Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Munchen III

This was the day I had been waiting for my entire trip; a day of a castle tours and small Bavarian villages—not the fake tourists traps that have set up shop throughout the states, but authentic towns with stunning murals painted on the side of each town, towns that have nestled next to their surrounding mountains for centuries.
I never learned the name of the coach line I took. I signed up through the Office of Tourism. The tour cost 45 euros and includes transportation to Linderhof and Neuschwanstien castles, and stops in two small villages. “Audio guides” are available in all European languages, as well as Japanese and Chinese. It does not include the price of admission into any of the castles (which I was not told until we were on the autobahn), nor is the Guide really a guide. He is more of a pompous ass who doesn’t know the meaning of personal space. He had very little to say about the countryside we were passing, the towns we stopped in, or even the castles themselves. He was, however, happy to convince you to shop in such and such shop, or eat in such and such restaurant as the coach line took a cut of the business they brought in. Admission into the two castles was 13 euro. This is a discounted price only available to tours. The tour is still not at all worth the price…or effort.
To my knowledge, Linderhof is not reachable by public transportation, but easily accessible by car. If you are driving, fear not: wintery roads are cleared away, and large signs point you in the right direction.
Neuschwanstein Castle, or the Sleeping Beauty Castle is a big attraction, and getting there is much simpler. It is also nearby to another large castle, Hohenschwangau, and the two can be toured with the purchase of one ticket. Each tour is about 45 min.* and available in several languages. If you speak a language a Guide doesn’t, electronic guides are available.
From the town of Alpsee, tickets, guides, souvenirs, etc. are sold from one ticket office—for both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. From Alpsee, the castles are available by foot or by horse-drawn carriage. It’s about a 45-minute walk, uphill in the snow (at least, during December) to Walt Disney’s inspiration (and I hear the same for it’s neighbor as well).
Sure, it’s pretty. No one can deny that it is pretty. But the interior is unfinished and the rooms that are: less than breathtaking. Opulent, guilded, a bit over-the-top to be sure, and absolutely worth the trip, but, I wasn’t amazed. A little part of me wasn’t changed—now demanding from that day forth a better “piece of the pie” for myself. It was just a series of pretty rooms—rooms that no one is allowed to photograph (with or without a flash, folks). I was allowed to take photos from the castle windows of the surrounding views and landscaping—a small consolation.
I slept when I could on the way home, but the Portuguese grandma sitting next to me wanted to play with her precocious (read: annoying) grandchildren**, and the seats in the coach (of which there were none to spare or spread out in) were incredibly uncomfortable.
Back in Munich, I walked down the street and grabbed a small pizza from, where else? Pizza Hut. Apparently, it is “how America does pizza.” I am not a Pizza Hut fan. I have never been a Pizza Hut fan, and it wasn’t exactly the meal I was craving, but it was close to the Yaager, hot, and—most importantly—cheap. I went to bed early. Another night of five snoring roomies, including smelly-footed Italian guy, two American frat boys, and a really drunk trashy party favor the frat boys brought in—I’m not sure if she actually paid for the bed she slept in but she was SKANKY and none of my male roomies were gonna see her go.

*Beware, a friend recently visited Neuschwanstein and was taken on a 30 min. tour.
**Grandma, grandchildren and parents. All dressed in leather, fur, and a rainbow of colors. They were always the last ones on the bus after each stop, and we were crunched for time due to their dawdling.


Blogger Megan said...

Why is it the stuff we are always the most excited to see turns out to be disappointing?

4:07 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Because anticipation is almost always bigger than reality.

6:00 PM  

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