Germany & Italy [2003]

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day 2 [] july 16, 2003 [] Munich, Germany

It is Wednesday. We awoke at 5 am, trying to reach the 6:23 train to München (Munich). We ended up one train later, which wasn't so bad. Our final destination, München required a train change. Jon realized that he forgot his German book back in first class (which was where we mistakenly sat at the beginning). He dropped all his bags and ran to the other end of the train. We did not specify a plan, so I proceeded to pick up both his bags on my arms and tried to follow him to prevent from getting too separated. I slowly got down the aisle past 4 seats when I realized that my plan was not feasible with over 80 pounds of bulky added weight. I then had to cram my way past the 4 seats and now through people that were entering the train. I finally got off the train and walked the direction Jon had walked on the train. When I saw him coming towards me, I stopped and started giving him the "you need to apologize for leaving your book thus making me carry 80 pounds" look. We had originally thought Jon could make it to get the book and get back to carry the bags. Oh well.

When we arrived in München, we needed to find a hotel and information on how to get to Neüschwanstein Schloss (castle). We found the tourist information place, who got us a hotel and informed us that we had a little less than an hour to catch the train to Neüschwanstein. We ran to our hotel, check in, and while Jon was asking the concierge about the castle and calling for tickets, Lisa was trying to open the room door, key word = trying. See, Lisa was going to save time by getting into the room to fill water bottles and drop off her bag. When Jon arrived to the room to drop his bag off (the one Lisa said she was going to take to the room when she went) , Lisa was still trying to get into the room. Jon was able to open the door (first try it should be mentioned). We made it to the train on time.

On the train we met some girls from Kentucky. They were trying to get to the castle also. We did really know how to get there. We took the train to Büchloe, then from there to Füssen (Jon thinks it's fun to say that). From Füssen we took a bus to Neüschwanstein. On the way Jon and Lisa were talking, and Lisa saw out the window the castle, at the same time other gasped, and Lisa made some noise also. The castle (schloss) is high off the mountain and simply put awesome, no other words come to mind to describe it (maybe majestic).

It was so hot this day. Lisa was starting to get cranky because she was hot and hungry. She went to the bathroom which cost €.30. Her money belt doesn't really fit and she was hot so she took it off and hung it on the hook in her stall. After she was doe, she left the stall and discovered the water in the sink was so cold and refreshing and drank some. With renewed cheerfulness she left the bathroom just in time to catch the shuttletruck thing up the mountain with Jon.

On our way up we saw another castle that was not as majestic but still cool. We decided we would try to experience everything as fast as we could, so we could see both castles. At this point we had to walk down a little to get to where the castle was located. As we journeyed down, we took some pictures and then continued on our way when Lisa realized as she touched her waist that she didn't have her money belt. She had committed the cardinal sin of international travel. She had left her money belt with passport somewhere. She apologized to Jon for her error and ran back up the hill to catch a tram back down.

She was on the tram praying to God that a nice person found her money belt and turned it into the information office right next to the bathroom. "God be good to me." The verse "Be anxious for nothing but in everything through prayer and supplication let your request be made known to God" Phillippians 4:6 came to her mind, and she had peace about the situation. Even if the money belt was not found, there was nothing she could do, and God would provide. In the bus though, she began to feel nauseous because she had just ran up a hill and had no water, and it was a windy road.

By the bus exit, there was a sign that said "Beware of pickpockets" in different languages and that you should keep things/personals close at all times. At this point though Lisa had such peace that a nice person returned it to the information office that she simply saw the irony in the situation. She go off the tram and realized that the thing she took down the mountain, which was a lot larger than the other shuttle, also dropped her off in a different place.

Not knowing where to go she headed down the street. She found the information office, which wasn't too far away. When she walked in, the man at the counter looked and said, "I thinks you're looking for something." Everything was still in the money belt, and the man said, "You don't know how lucky you are." Lisa said she had been praying, and he repeated his remark again. Then she sat at the corner waiting for shuttle that Jon and she took earlier. It was taking awhile, so she asked God if she should walk up to the other bus stop and get ice cream on the way because she was so parched. The answer or the inclination she got was to head up the hill.

The ice cream was delicious, and when Lisa was almost to the bus stop, she saw a sign showing the way to the castle and the way to buy tickets, and it clearly stated that tickets could not be bought at the castle. Jon and she did not have tickets, so she headed back down to buy tickets.

At the ticket place, Lisa thought all she had was the small bag of coins Jon had given her, so she started to walk away from the ticket counter and out the door when she realized that she had money with her passport. She bought the tickets and waited in line for the shuttlebus, which took 30 minutes to arrive. She ran back to Jon and proclaimed the news that she had got tickets and the whole story. God provided. We weren't able to see both castles, but we were able to see Neüschwanstein.

Neüschwanstein was spectacular. You weren't allowed to take pictures inside the castle. The tour guide was a German lady speaking in English, which added an extra touch. King Ludwig II of Bulvaria built 3 castles from 1868-1886 when he died, drowned the day after the people voted to remove him from office for mental incapacity. The entire castle is the original artwork. Ludwig called the castle Neüschwanstein because he built it on the site of a previous sanctified king's castle called Schwanstein. Ludwig's was Neüschwanstein.

There was stoned-carved molding at each of the doorways. The view from the castle was amazing - a lake with surrounding farmland and mountains, lush and green, on all horizons. Inside, Ludwig made sure to not put any images of himself. He actually never finished the castle because he died. One room was a dome - the throne room. He finished it, all but the throne. The floor's artwork was designed with over a million tiles. The wall behind the throne had the 12 apostles - 6 on the left and 6 on the right - looking over the king. Above that were the exalted kings, sanctified. Above them was Jesus, up in the dome - King of Kings.

Ludwig's bedroom was amazing. He hired 6 woodcarvers who worked for 4 years just carving his throne-like reading chair, bed frame, the sink, the walls, and ceiling. The doors blended into the walls so that when they were shut you couldn't see them. The sink poured pure mountain water that Ludwig had piped from the top of the mountain and poured through a swan's beak.

The kitchen was state-of-the-art for his time. In the throne room there was a 2 ton chandelier that needed 6 strong men to lower when they needed to light the candles. One hallway-type room had a lounge where he enjoyed reading. The walls were painted with men swordfighting. One of the walls had a canvas painting, the entire wall. All the artwork was from Wagner's plays.

His music room was outstanding. It had balconies all around. In the front, behind the pillars, the walls are painted like the forest around the castle of the Holy Grail.

Just as we were going to leave, a lightning storm hit. It was right over the castle. Jon made Lisa watch some. She's afraid of lightning. (Lisa says not afraid of lightning unless there is a chance of electrocution. She is startled by the thunder, not afraid, just spastic and jumping. Loud noises startle her. We decided to start walking down the road to the bottom of the hill in the rain. This was rain - big, fatty drops. Our frontsides were soaked when we decided to stop and eat at this little cafe. Lisa got turkey steak, and Jon got the spicy spaghetti. We waited till the rain stopped, then walked down the hill.

We took the next train to Füssen, and we checked out what time the train came. The next train that went to Büchloe left 22:07, which meant we would need to wait in the rain for over 2 hours. We took the train to Bissenhouf, which left at 20:03 then got on a train there that went to Büchloe. We ended up in München shortly after when we would have left Füssen if we had waited for the other train.

We then returned to Hotel Daniel in very little rain at all.

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