Fluffy Pancakes, Gluhwein and Neuschwanstein Castle.

Ironically enough this was MEANT to be my first solo trip ! I booked in before Croatia and it was one of those flights Covid fucked with. My sister had sent me this postcard of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and really recommended it. I literally booked flights to see this castle. I was meant to go alone, then with a boyfriend who later ghosted me (whole other story!) was meant to join and finally my lovely Nan asked if she could join me. 

I have to admit, I have pretty low expectations. I was expecting just another city, a magical castle and maybe some time for shopping before nipping back to the airport. Originally I booked a cheap hostel dorm and Nanny was willing but she’s a bad sleeper and I could legit see her shouting at some young ones to shut up if they came back drunk or snored (sorry Nan!).  So we booked a nice cheap hotel which I have to say, was fab! Nan is now 84 and when we travel we book the special assistance. When we arrived at the airports getting a chair was no problem and not without its perks. For one, with the chair we get to skip the check in luggage queue and get rushed through as priority at security and also, first on the plane. The MASSIVE downside we’ve noticed is that when you land, the chair is not there on the other side. This obviously isn’t every time and everywhere but it was for us on this trip. I flew to Newquay, UK so we could travel to Dublin and then Munich together, to make it easier for her and also to get some quality time together in Ireland.

When we landed in Dublin, there was no chair, we waited about 30 minutes. When we landed in Munich it was worse though. We disembarked and were standing in that tunnel which was freezing. I think it was -2 outside and windy so they let us sit on the plane whilst they called again for special assistance. We waited over 50 minutes, the Aer Lingus staff were very friendly, kind and empathetic. They also said this was becoming more and more of a problem at airports due to staff shortages. I was fairly livid as we had landed late and hungry and knew we wouldn’t make it into the city till after 10pm now. The special assistance person arrived finally sweating, he’d clearly been absolutely legging it! Nan was wheeled out and above an entire gate of people who had clearly been waiting for their plane to leave and probably wondering why they couldn’t board for nearly an hour when the plane was sitting there. This was obviously not our fault but couldn’t help feeling a little guilty or embarrassed, my poor Nan. To make matters worse when he wheeled us to passport control all the staff had gone home so we were now stuck at passport control watching our cases wheeling around and around on the conveyor belt. We waited another 10 minutes or so here for someone to come down and check us through. The special assistance man brought Nan right up to the door of the train though, which was lovely. 

I know the special assistance staff shortage is becoming a problem because 3 times over the space of 10 days this happened to us. Frankly it’s unacceptable to disadvantage someone who is less able-bodied than other passengers and it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. I read recently about a woman in the US, a wheelchair user and after she got to her seat they stowed away her chair below. When she arrived at the next city they had forgotten to load her chair and as a result she essentially had her ability to get around removed. The airline industry and airports need to cop on and realise the impact and importance of mobility aids and that not all passengers are able bodied and those that don’t have just as much right to a holiday, to move around as those not needing aids. 

This debacle did lead to me trying Tiramisu for the first time though and oh mama was it nice! When we finally made it to the hotel even their kitchen was closed but the lady, Anna I believe, offered us some Tiramisu and I swear it was the nicest thing I’d ever tasted. We stayed at Yours Truly in Munich which was perfect. Only hotel I’ve ever been in where no kettle and tea/coffee was provided but if you ask they drop it up real quick. It was a very modern hotel with no reception, just a bar and an area with a laptop. They were on Whatsapp so if you needed anything you text or call them on Whatsapp. My first impression that night was that Munich was beautiful and I couldn’t wait to get out and explore. As it was around Christmas time we were greeted by an ice rink and Christmas market style food and drinks when we came up from the train station. 

The next day we’d an early start on the hunt for breakfast. The hotel breakfast started at 8 and that was our pickup time for the bus tour to Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace. Bavaria is insanely beautiful. On the drive we were surrounded by snowy fields and then snow covered mountains and icy lakes. We drove though little villages that had houses like cuckoo clocks and some were covered in paintings of fairy tales for Brothers Grimm. The tour guide on the bus was honest about the fitness level required for both Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle and made it cear you could do one or neither if you wanted. Nan opted out of the second one which saved her a few bob at least. We had been at Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) in the UK a few days before and Linderhof made Highclere look drab. The LUXURY. It has definitely given me some inspiration for a painted ceiling when I one day own my own home. The views from the palace and the surrounding landscape were like something from a Disney film and we would have stayed for hours to admire them and walk around but we were herded back onto the bus. Try a pretzel in the gift shop here btw, it was the nicest one I had in Munich. 

Next we went to Neuschwanstein Castle which was in a picturesque village in the middle of nowhere deep in Bavaria. It was very romantic and I’d love to come back here one day. The guide had advised that there was a horse and cart but it only went up two thirds of the way and we’d have to walk the rest of the way and it was quite steep.It cost a few euro and cash only FYI. It was steep after that point but it was grand, maybe a 15 min walk to the top but I marched up. It’s all tarmacked and smooth so no bumps or slippy muddy bits. What I should mention here is the weather.

This is the Castle we had been expecting to see. This is our view. Best laid plans and all that, you can only laugh. I could have gone in summer and guaranteed myself a beautiful view but I wanted the snow. Some of the pictures I got on the walk back down were so worth it. I had left Nan in a little restaurant where I had tried some traditional german food, a cauliflower schnitzel. Basically deep fried cauliflower and mashed sweet potato, was gorgeous unsurprisingly! Nan had wandered up and down and done a little shopping, got a cup of tea but was ready to get back on the bus when I was back. I was nice and warm coz I was full of wine and walking but she’d got cold. Most of us snoozed on the drive back and when we got back to the hotel we asked for a dinner recommendation. The guy behind the counter recommended Andechser am Dom and it was lovely. For dessert we got a traditional Bavarian dessert, chopped up fluffy pancakes with some sort of hot apple puree and ice cream and berries. Nicest thing we ate on the whole trip! 

Next day was Christmas markets and home. I had been recommended to make sure I try Gluhwein so I was on the hunt. Each gluhwein stand has a different mug, so shop around for your favourite mug because it’s yours to keep. The first drink will cost about €15 but after that you have the mug so it’s about €7. I’m not a red wine drinker so I asked for white wine, the lady asked me if I wanted it sweet or spicy, I opted for sweet and it was gorgeous. Can strongly recommend. Two had me tipsy! Also, do not try to chug it, it is not for chugging! Got some cute Christmas decorations to remember Munich by and some cookie cutters. They had a stand with literally every shape you can think of, some I should probably have picked up for my friends upcoming hen. Did you know about the Christmas Pickle? A vendor told me a tale of the German Christmas pickle and that the first child to find the Christmas pickle would get an extra present and the first adult to find a (much smaller) pickle would have good luck for the year. Turns out absolutely no Germans know this story and it’s definitely not a tradition! I still like my Christmas pickles and will start a tradition in my house coz I think it’s cute. We went back to the pub restaurant we’d been in the day before and tried something new. The atmosphere was great and the servers were wearing traditional German/Bavarian clothes which was cool and everyone had perfect English. All shops were closed on the Sunday, turns out that’s every Sunday by the way! 

Overall a really nice trip and I’ll definitely be doing some more snowy scenic trips. I’ve snow boots in the post! If you want to do this tour I recommend try for Winter and snow if you can, was so worth it. If you’re veggy, you’ll be grand. There’s a beautiful bookshop I missed called ‘Juristische Bibliothek’ I’d have loved to see if I’m ever back ! Have you been to Munich/Bavaria? Anywhere you’d recommend? 🙂

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