One of our longest driving days yet was our journey from the central Black Forest to Innsbruck, via part of Germany’s ‘Romantic Road’, and an almost visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. We set off before 9am, and arrived at our Innsbruck hotel about 12 hours later. Don’t worry though, we’re not daft enough to drive for all that time! We took our time and had 3 stops at services with play parks, plus our sort of visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. The services with parks were brilliant – freedom to run around is just what the kids (and hubby) need after being cooped up watching Disney’s Planes on repeat. I think they really enjoyed their day of touring play parks – it went really well!
Also on our itinerary for the day was a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, an iconic fairytale like castle nestled into the mountainside of the German Alps, not far from the border with Austria. Below, is its Wikipedia image, a shot that you can get by visiting a bridge called Marienbrück. So this was my plan, so I could recreate such photos with the power of my iPhone camera. And also take in this iconic landmark and surroundings. Because I’m a tourist.
Instead, after paying €6 to park 30 minutes (Times by 14 because of slow kids) down hill of said bridge, prepping the children for the walk, an excited Pip ‘flying’ up the the path with his wings out like Dusty Cropperhopper (when he’s saving Bulldog in the scene on Planes that shows an animated version of Neuschwanstein Castle. Obviously.), waiting ten minutes for Bee dawdling around and finally scooping her up despite her protests of “MYSELF! MYSEEEELF!”, we get 15 minutes up the hill to find a big sign saying that the bridge is closed for repairs! 😱😩 OK, 15 minutes for us would have been about 3 minutes for anyone else – but with all that effort for ‘nothing’ we felt very disappointed.
But plan B had struck us as we drove to aforementioned car park – we could go up on the cable car to the view point at the top of the peaks and see it, and the rest of the world, from there! Hurrah! So off we tootled again. (Of course, this was a further 25 minutes later after the rigmarole of emptying children and inserting them back in the car). At just gone 4pm we arrived at the cable car spot which was 5 minutes down the road. Take two: we gathered our required belongings, plus what had been a despondent Pip (at not being to fly up to the “Big Castle” from Planes) who was now excited again because he was going to fly even higher! So we briefly queued for our tickets and when we got there the lady said “Is It just one way? Because the lift stops at 5pm, so you would only get 10 minutes at the top. And it’s €40.” Erm, no. We are not planning to spent the night in a cable car and pay that for the privilege. We were hoping to eat at the restaurant up there, but with no way down again, Plan B was foiled – so instead our photos of Neuschwanstein Castle are like this…
But at leas we saw it, and it is still very impressive for the valley bottom! Nevertheless, at this point in the day Pip cried 😦 And pretty much so did Daddy, who was very frustrated. Bee chewed a leaflet about mountain biking, so I don’t think she was too bothered. Luckily there was a (yet another) park and various things to do at the bottom of the cable car place. There was even another Rondelbahn… But this was more bobsled like (nothing to stop it flying out!) and the carts didn’t have a seatbelt – so I wasn’t keen on taking the kids on there. Luckily, Pip was more drawn to the park anyway, so he and Bee played. Meanwhile I went off practicing my German again to ask for gluten free food… To be met by a grumpy young lass, whose answer warp simply snap “nein.” No ‘sorry’, or any manners. Miserable moo. Anyway, faced with the possibility of another evening driving round to feed Pip, I talked to him and he agreed to have a picnic of the gluten free stuff from the car while we had bratwurst and currywurst and chips. He was so grown up about it. We try not to feed him any differently, but this this time it was the better of two evils (having learnt our lesson searching for gluten free food between the Nürburgring and Bacharach 1 see relevant post!). I don’t think he minded because we finished off with ice lollies! And they got treated a to a go on the little motor-trike thinks that were a little like dodgems.
The rest of our journey to Innsbruck was pretty uneventful, with the kids watching Planes for the 3745th time that day and eventually sleeping. Pheew!