Memmingen / German Mountain Road / Nesselwang
After picking up the “life and soul” of our party, delievered first class by Ryanair (his words!) we travelled down to Lindau to spend the night on the CamperStop at the P&R. By morning the temperature was down to -6, but the sky was clear blue and cloudless. We made an early start and headed towards Dornbirn in Austria and then followed the mountain road upto Bodele where we stopped to admire the wonderful views across the snow-capped mountains and the valley of the Bregenzerwald. The small mountain lake was still frozen solid but outside the Hotel Fetz, below the picturesque chapel, people were sitting in deck chairs enjoying the warm winter sunshine. Coming down the other side we drove through the pretty little village of Schwarzenberg and headed towards Hittisau and the border of Germany just before Balderschwang. The road took us over a monutain pass where the snow still stood six foot thick at the roadside. The scenery was spectacular and as we came down the far side of the pass we drove through villages where ski lifts were busily pulling skiers up slopes, cross country skiiers went along the flat,snow covered meadows and the less active were enjoing a drink and watching the goings on. Near Obersdorf we caught sight of the two large ski jumps that stand above the town. We turned away from Obersdorf and headed along the ‘German Mountain Road'(Deutsche Alpenstrasse) towards Neuschwanstein Castle. Keeping away from motorways where possible, we passed through some of the most stunning scenery of mountains, villages, churches and castle, this is a trip I would certainly recommend!
As evening started to close in, the lights twinkle from the villages and the stars appear in the clear night sky. Suddenly in front of us, a blaze of white lights appear from around the bend, and we see skiiers enjoying the night slopes lit up by large lights on the piste. The ski slope is above the village of Nesselwang and just at the base of the slopes is a large CamperStop almost filled with motorhomes from all around Europe. We decide this is a good place to stop for the night as we are getting close to Neuschwanstein Castle where we want to visit the following day. Parking up and plugging into the electric (parking is €8 and electric is paid by usage), we have a great view of the piste ahead of us and we can hear the music from the bars that are situated around the base of the slopes, and on closer inspection sell cold beer, hot wine, as well as a large number of local dishes.
After settling in we head off to find the local supermarketbefore it closes in about 40 minutes. We follow the instructions from our motorhome neighbours and end up on the wrong side of the village (their fault, not ours…Honest!). We then ask for directions from a local and we hurry off to the other side of the town, making it just in time. The village is a pretty little Bavarian village and along our route back to the van we drop into the Hotel Post, a “Brauerei-Gasthof” (Brewery) and indulge in a reviving glass of house beer (Bock-Bier). There is a warm welcome and the smell of food cooking is too tempting to resist and we enjoy our evening meal here.
Walking back up to the Motorhome we see the cable cars going up and down to the Alpspitz. There are two heights the cable cars go up to and the whole area is filled with plenty of activities to enjoy. There are also swimming baths and saunas and restaurants, all in all a lovely place to visit whether you are very active or just enjoy observing.
Morning brings cloudless blue skies again, just what we want for our visit to Neuschwannstein Castle today. Following the German Mountain Road a little further, with the mountains rising up on either side of us, the beauty of this area is really stunning and we all enjoy this trip emmensely. As we arrive at the Neuschwannstein Castle, we are relieved to find a large parking area with ample parking for motorhomes (€7 for 6 hrs). A short walk past restaurants, hotels and souvenier shops, brings us up to the ticket office where you buy your tickets for the Castles of Neuschwannstein and Hohenschwangau and also the Museum of the Bavarian Kings. A little further on you can take the steep path and walk up to the castle, about 40 mins,or take the bus or a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride for €6, we settle for the bus and it whizzes upwards, round bends and through the trees until it reaches the bus stop from where there is a 15min walk to the castle. Before heading along the pathway we walk up to the Marienbruke for the view across to Schloss Neuschwannstein. The bridge is very high and below is a waterfall. (This bridge is a definate no-no for those afraid of heights!) The view from here is wonderful.
Along the pathway towards the castle is a viewing point over the village below and the Schloss Hohenschwangau and also the two lakes, it is a great place for taking photos. Inside the entrance you have to look for the tour number corresponding to your ticket (tours are given in various languages). Our guide joins us and leads us up a winding set of steps in the tower (this tour is, unfortunately, not suitable for disabled persons as there are no lifts avaialble). The tour includes all the rooms which were completed within the castle, but unfortunately King Ludwig II did not live to complete it and did in fact only spend 177 days here before his untimely and suspisious death in 1886 aged 41 in the lake of one of his castles near Munich. The castle is built in the style of the Middle Ages, but it incorporates the most modern technics of the times. The rooms are filled with magnificent splendour, rich, strong colours and lots of gold adorn everything you see. Huge chandeliers hang from the high, ornate ceilings and in the throne room the splendour is breathtaking all that is missing is the throne which, sadly, never was put in place.
The tour is over and we are left to take the 360 steps back down and inspect the large kitchens in our own time. We enjoyed the tour but did feel that we were a little rushed and therefore did not have the time to see everything properly, they are very strict about not taking photos one of our team received a ticking off for getting a camera out! The kitchens are bedecked with gleaming copper pans and pots hanging from their hooks and there is a small room for the chef to take a break or write up his menues. There are also a few souvenier shops. As we head back towards the bus stop to catch the last bus of the day, most of the visitors have long gone and from the viewing point along the pathway we can see our motorhome in the carpark below, waiting for us. Making our way off we make a mental note to come back again and allow more time so that we will be able to visit Hohenschwangau and the museums and lakes and everything else there is to see, which is quite a lot!
A 10 minute journey and we arrive at our overnight stop at Bannwaldsee, a large complex with campsite, camperstop, rooms, restaurant and sports centre. It is a beautiful place in a wonderful setting. The mountains frame the whole area and the site is set on the lakeside. The buildings blend perfectly into the landscape and we found the reception warm and welcoming. www.camping-bannwaldsee.de
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