|Hohenschwangau Courtyard Fountain|
|Burg Stahleck in Bacharach Germany|
We started our trip in the Rhine Valley where there seemed to be a castle on every corner, quite literally. They liter the banks of the Rhine as they overlook what was the major shipping channel of the age. Today they've been turned into magnets for tourism, hotels, some are hostels and a quite a few are just left as ruins. No matter, we loved them all and could not get enough of them. At least in the beginning. Absolutely every one we saw would be a shout out "oh! look another castle!" We'd pull over, and start snapping away. Several of the them ended in muddy back roads that led to nowhere as the castle didn't have a road and wasn't receiving the hoards of tourists.
|Hohenschwangau Swan Fountain|
|Neuschwanstein in the distance|
We did end our travels along the Romantic road in Fussen as we thought it would make more sense to stay overnight near the castles vs. trying to do a day trip from Munich. Which is smart if you want to visit this area. However, be warned this is hands down the most touristy location of our entire trip. We honestly had no idea it was. Upon arrival we were swarmed with bus loads of tourists coming in for the day (presumably from Munich). And while we arrived at noon, tickets (yes you must buy a ticket to tour a castle) were completely sold out for the day. The lines were long with waiting times of several hours. We decided that since we were there, we would bite the bullet and try for tickets the following morning. Highly recommend this strategy since you cannot reserve in advance.
|The hike up to Hohenschwangau|
|Hohenschwangau Two Swan Fountain|
Due to its secluded location, the castle survived both WWI and WWII. In addition the Nazis used it as a hidden depot for plunder taken from wealthy Jews. Hitler's dream was to create a "Furhrermuseum" with an estimated 5 million pieces of artwork and cultural items he had stolen which included masterpieces from artists like Michelangelo, da Vinci and Vermeer. In April of 1945, the SS considered blowing it up to prevent the building and the artwork falling into enemy hands, but was in the end surrendered to Allied forces. Clearly, we enjoyed touring the many castles and learning more about the history behind each one. They all have stories to tell.