Today Sharon and I took a tour out 2 hours away from Munich to the foot of the German Alps to see Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle - the most amazing castle in existance. We took two trains to Fusen, and then packed into a waaay over crowded bus to the base of the alps to start our tour and our hike up the mountain.
At the alps we had to take an easy hike up the mountain for a ways. It was a consistent incline the whole time, but it wasn't steep and it was either paved or gravel the whole time. So after completing the bulk of the hike we all met up again at a split it in the path, and from there headed across to Mary's Bridge.
Mary's Bridge (named after Ludwig's mother, not the Virgin Mary, making it the only thing named Mary that is not named after the Virgin Mary in Germany) is really cool. it is a small wooden bridge, reinforced by iron, that stretched across from one alp to the other almost 100 meters above a small waterfall and river. And looking out from the middle of the bridge you get the most amazing view of the castle. And a word about the bridge itself... obviously it has not collapsed to date so it can handle the weight, but it was really cool feeling and even seeing the wooden planks of the bridge bow and bend with everyone walking on it. It just felt like it could collapse at any time, it was awesome.
So we walked back to the path split and headed along the edge of the mountain around to the other side and took the path up to the castle itself. The castle is so exactly like fairy tale castles, you can see how they are all influenced from this single castle. We walked into the courtyard through the main gateway and listened to the tour guide some more until we got into the castle itself. Unfortunately you aren't allowed to take any pictures inside, and while I got one picture at the beginning they were very strict about it. But trust me when I say, the inside of this castle is amazing.
The rooms (that are finished, there are many rooms just not finished because they never finished the castle) are so ornate and intricately detailed. For example: It took four wood carvers four years to finish the woodwork in his bedroom alone. The inside of the castle was just breathtaking.
So after finishing inside the castle, we headed back down and then took the more scenic path back down to the tour meeting point. We got back on the bus, then back on the trains, and then back to the hostel. We met up with Dave and Jen again and then with two Canadian girls they were hanging out with in the hostel while we were gone and we went back to the Hofbrauhaus to watch the USA World Cup game and eat dinner. I had a vegetarian mushroom soup meal with bread dumpling things. It was awesome. And the US team played like garbage and lost. That was not so awesome, but it's okay because I don't really care. So after that we came back to the hostel, and now it is off to sleep because tomorrow we are heading out to Dachau, the concentration camp closest to Munich.