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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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 is a beautiful city, but we really came here for one reason only. The Sound Of Music Tour!
We were also able to indulge in the local dessert the Salsburg Nockern (A meringue type top with berries underneath). Yum!
We had lots of fun in Vienna. The pictures can really say it all.
Schonbrunn Palace…The Imperial summer palace for the Habsburg monarchs.
Time Travel Vienna. We learned a lot about the history of Vienna in a really fun and engaging way.
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.
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.
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!
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!