Day 51 - 20th Jan
The Korean girl from the Munich hostel came with me to Fussen today. It's funny how many new people you meet whilst traveling. And maybe it's a character flaw but I'm generally very trusting of new people I meet, and usually become friends with most of them. After checkout we got to the train station and loitered for an hour. I had another one of those brilliant sandwiches for breakfast, I also discovered to my delight that they put sunflower seeds on the bread....Mmmmm schmeckt gut.
I slept a lot on the train but when I did wake up I was greeted by the yellow-green fields and towns a few streets wide, but then the first glimpse of the alps and I had to pinch myself. Alps...things I have only seen in movies and on TV and here right in front of me are alps rising to the heavens, speckled with white snow...Wow
Fussen itself is right beneath the alps and it's a really quaint village. I adore quaint villages however Fussen also had it's share of juvenile delinquents. One Turkish boy tried to acoster 5 euros from us because he was taking us to the hostel. He spoke no English and I was playing dumb and kept saying I didn't understand German. Same night my Korean friend was mobbed by some girl saying Konichiwa to her, and she got pretty pissed off but I just laughed. Maybe it's small town syndrome where the kids have absolute shit all to do and are bored out of their minds, so of course it's fun to play with the tourists.
The hostel was a bit B & B like. The man running it was very nice and spoke English very well. We were put into a 4 bed dorm which had a balcony looking directly towards Neuschweinstein. Like OMFG, It's so wonderful I don't think I could leave. After a brief refresher we sought out the bus to the castles. And luckily we found out that we could use the Bayern ticket from the trains on the bus as well score.
There were heaps and heaps of asians on the bus, and in Munich as well, especially Koreans to the utter disgust of my friend ahahah. But on the bus we met 2 Americans who coincidentally where staying in our room. Small world. Anyhoo we got to the castles and headed up towards Neuschweistein. The road up was steep and scattered with horse manure from the carriages that were using it. But the view was just amazing, cameras can't capture it at all. When we got to the castle we were disappointed to find that the small route to the Marienbrucke (A small bridge overlooking the castle) was closed off due to ice and snow. The castle itself is actually unfinished both inside and out and it is not nearly as marvelous as one thinks it is. But rather it's position on a cliffside is deeply enviable and solidifies its status in the annuls of castledom.
Back at Fussen we had Italian for dinner which was hilarious. I ordered minestrone soup and it came out as a clear broth with broccoli, cauliflower and string beans. No tomato? seriously? What part of Italy are you from?
Back at the hostel we discovered that the coin draw for the internet station was unlocked and you could get free internet by putting the same coin repeatedly through the thing. At 5 euros an hour, it was kinda awesome that the drawer was unlocked. The 2 Americans had some massive issues to sort out including lost train tickets to Berlin which were needed the next day and so the free internet was cool, until the owner walks in at around 9pm to check up and sees that the drawer is open. Bum BUM!!!!
So obviously he locks it again, but by the time he goes I pop out my laptop and manage to ethernet it straight to the router. Voila...free net again. I really think governments consider free wireless for everyone. How cool would that be?
Day 52 - 21st Jan
I sent off my Korean friend this morning, she was off to Stuttgart. I came back to the hostel and had a nice nap since I was woken really early by everyone in the room getting ready to leave.
I didn't make it to the castles till 11am. At the ticket booth I considered getting a tour to the inside of both Neuschweinstein (The fairytale one) and Hohenschwangau (the one Ludwig II's parents lived in). Supposedly the latter has more interesting interiors and because I wanted to visit Schwangau later in the day I didn't think I'd have time to do both, especially as I wanted to make it up to Marienbrucke along another route.
So Hohenschwangau was nice, but however the interiors weren't all that interesting and the guide had that slightly weird German sense of humour that rarely makes you laugh but more smile meekly. I was kinda glad I didn't get tickets to the other tour, it really wasn't worth another 40min trek up the moutain. The views were still amazing from Hohenschwangau and I spied the Alpsee which I headed to next.
The alpsee is a huge lake and it was mostly frozen over that morning. I squealed in absolute delight. I have a thing for frozen lakes. I took so many pictures I lost count. I saw a guy walking on the banks, getting rocks and flinging them onto the ice. I'd thought that'll be fun too so I found an opening to the bank and beneath my feet were lots of pebbles big and small. When you fling a rock, it skids across the ice and makes a whipping noise which echoes across the ENTIRE lake. Any noise you make echoes through this amazing acoustic hall. It was so awesome. I spent at least 30 min doing this. But the ice wasn't thick enough to really step on although I had a mighty good time trying to break through the layer near the bank. I tend to find amusement in very simple things.
Anyhoo I had to drag myself away from the alpsee so I could start my trek up towards the marienbrucke, because the route was still closed at the top, I had to take the extra long route normally buses and cars take. It was an exhausting climb but the road was wide and not that icy. But again the view was spectacular and this time I didn't have to deal with the smell of horse crap.
I think 35min I got to the Marienbrucke and fucking hell it was scary. It was an iron reinforced wooden bridge across a ravine which had a waterfall underneath and neuschweintein to the left. It was magnificently gorgeous but I didn't like it when the wooden panels moved ever so slightly on each step. Again pictures nor video could capture the feeling of sheer terror and natural beauty.
On the way back it seemed that everyone who got there had taken the small route from neuschweinstein. Obviously big danger signs and barriers didn't stop them. I though okay why not take that way back. 10 metres later down a very very icy slope I end up hanging for dear life on the railing next to the cliff as my legs slide from beneath me. Suffice to say I learnt my lesson and went back the way I came up. I don't really think I wanted to tempt fate by falling down an alp.
I spent some more time at the alpsee and then decided to head for Schwangau. I was originally going to catch a bus but since it was one every hour I'd thought I'd just walk the 2km. The route was gorgeous and I did a lot of it backwards admiring the open fields, then the castles and the alps. I have never seen anything so devastatingly beautiful in my life.
The reason I wanted to go to Schwangau which is like the next village is because it's on the Forgesee. Since I had a thing for frozen lakes I thought why not. So it was 2km to the city centre but another 1km to the Forgess. I was pretty tired already but decided to press on. So I got to the Forgesee and what happens? It's a mud pile. Seriously I was so fricking disappointed after the alpsee. Anyhow I didn't know if I could get a bus back to Fussen from Schwangau and it was a 3km trek back to the castles but only 3.5km trek to Fussen at my current point. So I thought, what the hell I'll just walk back. So essentially I walked a round trip between 3 villages. It was bloody tiring and then it got dark, I started thinking. Are there serial killers or wolves lurking in the Bavarian woods? And every German goes past on their bikes staring at me going wtf is a lone Asian doing walking in the Bavarian woods?
But luckily I got back to the hostel at one piece and my new room mate was a chick from Minnesota, had a similar sense of humour and used to play ice hockey. I was like Ha dude you're like my new fav pal. So we ended up having a great time at an Asian restaurant (note no distinction between cuisines, it's just ASIAN). It was run by a mini Viet lady who was watching some Viet soap on a laptop at the counter. Then we had cheap ice cream at the Italian restaurant last night.
I walked at least 12km this day. Like I'm still surprised I was moving.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Day 51 - 20th Jan