Where were we? Ah Yes. In Munich. We woke up at the crack of dawn on September 9th and made our way via subway to the airport. There, we picked up our rental car. It turned out to be outrageously expensive, but driving through the Austrian Alps sounded so romantic and I begged Irving to let us do it. I wanted to feel like I was on the Amazing Race navigating through the roads trying to translate the German signs.
It wasn’t until we buckled our seat belts that Irving admitted he hadn’t actually driven a stick shift in about 15 years. That’s ok babe. It’s like riding a bike. BAHAHA. (spoiler alert: we only stalled twice).
We had some maps from AAA and Google to get us from Germany into Austria and I was confident we’d be fine…. but thank GOD there was a built in GPS because we wouldn’t have even made it out of the airport without that thing. Seriously. My maps were so confusing it would have been a lost cause and I’m pretty sure my plan for a romantic drive would have backfired.
Before we made it into Salzburg, we made a detour to Fussen, home of the Neuschwanstein Castle. Sure you see gorgeous scenery from a train, but being in the car gave us so much more freedom. Plus the Autobahn is really super fun. Getting on and off the highways was hilarious for us since we don’t know how to downshift and upshift. LOL I have a video I’ll post later.
We enjoyed the quaint towns along the road and kept giggling that it looked like a postcard.
And finally we started to see our destination up in the mountains!
Neuschwanstein! The castle was built by the crazy Ludwig II, a royal who lived in Munich.
There are two ways to get up to the top. Horse and buggy….
Or by foot… we chose to walk since we’d been in the car all morning and didn’t want to wait for 2 hours in the line.
It was actually a pretty easy walk and soon we were up at the top.
Does it look familiar? It’s the castle that Walt Disney modeled his castle after.
Sadly we couldn’t go inside (you can only go in with a tour and we would have had to wait a few hours for the next English one.
But it was still fun to walk around and see the wacky architecture.
It looks like a lego castle, doesn’t it?
[FLASHBACK] I visited here in 2003 in the midst of winter. It looks much different now!
The view from the top was just as impressive as the castle itself:
And because Irving couldn’t pass up another opportunity to enjoy some Brats (and because it was lunch time), we stopped halfway down the hill for lunch. I was expecting it to be super expensive since it’s kind of a tourist trap, but it was actually quite reasonable.
And some Pasta for the lady.
Across the street was another cute castle that I’m sure is worth a visit, but it was time to hit the road before it got too late.
Back in the car, we drove away from the castle.
I kept looking back at it in the distance as it faded away. I love Europe.
Just a few hours in the car, we made our way into the heart of Salzburg.
Our first stop was an afternoon tour of the Hellbrunn Palace. When you visit Salzburg, people will ask you if you saw two things: 1.) The Sound of Music Tour and 2.) The Crazy Palace.
So alas. Here we are at the Crazy Palace. Why is it called that? It looks pretty average, right?
Until you go around the back and walk through the gardens. Then you realize how fun it is. Let me explain.
It was built in the 1600s by Markus Sittijus von Hohenems, the Archbishop of Salzburg. And that man had an intense sense of humor. See this outdoor dining area? Seems like a good place to host your guests, right?
Well the whole place was rigged with secret water tricks that he could turn on and off to surprise and wow his visitors. With the push of a button he could soak them while they ate. And it was all operated with non-electrical power (it was the 1600s, remember?)
He had strange fountains and childlike displays all over the property that would dance and play on their own.
At one point, Irving got nailed by some hidden fountains!
There are some displays inside the palace itself but the it’s the exterior that is worth a visit.
Know what else Hellbrunn is known for? The Sound of Music gazeebo is located on its property.
[FLASHBACK] I came here in 2003! (I know, where didn’t I go in 2003?!)
Oh, want to see our car?! Here she is! A Renault!
Finally we made the drive into the city to find our hotel. On the way, we passed the fortress! Wish we would have had time to up there again. But we had a tight itinerary and couldn’t fit it in.
We dropped off our bags at the Radisson, but turned right back around to catch some of the city before the sun set.
Luckily our hotel was close to the river and we were able to walk into town.
Remember the scene in The Sound of Music when the kids are frolicking in the grass? This is where that was filmed!
We found someone who didn’t look like they’d run away with our camera to take our picture. Such a pretty backdrop.
We had just enough time to walk through the main squares before we lost our daylight altogether.
Finally we surrendered to the night and enjoyed a nice dinner out.
All I wanted was veggies! We found a great place that had a salad bar for me…
And Oh. My. God. MORE schnitzel for Irving. Believe it.
Paired with some Austrian Beer. His and Hers.
It was nice to walk back after dinner and take in the city at night.
I might have to frame this one. It’s perfect. (Credit goes to Irving).
Sorry, these posts are so long. I fell in love with our photos and had to share them. Just one more Trip Recap post left!