Out in Bavaria, Austria, and Budapest

After our time in Switzerland, we rented a car again and drove through Bavaria, into Austria and took a train into Hungary.  We were moving pretty quickly through this period so I thought I would combine this part of our journey into one post and give you the highlights of each stop.

The Castle Road in Germany

When we planned our trip around the world, Parker’s main thing he wanted to do was stay in a castle and also see castles.  Well, by the end of our time on the castle road, he would hardly look up when we were driving past a castle, we had seen so many.  Germany (especially central Germany and Bavaria) is full of them.  Almost every town had a sign for Schloss (Castle) Something.  It was really cool to see all the castles though and we were able to stay the night in one again!

Heidelberg Castle

Inside Heidelberg Castle is the world’s largest cask of wine!  It holds over 50,000 gallons!    


We also stopped off in Rothenburg, a quintessential German town, although our route to get there was not exactly direct.  We used our handy GPS to map to Rothenburg from Heidelberg and headed out.  After about an hour drive through beautiful country we arrived in Rothenburg.  We drove around a bit and although it was a fine town, there wasn’t anything special about it.  It took us a little while but finally we realized that we had mapped to the wrong Rothenburg!  Ugh!  Back in the car for another 3 hours and finally we arrived in the right Rothenburg.  It was a little disappointing because we ended up arriving so late that most the shops were closed, but those are the things that sometimes happen when you are travelling.  Although we missed most the shops, we were able to try the famous Rothenburg Schneeballs.

Does this look familiar?  It was said to have inspired the town in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Schneeballs!

After Rothenburg we headed to Schloss Colmberg to stay the night.  It was a really fun experience, with great food, and Tyler made a new friend!

Colmberg Castle.  A great place to stay the night!

Beautiful view from the castle 
The next day we headed South along The Castle Road ending in Innsbruck, Austria late that night.  We saw many castles that day as we drove, with the culmination being our visit to Neuschwanstein Castle.

Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle
Fernsteinsee Castle
Neuschwanstein is a beautiful castle and the one that Walt Disney was said to have based the Sleeping Beauty castle on.  The funny thing is though, it never really functioned as an actual castle.  It was really just for show, which was why it is so beautiful.  It was only built in the late 1800’s by the reclusive King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat.  Parker, who had taken Medieval History last year, was quick to point out all the reasons this would never be an actual castle from Medieval times (the bottom part wasn’t slanted, it didn’t have arrow loops, etc.)  Unfortunately, when we got there it was pouring down rain.  I mean pouring.  We had our tickets to go in with over an hour wait, but everyone was tired and cranky and we heard the tour wasn’t that great anyway, so we bailed on the tour and headed down the hill to our car and drove the remaining way to Innsbruck for the night.

Neuschwanstein Castle
It was rainy and cold and we had grumpy kids

A bright spot on our way down was discovering the delicious treat quarkballchen!  Look how much happier Parker is in this picture!


Innsbruck

Innsbruck is considered the capital of the Alps.  We stayed in a hotel that has been functioning as a hotel since 1483!  Fortunately for us, it has been renovated since then. It was right along the river and near the old town.  We enjoyed exploring the town and had a great time.

Our hotel.  Hotel Mondschein.

The Golden Roof completed in 1500 with 2,738 copper tiles for Emperor Maximilian on his wedding day.
Of course we had to get some authentic apple strudel.  Yum!
A funny story in Innsbruck (well funny for me, not for Jeromy).  We were FaceTime-ing with my brother James and his family one night while walking around old town.  As we stood there talking I smelled a horrible smell.  It was bad!  All of a sudden Parker said “Mom and Dad, look!”  We looked down and saw a huge pile of human feces and Jeromy had stepped in it!  Glamorous Europe right?!  The reason I bring this up is that although Europe is great there are a few things that could be improved upon.  One is their public restrooms situation.  Often, the public restrooms, if they even have any, cost money to enter.  So the homeless people have to use the streets as their bathrooms, which can lead to unfortunate incidents like this one.  As a side note, that is why whenever I smell urine mixed with cigarette smoke it will remind me of Paris :). Don’t worry, I am not going to post a picture!

Having fun in Innsbruck…


Throughout Europe we have seen our fair share of street performers.  In Innsbruck, we saw my favorite one of any I had seen, and they had the best bubble guys!

He has no head…But he’s wearing glasses and a hat!  I found this so incredibly funny!

So excited for the most monster sized bubbles you have ever seen!



Bad Reichenhall Salt Mines

We stopped off on our way to Salzburg at the Bad Reichenhall salt mines in Berchtesgaden.  It was a really awesome tour that took us deep into the mountain to see how they mine out the salt.  We even got to ride down the miner slides.  We all had a lot of fun, learned a lot about how we get our salt, and of course we got to wear some pretty sweet jumpsuits!


Salzburg

Salzburg is a beautiful city, but we really came here for one reason only.  The Sound Of Music Tour!

Across from these crazy kids is the place where the Von Trapp children row up in the boat when there father gets home with the Baroness and then fall in.
Hanging off the trees just like in the movie!
The original gazebo used in the movie.  They do not let you dance around inside like Liesl and Rolf.  Apparently an 80 year old lady fell while she was trying it and now they have shut it off to the public.  Also, in that actual scene in the movie, they recreated the gazebo in California and made it bigger to allow for the dancing.
 

Although we watched the movie together the night before coming on the tour, the boys were not as excited as I was about seeing all the sights.
This picture and the next are of the church Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in

The gardens the children were in while singing “Do Re Mi”
We were also able to indulge in the local dessert the Salsburg Nockern (A meringue type top with berries underneath).  Yum!


We saw where Mozart was born and lived.


And in true Dixson fashion, we found a really fun playground!


Vienna

We had lots of fun in Vienna.  The pictures can really say it all.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Schonbrunn Palace…The Imperial summer palace for the Habsburg monarchs.  

1,441 rooms!
Beautiful gardens

The zoo on the palace grounds has been around for centuries and is the oldest Zoo in the world.  The kids couldn’t help but dab for this picture. (Panda…Panda…Panda…) a frequently played song on our journeys
Twin baby pandas had been born right before we were there.  We didn’t get to actually see them, but they had a live feed that was shown to the public.
A friendly tortoise
This garden maze has been recreated just as it was during the days of the Habsburg dynasty.  It took us a while, but we made it!

Time Travel Vienna.  We learned a lot about the history of Vienna in a really fun and engaging way.


#1 Playground so far on our trip! And we’ve been to a lot of them.

Jeromy and I even joined in on the fun!

Prater Amusement Park…so fun!

5 loops in this roller coaster! It almost made the boys pass out. Pretty intense!

Date night! Jeromy and I had a date night out to a Mozart concert and a wonderful dinner.  It was so nice to have some time to ourselves.

Budapest

We had heard great things about Budapest and after visiting there ourselves we would have to agree with all of the things we heard!  Budapest started as two separate cities, Buda and Pest that were divided by the river and then later combined into one city.  We stayed on the Pest side which is more lively.  The Buda side is nicer and has the castle on it.  At night, the city was glorious.  The buildings were lit up so beautifully and as you walked along the river it felt magical.

Parliament Building
The beautiful Chain Bridge

Buda Castle

During the day we headed to The Central Market for some shopping and to get their famous langos.  They are like an elephant ear, but are traditionally served with sour cream and cheese.  We of course had to get one with Nutella too because…well, just because everything is better with Nutella.

We then headed to the waterpark and thermal baths on Margaret Island.  We had so much fun, but while we were there, I somehow lost a sandal.  Stolen by some one-footed woman I presume ;).  So I had to walk home from the waterpark and ride the subway half barefoot!  Subway floors are never pretty, and Budapest’s were on the sketchier side, but I made it through with no foot diseases to speak of!


The only time we have seen DP in our travels so far. Jeromy was very excited.

Wow!  All that in one week!  We were moving fast.  It is at this point we all started getting really excited to slow down for awhile in our upcoming time in Greece.  But first…Croatia and Montenegro!

 

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