Thursday, March 30th
Right now Sher and I are parked at the bottom of the famous Neuschwanstein castle (built more than 150 years ago but never fully completed), close to the older castle that “mad king” Ludwig II grew up visiting, called Hohenschangau. It’s pretty late in the afternoon so there’s no more tickets to go up by carriage and enter the castle. Sher just yelled at me because I won’t get him the water bottle from the trunk… even though he’s standing outside and I am sitting in the car. He keeps reminding me of the time that he got me tissues when I was already in bed! Haha I guess these are the types of marital fights you have when you spend every minute together on such a long trip.
This morning in Munich I felt like I had been haunted again… crazy nightmares and not being able to sleep. It’s been a theme for me so far on this trip. So I was tired in the morning and decided to wait in the hotel lobby with our bags while Sher found some sunglasses and went to get our next rental car, which he didn’t end up liking as much as the BMW. We are starting to realize that we’ll need toiletries for our stay at the school in Tanzania (no more fancy hotels for a while!) so I took all the little shampoos and products that I could since they had nice products at this hotel. At the next hotel, I’ll steal a roll of toilet paper since I read in the volunteering brochure that you have to bring your own. So now we’ve stocked up on most of the things we’ve been missing… Peter helped us find a keyboard for the iPad so I can finally start a trip blog (my laptop’s middle row still isn’t working) and Sher finally has his sunglasses. I also still may need replacement hiking shoes if we decide to do the Mount Kilimanjaro climb.
On the way to Neuschwanstein, we stopped at a highly rated placed called Gasthaus Limm Eugene Metzgerei in a town close to the highway. The waitress who was dressed in a very German outfit (ruffles, embroidery, and ample cleavage!) spoke perfect English and Sher ended up ordering the four-course lunch based on her recommendation. Yummy.
When we finally made it to Neuschwanstein too late to take a carriage, I opted out (the boot would make it a slow hike) but encouraged Sher to go since I had been before and it’s a must-see while you’re in Bavaria. A lot of famous castles are based on it’s design, like the Disney castle at the beginning credits of their movies. Also the same castle that they have in their theme parks, but in mini version of course.
It’s really amazing when you research all about the king who built it and the level of detail that was put into it. King Ludwig II of Bavaria (apparently an artistic and very eccentric guy) spent a LOT of his own money on castles and wasn’t very well-liked since he wasn’t into politics and was pretty anti-social. But he was passionate about the opera and had scenes from operas painted on the walls of Neuschwanstein’s rooms. I was excited to see it again but only if I could go inside again, which I think we were too late for. It was never fully completed because he died before it could happen and since it was incredibly expensive, no one else wanted to finance it. But the parts that you do get to see are breathtaking, considering how long ago it was built. I guessed that it would take Sher about 1.5-2 hours to return so I ended up walking around the gift shops and fighting through the thick crowds from the Chinese tour bus that had stopped there.
Next stop- Schloss (schloss means castle) Elmau, a famous spa resort that both Peter and Martin were impressed that Sher had found. We arrived around 6pm or so and it was just like a dream pulling up- it looks like a huge mansion from the front but it’s actually a huge resort surrounded by nothing else but green grass and mountains. The service was incredible right from the start and the whole place is warm and smells fresh like a spa plus there were so many little extras waiting for us in the room like colourful robes, embroidered slippers, chocolate and fruit assortments, and free fridge snacks. I loved it the first night already and I wanted to write a review but little did I know how much better it would get.