Thursday, August 26, 2010


Fussen is a small town about 2.5 hours south-west of Munich city by train, it's the start/end point of the 350 km romatic road in Germany. The most famous castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, are located near the town. Travellers by rail change onto buses No. 73 or 78 at Füssen railway station to Hohenschwangau bus stop. I booked a room at Hotel Konig Ludwig in Schwangau, luckily enough, I got on a bus that didn't go to the castles as most of the buses did and 10 minutes later the bus stopped in front of the hotel already.

After checking in, the concierge told me it's better to walk about 10 minutes to the tourist information office in Schwangau Rathaus and then take a bus from there to the castles as not many buses stop at Hotel Konig Luwdig. I went in the tourist info office to get some pamphlets and the staff told me it's about 15 minutes by foot to the castles. Fifteen minutes later, I was still on the road that seemed to have no end and the Neuschwanstein on the hill seemed to be staying away from me at the same distance, it took me about 40 minutes to get to the ticket center! If what the staff told me about the distance was right than I must be a slow walker.

To visit the castles, one has to purchase the tour at the ticket center and arrive at the castle's turnstile at the time that is printed on the ticket. Tours are available in English and German or with an Audio guide. I purchased English tour for both castles, it was a great tour in Hohenschwangau, but I found it too crowded in the Neuschwanstein. It was so crowded that some people couldn't find their way to get in the Throne Hall when our guide started her introduction. So here is the advice: get an audio guide tour for Neuschwanstein. The tours last only 30 minutes, only 7 rooms are opened for the public in Neuschwanstein, and no photos are allowed in both castles. On the path to Marienbrücke (Mary's Bridge), you can get a great bird's eye view of the Hohenschwangau. The bridge itself is as famous as the castles as it provides a great view of the Neuschwanstein. However, to get a postcard-view of the castle, one has to cross the bridge and somewhere in the steep terrain is where the dreamy catstle pictures are taken.

It was around 20:30 when I got back to the ticket center and it was empty down there, no cars no people, I was the only one walking on the road. It was until I heard cheers from a bar at the corner of the tourist information office in Schwangau Rathaus then I realized it was the semi-final football game, Germany V.S Spain. I couldn't find a table available in the bar so I ran back to my hotel bar and ordered a small cup of beer, watching the game with everybody. Basically, my tolerance for alcohol is zero, by the time I finished my beer my eyes were all red like I was crying and the game ended with the result that Germany lost its chance to get the world champion by 1 point. Everyone in the room was disappointed and an old man looked at my red eyes trying to comfort me, he said: "oh well, it happens. Anyway, it was a good game, so don't be sad". I nodded and pretended to wipe off a tear from my eye.

2010 world cup this was the video broadcasted all the time in Germany.

I was wondering why most of the guests in the hotel were elders with walking sticks. During my stay, they even had a prosthesis conference held in the hotel and the hotel looked more like a high-end rehabilitation center then a hotel to me. From the Fussen official website I realized that  the town itself is a recognized hydrotherapy spa and "Where health is tradition" is one of the slogans in Fussen. The nature of the town is incredibly beautiful and the biking trails are well designed so the riders can enjoy the nature without worrying about having a close encounter with automobiles.

The bold €6.90 on the board of a Chinese restaurant attracted my attention when I was wandering around Fussen town. It's very difficult to refuse a Chinese lunch buffet for only €6.90, so I went in and the boss spoke fluent Mandarin made me believe that it would be an authentic Chinese delicacy. "Try our spicy & sour soup" said the boss, while I was enoying my food. I am not a soup person, so I smiled and nodded and kept eating my food. A moment later, she went by and said the same thing to me again, "they are so proud of their spicy & sour soup, it must be good" I thought, so I got a cup and gave it a try. I tasted it and had to try very hard not to scream out loud "man this place needs to hire a better chef, the soup is terrible, yuck!" It tasted sweet and sour instead of spicy and sour, actually it's so sweet and sour that I believed someone must had tip over the sugar and vinegar bottle. A few minutes later the boss went by to check on me (she really was persistant in having their guests try the spicy and sour soup) and she bursted out laughing, "that's not the spicy & sour soup, that's sour sauce for salad" she said. I was so embarrassed, even the "foreigners" at the other tables were giggling, I must be one of the few Taiwanese who could not tell the difference between spicy & sour soup and sour sauce. I finally never did try the soup, but their food was good nevertheless.

View Fussen in a larger map

Useful info:
You can search train timetables of Munich/Füssen as well as bus timetables in Füssen via DB Bahn website.  Print-out train timetables are available at the DB Bahn station lounge in Munich.

You can get a discount when purchasing the tour of the castles or the boat cruise in Forggensee with a hotel check-in certificate.  

A boat cruise on Forggensee is possible. There are long cruises (2 hours, €11),  3 boats depart from Fussen Bootshafen at 10:00, 12:30 and 15:00 daily; and short cruises (55 min, 8), 6 boats depart from Fussen Bootshafen at 10:30, 11:30, 13:00, 14:20, 15:30 and 16:30 daily. More infomation at

Hohenschwangau official website:
Neuschwanstein official website:

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