). According to my notes, we have two ways that we can go today. We can either take the route that goes through the thick of the Alps past Zugspitze, riding 3 trains and a bus, or we can take just two trains by way of München, missing many mountains and putting us there 30 minutes later, no less. We decide to go the first way and risk the many train changes.
Our first train leaves bright and early at 08:30, and our walk to the station is taking longer than I expect. We get the attention of a older lady standing on her balcony, and her directions indicate that I’ve led us down the wrong path. We make it on the train in the nick of time.
Amazing train service! All the connections are on time. Too bad we don’t have a bubble view car this time, but mom still gets some nice pictures of the mountains.
In Pfronten, we’re supposed to catch the bus to Füssen. The bahn.de schedule informs us that we get off the train on the outskirts and take a bus the rest of the way. Our wait at the bus stop is supposed to be only 10 minutes, but looking at the schedule on the sign post, it seems that we have missed the bus and must wait an hour. We decide to eat at a small restaurant. The menu is all sausage and veal. Mom and I get Currywurst and Bratwurst, while Kaitlyn gets some fries and a pizza from down the street. (I made the mistake of telling her that the skin on sausage is made from pig intestines. Doh!) Lots of bees, so we eat inside, where there are still some bees because they keep the door open. While we are eating, a whole troop of Boy and Girl Scouts come in and invade the bathrooms. It’s kinda funny. While waiting at the bus stop to head to Füssen, we find out from a skateboarder that today is a holiday, and we were reading the wrong schedule. Had we stayed at the bus stop, we would have caught the bus. Oh well, we had a good meal.
Unfortunately the bus fiasco puts us behind schedule. We arrive at the hotel in Füssen, which is in my opinion the nicest hotel after the one in Rome (although Kaitlyn’s bed is kind of tiny here). But the best part of this hotel is that it is right over an excellent bakery! We have to have “lunch” here. Yummm. Afterward, we go to the bus station and catch a taxi to Hohenschwangau. The tours of the Neuschwanstein castle are sold out, so we get a tour of the Hohenschwangau castle instead. The nice thing about the Hohenschwangau castle is that you get a good view of Neuschwanstein from there. :-) And we get to ride a horse buggy to the castle, too.
The tour is funny. It’s an English tour, but the lady can barely speak English. Cute. Plus, one of the tourists was a pretty doofy and obnoxious American. You know that typical stupid character that Rodney Dangerfield plays? That’s this guy—exactly. He looks and talks just like Rodney: “Is that real gold? This king must have been rich, let me tell ya.” Well, duh. The sad thing is that this guy isn’t acting. After the tour, Kaitlyn buys a nice edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the castle bookstore. In the shop they also have Struwwel Peter and Max und Moritz, which I later see in every bookstore we go into in Germany. Can’t get away from the classics, I guess.
It’s back to the hotel. After a week of wearing the same clothes two or three days, and after all the walking, it is time for me to take a bath—not a shower, a bath! Here’s some more trivial fun: the water spout on the bathtub is on the side, and as the water fills the tub, it slides down the side like a tiny waterfall. It’s pretty cool and really quiet. Makes sense for a hotel. It’s a nice deep tub, too. Good for big old me!