We’ve had two more adventurous days! We awoke yesterday to several inches of snow on the ground, and even more falling from the sky. Though it made the driving slow, we easily made it to our first destination of the day – Neuschwanstein Castle. Commissioned by King Ludwig II, the castle is perched high in the mountains of Germany. It is truly is a fairytale castle – the architecture is lavish, as are the interior decorations. King Ludwig clearly spared no expense in the creation of this castle dedicated to Wagner’s works. The kids enjoyed the tour, but I think they enjoyed the trek up the mountain, and the snowball fight that quickly ensued upon arrival at the castle, even more so. Visiting the castle was magical, but seeing the kids having so much fun playing in the snow, building snowmen, and catching snowflakes on their tongues, was especially wonderful to watch. There’s nothing like seeing teenagers forgetting their self-conscious selves, and finding such happiness in simple pleasures – it seems to rare today to catch them having fun outside of computer games, cell phones and television.
What followed next was a very, very long ride broken up by a short trip to Oberammergau, a small village known for it’s once-a-decade Passion Play, and woodcarving craftsmen. The stop was quick, as the snow was piling up and the driving was slow. The driving was difficult, but our driver, Attila the Hungarian, was magnificent. Though the experience sounds harrowing, it was actually a fun adventure. We played games, talked, and easily found ways to pass the time.
We arrived late in Innsbruck – after 8pm. (We were supposed to be there early afternoon.) After a quick walk through the Altstadt (The Old Town), we made it to Weiner Wald and a filling dinner of chicken nuggets and fries. I highly suspect that Mikey found some way to have our dinners replaced with food from McDonald’s. Given how late it was when we arrived at the hotel, we decided to get to bed early.
It was still snowing when we went to bed, but this morning brought with it clear skies. We woke up with unbelievable views of the Alps that surround Innsbruck. I was so happy to be back here, as I had such a good time that last time Kendra and I were here. I could definitely live in Innsbruck. We trekked out at 7:30am for a short tour of the Altstadt and some exploration of the city. Bonnie related the history of the city as we passed sites such as Emperor Maximillian’s Golden Dachl (roof) and the Hofburg Palace. The city is as beautiful covered in snow as it was in the summer months.
The bus ride to Luzern was breathtaking. The clear skies allowed us a great view of the Austrian and Swiss Alps. We stopped in Lichtenstein for lunch – the entire principality is about the size of Washington, D.C. We arrived in Luzern early, and got some time to explore the city on our own before dinner, which was actually pretty good. Everyone is off exploring more of Luzern – tomorrow morning we leave early for our trek up Mount Pilatus.