Merry little kinglet: Germany Part 3

On our third day in Germany the family headed outside of Munich to check out a few castles. Despite the overcast sky, the Bavarian countryside was stunning. Seriously. Go to Bavaria. It's amazing.

The Germans are quite environmentally friendly; even farmhouses in the middle of nowhere have solar panels! There are tons of wind turbines too. And people bike everywhere, even in the middle of nowhere. The bikers also just stop to gaze at things--it's not all about getting to their destination. As a result of all this environmentally friendly behavior, the sky is bluer, the air is crisper and the plants are abundant. Did I mention that you should go to Bavaria? Because you should totally go to Bavaria.

Finally we wound up at the village of Hohenschwangau where Neuschwanstein is located. There's another castle right by Neuschwanstein called Hohenschwangau Castle. We sprang for a double ticket which gave us a tour of both castles. The only way into either castle is to take a guided tour. Our first guided tour was Hohenschwangau.
The castle was stunning! We had plenty of time to explore the gardens and terraces before the tour (they weren't included in the tour). Being our family we also took the time to stop and check out a giant slug along the side of the trail leading up to the castle. Dad also made up a story about the merry little kinglet that once lived in the castle (apparently Ludwig II lived there as a child briefly). The story was definitely in lyrical form which just made it that much more fun. 
After Hohenschwangau we rushed over to Neuschwanstein to make our next tour. The castle is way up on a mountain. While you can walk there we weren't sure if we had the hour+ necessary for the hike. Instead we hopped a ride on a horse & carriage! Riding a carriage up to the castle that inspired Cinderella's castle is quite the magical experience.

Here's the funny thing about Neuschwanstein. It's stunningly gorgeous from far away. I mean, just simply breathtaking. But then you get up close....and it's kind of dull. I was quite underwhelmed once we got close.

Thankfully the interior of the castle quickly replaced that underwhelmed feeling with one of amazement. We couldn't take pictures inside either castle but I did manage to find one here:
I KNOW. Crazy. Just stare at the picture of the throne room for a while. There's not much else I can add.

Once we were done, we made a brief stop in Oberammergau. I do wish we'd had more time there; the city is so beautiful and peaceful. It's definitely one of those places you go for a quite weekend escape.
After Oberammergau it was back to Munich for dinner at Augustiner. When you're in Munich GET AUGUSTINER BEER. It's amazing. Even my mom & sister, two non-beer drinkers, loved it. It's only brewed and sold in Munich. They have a beer garden in Munich which is more than worth a meal. There are two sections: the beer garden & the restaurant. The beer garden portion is just long wooden picnic tables. We sat in the restaurant portion, which was just beautiful. The food is delicious as well. 

That reminds me: skip dinner at Hofbrauhaus. Everyone we spoke to said the food was horrible & to eat at Augustiner instead. It's worth popping in just to see but I wouldn't recommend a full meal. After dinner we popped into Hofbrauhaus to see the oompa band play. One thing struck me about the two beer gardens: the difference in clientele. Hofbrauhaus was filled to the brim with drunk Americans (mostly college students). Augustiner had its tourists. It also had a lot of locals. The best bit of information I've learned throughout my many travels? Eat where the locals eat. You'll get better food at better prices. Trust me. It's almost always worth the trek out of major tourist areas. 
I promise I'll finish up all these posts eventually!! We're all done with Munich now; Salzburg & Vienna are up next!

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