Today we have Part II of our Germany & Austria trip! After the tour ended, we said goodbye to Philipp, Jennifer & Conrad and rented a car to try out the adventure of driving ourselves around the German countryside. We decided to rent a zippy little BMW (because, when in Germany!) and I’m so glad we did because we needed something with some serious giddy up for driving on the Autobahn. And here we thought I-95 drivers went fast! :)
From Munich, we drove down to the very southern part of Germany to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. Now here’s the crazy part about that! The summer after I finished college, I spent a year studying in England and traveling all around Europe. That year, I had a travel book of Europe with me that had this gorgeous castle on the cover & I always said it would be a DREAM to go there. But I never made it there during my study abroad. And I just never forgot about that castle…it always made me a little sad that I didn’t make it happen to go see it. So when someone suggested we go see Neuschwanstein Castle while we were in Germany, I thought “oh cool, maybe it will be something like that castle on the book” ….but when we got there, it turned out it WAS that castle on the book. When we got back home, I dug through the boxes we have in the basement to find that old travel guide, and sure enough there it was! How crazy is that?!
So we obviously had an amazing time driving up and first seeing it on the hillside, then having lunch at the base of the mountain, and then going by horse-drawn carriage up to the top of it. They call this the “fairytale castle” and supposedly the castle at Disney World is based on it….I think you can see why! It was incredible! SO beautiful!
From there we made the what probably should have been a 6 hour, but we got there in 4 thanks to the Autobahn, drive to Vienna. One of our favorite things to do while traveling abroad is to watch the lastminute.com type sites for the city we’re going to, to look for crazy good deals on nice hotels that we wouldn’t otherwise want to spend the money to stay at! We found a pretty amazing one that allowed us to stay at the Ritz Carlton for what a normal hotel would be & it also included this sweet gourmet breakfast every morning! That is one of my favorite travel tips to tell people to do! You have to be willing to not know exactly where you’re going to stay until the day before, but it just makes it that much sweeter when it turns out to be something like the Ritz! :)
I have to say, we absolutely fell in love with Vienna! I think it just might be the most underrated city in Europe! We joked that it was like Germany, Italy & France all had a baby and named it Vienna! It was clean & efficient like Germany, it had the architecture & beauty of Italy, and it had all of the amazing cafes & people watching of France. We LOVED it! We walked around to all the major landmarks like Hofburg Palace, Schonbrunn Palace (in Vienna, it was all about the palaces!), the City Hall, the Opera House, and all the cathedrals. We sat in cafes & sipped cafe melanges. We climbed to the very top of this HUGE church on stairs held up by nothing more than one inch scaffolding bars….which at the top about 100 feet up started SWAYING. And we survived. But maybe my FAVORITE part of Vienna was seeing the Austrian National Library. It is this insanely beautiful library with the rolling ladders and secret doorways. And the whole ceiling is painted with the prettiest frescoes I’ve ever seen so the whole room just lights up in color. The whole time we were there, I just kept thinking “is this REAL?!”
And that’s pretty much a good way to sum up how we felt on this whole part of the trip! We couldn’t believe we were lucky enough for it to be real!
Enjoy! And Happy Friday!