... the Allgäu area presented itself in a grey tranquility. Our goal for the day: Neuschwanstein castle, the fairytale-like domicile of Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Once we were parked on the huge parking lot overlooked by Hohenschwangau castle, we slowly took off through the village of the same name.
Past the Alpsee...
... and a rather sleepy collection of houses...
Alongside with huge crowds of other tourists, we started pondering uphill.
Due to its location, the best way to reach it is on foot. Due to the same reason, there is nothing but a couple of suvenir shops at the castle ground itself - no food, not much to see and absolutely nothing to do.
Due to the strictly staggered scedule of visits - one group every 5 minutes, with a ticket being valid for only one particular tour only - you might as well have to buy another ticket if you happen to miss your booked tour. Apart from that, given the time we spent waiting on an ugly March day, the crowds awaiting entrance must be enormous during the more touristic times of the year.
Since we had some time before our tour would begin, we decided to head towards the Marienbrücke above the castle itself to catch one of its most famous views.
After some coughing and puffing on our way uphill, we bumped into another crowd of tourists on the bridge who seemed to be way too busy fighting for the best photo positions to realize the beautiful nature all around.
And despite the building that seems to fascinate young and old, I'd honestly rather spend my time hiking through the wild gorge.
However, we had a scheduled tour to catch and slowly turned around to get back to the castle in time...
... not before awarding the prize for the tourist of the day: random guy shooting selfies on the enge of the abyss, congratulations! Why bother about one's safety when one can risk not only his life but the life of hs rescures, too?
After some more views of Hohenschwangau...
... and some more waiting to get inside...
... it was time for probably the fastest tourist tour I've ever seen: of course, with a new group entering the building every 5 minutes there cannot be much time to focus on the exhibits, but still it felt more like being chased through the halls and gangways.
All in all, we did get a brief explanation in every room on display, only to hurry to the next one right after that. In a more relaxed timeframe, there would probably be a few more thing to look at closely, however, the castle in its entirety felt more like too much of everythng: tons of ornaments, massive furniture and decorations everywhere that - rather than giving a sense of elegance - overfill the rooms and create some kind of artificial fairytale.
And after no more than 30 minutes, we found ourselves outside the castle grounds again.
Is it worth the visit? Considering what they offer and the price they expect, absolutely not. If absolutely necessary, my compromise would be having a look at the castle's outside and then take off for a walk in the surrounding nature.
Soon after the first pasrt of the day was done, it was time to head to another fairytale-like sight: the huge rococo pilgrimage church Wieskirche that somehow seems to be way too glorious to be placed literally in the middle of nowhere.
The rich decorations certainly are impressive to the eye and the church itself bigger than anything one would expect in such a remote area. However, it seems to be a popular sight for tourists anyway.
Is it worth the visit? I would probably not drive through the countryside for an eternity just for the sake of the church, but it's ok to have a look inside in case one happens to be in the region anyway.
~ to be continued ~