So this morning I watched the sunrise as I crossed the border into Germany at about 8am; it was beautiful and poetic with the morning mist rolling down the hills and over the little towns.
But the skies soon became pure cloud as I drove deeper, and to me this only meant that I was getting closer to my destination; the sole reason my trip brought me to Germany..
The Bavarian beauty that has been inspiration for so many others, and for Walt Disney classic castle designs, as well as featuring in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film. Sat on the hillside, it towers over the valley and lake below, way up in the clouds.
So it was a total rookie mistake on my part to plan this trip for a Saturday; I’d arrived at the ticket centre at about 11am, by which time all tickets until after 4pm had gone, and I wasn’t going to wait 5 hours for a tour. The great thing is though, you can still see the castle from the outside free of charge, and that includes walking into the castle and seeing the courtyards – its just the rooms of the castle that are only accessible by guided tour. The walk up to the castle (although you can take a bus or carriage) was a steep winding road, lined with autumnal forest on each side, occasionally broken up by mountain streams. That in itself was beautiful, and then you reach the castle..
I was surrounded by loud tourists with selfie sticks, but I didn’t care because this view took my breath away. I walked all around it, and further up the mountain path to look out over the whole valley, and for the first time this year it really felt like Autumn was upon us; I was in my big coat and still a little chilly, and I could see my breath. After a while of aimless walking and admiring, I headed back down the path to the village, and across to the castle on the other side. Yes, one valley, two castles.
This was the Hohenschwangau Castle. Again, because I didn’t want to queue all day for a ticket, I just walked the outside of this pretty yellow palace, admiring the gardens and fountains. I was glad I hadn’t waited to go up to Neuschwanstein, because by the time I’d made it up the steps to Hohenschwangau, the cloud had dropped so much you could hardly see the top of the castle.
After finishing up with the castles, I headed straight to my hotel in Stuttgart for the rest of the evening.
This morning, at around 5.30am, my family suffered a great loss as my grandad left us. Its never easy, in fact its very hard, but it wasn’t a case of loosing a battle, his mind and soul have simply been freed from the body that was holding him back, and now he can move on to greater things. I’m taking comfort in knowing that now both my grandfathers are together; both free of suffering and both at peace. I love them both very much and they will always be in my heart, but now they are with God.