Monday, July 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Castles or Two Tales to Tell

This post will be made in two parts since I had a totally different day than Bob, Justin and Hayley.  
In the middle of the night, even with my homemade "Nyquil" I managed to have a coughing fit that kicked the stuffing out of me.  It closed up my throat like asthma and I proceeded to cough and wheeze painfully trying to get some air into my lungs.  It hurt and it scared both Bob and I.  Needless to say, the next morning I woke up exhausted and in no mood to go hiking about the castles and the hills on which they both sit.  I elected to stay home and do laundry as there was a washing machine in our apartment at Casa Patrizia. 
Bob and I then drove up to the market we'd seen the night before and got the makings for a couple of breakfasts, lunches and dinner. 
After breakfast and assuring Bob that things would be written in English, they took off for the day.  I proceeded to try to figure out how to make the washing machine work.  Unlike other places we'd stayed on this trip, there was no notebook with instructions for appliances, good restaurants, etc.  I began pushing buttons in random sequence to elicit some type of reaction other than to simply reset the length of time for the wash cycle.  I had to go down to fetch our landlady for assistance.  She indicated that they had lost the paperwork for the machine.  She proceeded to punch away at the panel, indicating that two buttons needed to be held down simultaneously to get it to start.  Eventually, she found the correct two and it started.  I then tried to sleep but there were was a little girl outside next door playing in her inflatable swimming pool which involved a bit of squealing.  
The first load finished and I hauled everything out and draped it over the drying rack that Hayley had noticed on the backporch.  I then started a second load of laundry successfully guessing the correct two buttons (or maybe two other buttons that also worked).  I have no idea what cycle it actually ran since it was in German. 
Again, I tried napping and reading.  This is the period of time where I learn why the apartments are called Casa Patrizia.  The owner's daughter's name is Patrizia.  I heard her calling her daughter in the back yard.  I also know that it was Patrizia's birthday because over the next few hours, about a half dozen little girls were dropped off and they all began to play in the pool in "our" backyard.  The tip off came when they sang "Happy Birthday" in German.  More squealing, some crying, a game involving a metal mixing bowl clanging on the cement and no nap.  :(
Eventually Bob and the kids returned from a busy day and we had salad with sliced chicken breast for dinner.  As we ate, we all shared our day with each other.  
Their version of the same day:  (Photos courtesy of Hayley and Bob)
First they went to Hohenschwangau, the older of the two castles.  This castle is finished in comparison to Neuschwanstein.  It was the childhood residence of Ludwig II and the walls were decorated with romanticized paintings of medieval times.  This artwork had a profound influence on young Ludwig and predisposed his later interest in Wagner's operas.
After they toured the first castle they headed over towards Neuschwanstein stopping to eat their lunch on a convenient bench along the way.  During lunch they watched the many horse-drawn carriages hauling the lazy tourists back and forth between the parking and the castles on the hill top.   They also saw a man whose job seemed to be cleaning up after the horse.  The description indicates that he wasn't very effective at his job.  
After waiting for their appointed tour time at Neuschwanstein our intrepid trio was rewarded with a fine tour of this castle.  This castle was Ludwig's biggest project but was never finished as he drowned mysteriously in a nearby lake before it's completion.  The fact that Ludwig was draining Bavaria's fiscal resources to build this castle and several others is suggested as one of the reasons for his untimely death.  Hayley says it was totally awesome.  Bob says it was "the bomb".   Do you see the level of cooperation I am getting here?
Apparently the tour guide made a bigger impression than the castle itself. Also of note was that they were not allowed to take pictures although many on the tour thought they were being clever by taking pictures surreptitiously.  Neuschwanstein's other claim to fame is that unlike other tourist attractions that run you through the gift shop on the way out, it had TWO gift shops that you went through on the way out.  
Then they walked up to the Marienbrucke up behind the castle.  The construction of the bridge gave Hayley second thoughts about walking on it.  They walked out on it to take pictures of the waterfall.  It is a great place for a perfect shot back at the castles.  
Afterwards they walked back down to the river, took off their shoes and cooled off in the ice cold, rushing waters.  This is where Bob decided to temporarily misplace his glasses in the water; luckily they didn't wash away in the current.  Further exploration found the flume that channeled water to power an old sawmill.  
They also spent a considerable amount of time making rock art along the river.  The landscape will never be quite the same again.
They then followed the bread crumb trail back to the car and rushed home to check to see how I was doing and coincidentally to eat dinner.  We then watched The Brothers Grimm on DVD and crashed for the night. 

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