Monday, April 8, 2013

Easter in Germany

We really debated about what do do during Easter... Cole had Monday off, so we wanted to take advantage of the three-day weekend and travel somewhere... We are running out of time to see all of the things we want to squeeze in during our last few months! The forecast for a few places we considered in Italy was rainy and the forecast for Germany - snowy. The weather in Como was gorgeous - so it actually would have been a great weekend to stay put... After MUCH debating, we decided to hit the road for Germany, booked our hotel only the Tuesday before (I know.. procrastination!) and it wound up being a really nice, although snowy, trip. In total, the drive was around 4 1/2 hours - with lots of traffic on the way up, so we took some smaller blacktop roads at the end of the trip. Our blacktop detour was gorgeous and green! We drove through Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria and into Southern Germany to visit the famous Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.

Neuschwanstein Castle - the inspiration for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. 
Hohenschwangau Castle - basically nextdoor to our hotel...
Our hotel offered a two-night package that included tickets to enter both castles, a carriage ride to the Neuschwanstein castle and a five-course dinner... It wound up being a great deal and a huge relief to have the castle tickets taken care of - we met a German man who was on his third trip to the area and had never been able to get into Neuschwanstein because of tickets being sold out. Added bonus - we could see Hohenschwangau Castle from the window in our room... kind of magical. :)

Carriage ride up to Neuschwanstein Castle... 
The view behind our carriage... lots and lots of snow!

Eva likes to say, "snow" but did not like walking in it... 
Easter Sunday was the day of both tours and it snowed all. day. long. We may or may not have had a bit of an Eva-meltdown on our carriage ride back down from Neuschwanstein... Not so magical. The girl was hungry, tired and cold all at once. We were those parents. Yep... The castle tours themselves were meh - ok... They were only 30 minutes each, and probably could have been twice as long and more detailed. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside the castles for "copyright" reasons... Grr. So everything was a bit commercialized, which was a tad annoying... However, we are so glad we went!

It did stop snowing in the afternoon, so we were able to walk up to Hohenschwangau for our second tour and we took a longer walking route back down, a gorgeous path near a lake and on a quiet, winding road back to our hotel..

We learned a lot about crazy King Ludwig. Here are some links with more info about Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. It was a great experience. :) Seeing the castles was pretty amazing - we had a great weekend away and we are so glad we were able to make it for a small peek into Germany while we're here...

We drove home on Monday, but before we left, we walked back up to Neuschwanstein for some more photos! It was sunny and the snow had stopped! Yay!

Now... here comes photo overload! Enjoy!

We LOVED the German beer, too. No surprise there! Yum. :)

From inside Neuschwanstein - awesome views around this castle. It's perched way up high - so scenic all around.

Nightime view from our hotel room, Hohenschwangau all lit up! 
German Easter tradition - lamb cakes...