We had to travel back to Munich to drop off our rental car. You would not believe how much you can save by dropping a car off in the same location you picked it up!! Roger was happy because it meant getting to drive on the autobahn again and I was excited to make Neuschwanstein castle a stop along the way. Rainy and early, we took off from Lucerne, Switzerland and cut across Austria to get back into Germany. We were amazed how much time this saved us! We were in Austria for literally 45 minutes and the only way we knew we had crossed country lines was by way of an Austrian flag as we crossed a small bridge.
Neuschwanstein Castle is the castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, an anti-social king who built his solitary fortress in the more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau Castle below, which had belonged to his father and where he had spent his childhood. Construction began in 1869 and was completed by 1880. Over this time, King Ludwig (who was actually stripped of his army and no longer a sovereign king) became increasingly withdrawn and all the hospitable rooms in the castle (such as the guest rooms and audience room) were replaced by rooms for only himself. He created a fantasy world for himself where he could be a real king.
Fun fact: The Disney World Castle is modeled in part after Neuschwanstein Castle, hence why it is such a popular tourist attraction. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in myself for getting caught up in the magic. I much preferred visiting Heidelberg Castle because it was older and more historically significant. That being said, it was nice to get some fresh mountain air and experience the scariest bus ride of our lives: our tour bus driver took us to the peak while singing David Guetta's "Dangerous" in a German accent. He embraced the mountain's curves with zero fear and much gusto. Roger loved every second of it; I held onto him for dear life.
We arrived at our lodgings around 6:00pm that night, a room in a home/yoga studio we had scoped out months before our trip. It was actually the first place we reserved during our online planning and the only accommodation we booked through AirBNB. The rest of our stays were either at hotels or resorts. The reason we chose AirBNB was because we knew we would only be there for a short period of time and we didn't want to pay full price for a hotel when we wouldn't even be eating breakfast there. Plus we also wanted to experience local hospitality. This place was close to the Munich airport and had hundreds of positive reviews. The host was a yoga instructor, trained in the US (so we knew she spoke English) and her place was only 20 minutes from the airport.
Her home was something straight outta Pinterest. It had a gated entrance and a large apple orchard out back. You can't see it in the photo, but the left side of the house wrapped around and boasted a huge yoga studio with beautiful rugs and big glass windows. My heart yearned to practice there, but unfortunately she didn't have an evening class that night.
To make things even better, the homeowner had the best cat! I'm more of a dog person on account of having a moody and disinterested cat as a child, but this cat was the sweetest. It didn't purr--it squeaked. It had 7 toes on each paw. It greeted you at the door and nuzzled up to you and followed you up the stairs. It didn't try to bite you when you pet it. I am now officially a believer in cats... or maybe just polydactyl German ones.
This was our very last night in Germany before our cruise adventure and even though we were exhausted from driving through three countries (Switzerland, Austria, and Germany), we wanted to make the most of our last evening there. Our host suggested we dine at a small Bavarian restaurant just down the road from her place.
The place was empty; however, that didn't bother us considering it was a Wednesday. Even though the choice of decor was questionable, I found it quite charming, inviting, and warm. The waitress offered us translated menus and all the entrees looked amazing!
Roger ordered pork Schnitzel and fried potatoes with an impressive salad and I went with chicken Schnitzel with sweet potato fries. We were craving something hearty. It was almost as good as the Schnitzel my Opa makes! Almost. You'll notice in Germany mayonnaise on fries is a common occurrence--they had squeezable Heinz mayo for just that purpose.
Despite having the most gracious host and the comfiest bed, I had the worst sleep that night. Call me crazy but I just couldn't shake the idea of someone maliciously sneaking into our bedroom. The rational side of me felt completely safe having done a ton of research on where we were staying, but a small part of my brain was going bonkers--what if these people have a crazy neighbour? What kind of security system is in place? What if the apples were poisoned? Why didn't we just stay someplace traditional like a hotel with doors that lock? All my irrational thoughts kept me awake until 5am-- the precise time we had to be up for our flight from Munich to Rome. Yes, Roger thought I was silly... he slept like a baby in this beautiful home.
I think I would have felt more comfortable if we had spent the day there and gotten to know our surroundings better before spending the night. I would have LOVED to do a yoga session, had a tea on the veranda, and perused the house a little more.
Today we fly to Rome and board our cruise ship for a tour of the Mediterranean Sea!