After leaving Bacharach we headed down to Füssen which would be our home base for the next three days. We took the regional train (MRB) out of Bacharach to Bingen where we changed to the high speed rail (IC) to Stuttgart Hof (main station). The IC train was really nice. Each car was sectioned into little seating compartments for up to 6 people. (remember the movie Trading Places?) With Max and all our luggage we filled up one for just us, which was no problem.
After arriving in Stuttgart we went down to the Hertz rental car counter and that's where things got interesting. Apparently my drivers license had expired last April! Huh, who knew. I never got anything in the mail about it, so it never occurred to me to check. It wasn't a big deal to switch the car over to Jeremy's name, so we did that, but it also meant that I couldn't drive in Germany. (I think they frown on driving in a foreign country on an expired license).
In Füssen we stayed at Mein Leiber Schwan in the Leda apartment. It was really nice. We were on the top floor, which was sometimes a pain with the stroller and carseat, but well worth it. We had a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and outside rooftop balcony. Best of all, it was our cheapest stay over the whole trip, 82E/night.
Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau
The next day we headed to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau (King Ludwig's childhood home next to Neuschwanstein). We did the combo tour pass which included the Hohenschwangau Castle at 8:55am followed by a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle at 10:50. We took Max in the baby bjorn again and he did really well. He basically slept through Hohenschwangau and only woke up a little at the end of Neuschwanstein. To make the timing work, we fed him right before leaving the apartment and then again during the break between the tours. We also decided to walk up to Neuschwanstein and take the carriage down because the lines for the carriage and the bus to go up were really long. Plus, by this point we really needed some exercise.
I'm really glad we toured both castles because there is quite a bit of background history as part of the Hohenschwangau Castle tour that helps set the stage for Neuschwanstein.
We also had a chance to hike up to Mary's Bridge above Neuschwanstein before the rain started. It offers a beautiful view of the valley as well as the view of the castle you see above.
After touring the castles, we headed to Oberammergau. We got really lucky because we were able to do both castles and the bridge before the rain hit, but unfortunately it rained our whole time in Oberammergau.
Although we had planned on touring Linderhof the same day as the other castles and Oberammergau, it was already a long day and with the rain we decided to just head home. That night we ate a very late dinner in Füssen at Cafe Relax. The beer here was decent but the Flammkuchen and salad was delicious (finally some salad!).
The next morning the weather turned nice and stayed beautiful for the rest of the trip. We spent the morning walking around Füssen, enjoying the little town, walking through the park, and having breakfast at the french market. Although we originally planned on taking only the frame stroller and using the car seat all the time, we were really happy that we changed to the City Mini GT at the last minute. The wheels were better on the cobblestone and Max was so much more comfortable being able to lay down to sleep and sit up to look around. Plus, after several very long car rides due to major construction, he was not happy about being in the carseat.
That afternoon we headed to Linderhof. We again used the baby bjorn to tour the castle and worked it so that I would feed him, tour the castle and grounds, then return to the car to feed him again. Occasionally I did feed him while we were out and about, but since I had brought the travel boppy with us, it was much nicer to feed him using that when possible.
After Linderhof we stopped in Reutte for dinner. We ate at the Alpenhotel Ernberg for a very nice meal. Once again Max enjoyed the padded bench very much which allowed Mommy and Daddy a chance to eat a grown up meal.
Our last morning in Füssen we stopped by the Tegelberg Gondola and Luge. Jeremy and I had fun taking turns on the luge course while the other one watched Max. FYI the minimum ride age is 3 years and if you want to let it rip, you should go early. We got a 6 ride pass to split and our first runs were better because there were less people on the track. They want you to go pretty close to each other but you should wait at the top as long as possible before going. There were a few runs that we caught up with other very slow riders, especially if they are riding with kids. The videos look slow, but you're actually going at quite a clip. (you can hear the cows with their bells in the background)
After we played around on the luge we took the gondola up to the top. If we would have had more time we would have definitely taken the opportunity to hike one of the trails down, but because we wanted to get started on the drive to Salzburg we did a round trip and ate lunch at the top and walked around. There is a large flat area where people line up to launch off the mountain on their hang gliders or with large parachutes. Fortunately for Jeremy we had Max with us and no babysitter to watch him, cause you know we would have been doing that!
The view from the top was amazing!
After Tegelberg it was off to Salzburg...
(continue to part III HERE)