Thursday, 17 January 2013

European Road Trip Day 4 - Castle Neuschwanstein, Austria and Italy (Saturday 2nd June 2012)

Had a good night's sleep, got the car packed up and had set off by 8.40am. We went to the carparks at the bottom of Castle Neuschwanstein, bought tickets, then walked up a winding mountain path through forest, up to the castle.
After feeling disappointed with the view of the castle yesterday, when we got up the hill today and saw it from the other side, it looked as cool as heck!! The mountains surrounding it, and the views all around were impressive too. We hung around outside for a while, standing on the slightly scary over-hanging viewing platform.
It was a long way down!
We then went in the courtyard, and waited for our guided tour to begin.
View from the courtyard - we went and stood on that bridge in the background later on!
We couldn't take photos inside the palace rooms, but the guided tour was really good! It didn't last too long (and actually lots of the rooms in the castle have never been done up, and aren't used).We learnt about the king who had it built (Ludwig II), and all about his sad story - his love of building castle, and of swans, and his death at a young age not long after the castle was built in 1886. It's a pretty modern castle and was even built with central heating (and swans everywhere!) Harry bought a soft toy swan in the gift shop.
After that we walked along a path, which had a great view of another nearby castle - Schloss Hohenschwangau, and took us to a ravine with the bridge over.
Standing on the scary bridge.
It was quite high up!
We then walked back down the mountain a different way, and set off for Italy (via Austria again - 3rd time this holiday!) Yummy lunch in the car!
In Austria, just over the German border, we hit a traffic jam, and moved 7 miles in over 1.5 hours. (Half of the road was being excavated.) We seriously could not complain about the view or the weather though!
Early on in the traffic jam, when we were on a bridge, we happened to see a helicopter rescue going on, with people on the outside of the helicopter, winching someone up into it.
We finally got moving at about 1.30pm, and still had 4.5 hours of driving ahead of us to our Italian destination. 
The Austrian Alps were beautiful. Snow capped mountains, meadows with more of my little huts, cows with cowbells...
We also drove past Innsbruck, and saw the ski jump used in various Olympics.
About 20 miles south of Innsbruck, we went through the Brenner Pass, on the border with Italy. Some good bridges! Lucy gave us the statistics that so far we had been on holiday for 75 hours, 36 minutes, and we spent 3 hours, 25 minutes in Austria today.
It was funny to notice the almost immediate changes in the style of buildings once we were in Italy.
We ended driving for 6 hours straight, and it was fine - didn't really seem that long. The kids were good. Here's Harry with his swan from Neuschwanstein, and his journal.
I'd also seen the idea on Pinterest to dry out blobs of watercolour paint onto sheets of paper, and then the kids could use them to paint with like a mini palette, with the use of a water-filled paint brush. Here's Harry painting a volcano.
Definitely Italian looking! Snapped this out the window (like all of the journey pictures), but I really like it. (You can click on any picture to see it enlarged.)
Our destination in Italy was the house of an old Secondary School friend - Sarah. Her American husband works for the military, and they live near Vicenza. We had lost touch for ages, but then found each other again through Facebook. Sarah and I met up in Nottingham more recently - both our sets of parents still live a few streets apart, in the houses which Sarah and I grew up in.
Sarah had prepared a lovely meal for us, and we had a relaxed evening chatting. It was just great seeing her again, and getting to know Mitch a bit, and their children.
Sarah and Mitch have two lovely kids - Zoe (6) and Jake (8). Our kids all got on well, and went off and played together. Their house is pretty big, and they live mainly upstairs - all marble floors and balconies. Harry and Tom slept in Jake's room, Lucy and Jack slept in the downstairs living room (though Zoe really wanted Lucy to sleep in with her!), and Scott and I had a lovely guest bedroom.


Benny Johans said...

Wow! No words to say what a day you might have been. Those were amazingly beautiful castles, Schloss Hohenschwangau castle beautiful! I can see the kids had great great time, can see from their expression. That was one amazing trip i am sure.

Neuschwanstein Fan said...

Thanks for the post. I like your writing style