On the way to Fussen we followed a road called the Romantic Road (Romtischer Strasse in German) which takes you through a series of towns from Rothenburg to Fussen.
One of the bigger towns (more of a city in fact) along the road is Ausberg. We stopped there to have a look at the markets and shops and we came across this lovely Italian Deli Owner. He stopped me, Molly and Emily to offer us a taste of some cheese and by the time Kerrie caught us up (she was lagging behind as usual) he had us suckered into trying olives, pesto and cheeses. He was teaching the girls how to pronounce the various items in Italian. One of the pesto’s we tried was a white truffle pesto. First time I had tried white truffles and the taste is very strong and distinctive – also very nice so I can understand the desire for this delicacy – we didn’t buy any however as it was the only thing in the deli with no price tag, we just assumed it would be very expensive. He was a good salesman however and we walked away with a range of anti-pesto for lunch!!!
To go with the anti-pesto we stopped at a string of bakeries in the market and got a range of German breads. Kerrie had introduced me to black bread before in Australia but the range in Australia is very limited. At the bakeries we were able to get a range of breads (varying in different darkness’s) where the loaves are about the size of a croissant. Emily and Molly very much liked the lighter of the black breads which they had with the cheese and wild garlic leaf spread that we had bought earlier. The wild garlic leaf is a find that I have not seen in Australia and will hunt out on our return. It is about twice the size of a spinach leaf and has a very distinct garlic taste. Molly’s advice however, if you ever get to try some, is have a breath mint on hand for afterwards!!!
The reason for visiting Fussen was to see the famous castle Neuschwanstein (left pic) and Hohenschwangau (right pic). Neuschwanstein is said to be the castle that inspired Waltz Disney in the design of the Disneyland Castles.
Hohenschwangau Castle is the original castle in the area and is not as fantasy in its appearance as Neuschwanstein as it was the main castle that the Royal Family lived in. Neuschwanstein was built by Ludwig II who was a fan of Wagner and Neuschwanstein was built as a monument to Wagner’s operas.
We did Hohenschwangau on the Thursday afternoon and I would recommend doing it first. It is not as popular so the tour group was much smaller and they gave you a lot of information on the background and history of the royal family which helps when you visit Neuschwanstein. The Neuschwanstein tour group was huge and given that we are there in low season it could only get worse. As a result they rush you through and don’t give you much detail on the castle. It is a beautiful castle and fantasy is the only way to describe it – completely impractical to live in and use.
We took a horse and carriage ride up to Neuschwanstein which was good fun and saved the half hour of walking – we felt guilty so walked down. When I was on the internet organising the holiday there were a lot of two day packages offering hotel, dinners and the horse and carriage ride – my suggestion is do not go for any of those offers as they are not good value. It was far more cost effective and just as easy organising the various things once we were there. Also we stayed at Fussen at Hotel Wiedemann (thanks to Glassocks) which was a modern place with nice size rooms – breakfast was a bit disappointing however. The castles are a few minutes drive out of Fussen. I do not recommend staying at any of the hotels out near the castles as there is nothing out there and it is better to be in walking distance to Fussen itself.
The big treat while at Fussen was SNOW!!! It snowed and snowed and the girls loved it. We have never seen snow flakes so big and the kids ran around and had a great time – they even made a snow Charlie (instead of snow man – Charlie is our little dog which they are missing very much).
For dinner in Fussen I also got to try Schwinehaxen – which is boiled pigs knuckle, sauerkraut, and fried dumpling. This is a common Bavarian meal and all I can say is that it was an experience. Thank god for plenty of German beer as you need it to help wash down this dish!!! I am starting to get use to buying beer by the litre – very simply you order a beer and they ask you if you want it big or small. That wording just means you cannot order a small one therefore you get a litre of beer in one bloody big mug!!!
With respect to food Emily has really taken to the large pretzel’s that you can get here. She was really in heaven when in Salzburg she discovered a large pretzel with ham and cheese topping.