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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle is the childhood dream I never had. As a child I couldn’t get enough of castles and knights and dragons and wizards. Every time I saw a picture of a castle in England or France I wanted to visit. But for some reason I was never overly attracted to Neuschwanstein castle. Perhaps it was too fairytale-esque. Or maybe I just didn’t believe that it really could look like the pictures. I don’t really know, but having visited, allow me to tell all the children out there who like castles that this is definitely worth seeing. I still want to see a castle or two in the middle of a Scottish loch, but visiting Neuschwanstein should be one of your dreams.

Neuschwanstein through the snow

Neuschwanstein from the trailhead.

Given that the castle was conceived and built in the late 1800’s and served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s castle, it certainly can be criticized as being a fairytale castle. Unlike a “real” castle, it was never under siege or captured with the help of traitors, never saw the torture of political prisoners, or the return of it’s lord from a hunting expedition–in fact it was never even finished. It had running water, a telephone (of sorts), an excessively ornate canopy, and was turned into a museum within weeks of crazy king Ludwig’s death. So it is undoubtedly a fairytale castle. Unfortunately for the purist in me, Ludwig’s vision of a beautiful location and romantic architecture are spot on. Le Mont Saint-Michel and Chenonceau are the only “castles” I’ve seen that compare, and they are even less castle-y. I guess when it comes right down to it nostalgia is always better than the real thing.

The tour of the interior was the only part of the trip that disappointed. Because only 15 of the 200 interior rooms were finished it was short. There were several attractions however: the ornate canopy, a fake cave, a secret lavatory, a swan humidifier, and a crown chandelier. Of course Rachel liked the huge oven in the kitchen, and I decided that I wouldn’t mind sleeping in the servants quarters with the handmade furniture. Nevertheless, the interior just can’t compare with, say, the recently visited Schönbrunn (which is a palace not a castle, but still).

Hohenschwangau Castle in the snow

Ludwig spent summers in Hohenschwangau Castle built to replace Schwanstein Castle.

If that’s not enough to satisfy the medievalist in you, then you should know that there is another, older, castle less than a mile away (as the crow flies). We didn’t have time to tour Hohenschwangau castle (probably spent too long in the gift shop trying to justify purchasing everything there), but it’s nice to know that it’s there. Some friends that we met there stayed in a hotel at the top of the hill, so they had plenty of time to see everything. I don’t know how much it cost, but it might be worth it next time.

Marienbrücke in the snow

Marienbrücke (Mary's bridge) is older then the castle.

The problem with most of the pictures that you see everywhere is that they are taken from the mountains instead of facing the mountains. I love mountains, and those on the back side (or perhaps it’s the front) of Neuschwanstein are gorgeous, at least if they are covered in snow. There is a bridge (Marienbrücke) between 2 nearby mountains that makes me think of Rivendell. Unfortunately, like so many large places, photos simply cannot convey how pretty the mountains are.

Rachel snowed upon

This is Rachel on our way down the mountain

As I mentioned, the mountains were covered in snow. What I didn’t mention is that it was snowing the whole time we were there. Big, fat, wet flakes. The kind that make you wish you weren’t pushing a stroller through them. Especially when you get to the top of the steep hill and they tell you that you can’t take strollers on the tour anyway! I think the snowfall made the castle prettier, and it also gave us an opportunity to prove that we’re hard core: we made it up in 30 minutes whereas the guide says that it’s a 40 minute walk, or 45 with a stroller. That’s right we made it up the hill faster, while hauling an infant on my front and a toddler on Rachel’s back, walking, or in the stroller. All the while getting snowed on, taking pictures, and moving to make way for the snow plow and horse carts.

Do not mess with clan Andrus.

On our way back to Munich, the train we were on stopped and made everyone get out and transfer to another train (after waiting half an hour). We overheard some people talking who may have understood the announcement and it might have been due to a fire somewhere. But while we were waiting Avery didn’t whine about how cold she was like another little girl who was also waiting. Instead she played hard-to-get with some Malaysian teens. We raise them hard core from the beginning.

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I must say that when I wrote about the snowmen I did not expect them to last nearly this long. But I think they are finally dead, or will be tomorrow. Here is all that remains:
Snowman carcass

Don’t worry Rachel. I still love you, and I wrote you a poem (of sorts). I think it might even be chiastic (if you squint).

Avery’s Mom (and soon someone else’s)

Pretty

Oxytocin inducing

Peerless among women

Thoughtful

Organized

Sweet (and Steadfast)

Intelligent

Significant other (mine)

Maybe I should stick to Maths.

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I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills, I love, wait… SNOW!!!

I’m also a fan of shoes. My own are my favorite because they mean I’m going somewhere, but I’m not really all that particular when it comes right down to it.

Mommy’s pregnant. I have no idea yet what this means for my future plans at being the center of attention, but for now I’m okay with it.

We took on a giant apple… and won!!! Daddy brought home apples one day and there was one nearly as big as my head. Daddy and I battled it to the death. It was pretty tasty. Even with random knife holes in it.

Daddy’s hat is a great toy.

This drawer is a great place to play when it’s available. Most of the time it’s behind the bed, but today it was out and a perfect place to read Benjamin in Budapest.

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Ridin’ the Metro

We had a TON of snow over the weekend. It snowed all of Saturday and most of Sunday. Snow makes trying to use a stroller miserable, so we typically skip the stroller if we have to go out after a big snow. Such a day was Sunday. We carried Avery most of the way to and from the Metro stations, but she was free without a stroller on the metro and during the transfers and boy was she excited! She got to sit on the chair all by herself and stand on the escalator all by herself (she had some help getting on and off). She waved back and forth with the motion of getting going and stopping. She looked out the windows. She hunted excitedly for something to hold on to so she wouldn’t fall as we started moving. She did all the grown up stuff. She even fell asleep in her chair on the way home.

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Yesterday there were several inches of wet snow on the ground, so we thought we should let Avery have some fun outside. She certainly did have fun, and she charmed the old lady next door.

On a lark I decided to make a snowman, and then I made a snowbaby for Avery to play with. She carried it around and tried to make it bigger. She killed one snowbaby, which is okay, but we told her she can’t treat her baby sister that way.
Avery and Daddy with a snowman and snowbaby

Since I wasn’t cold after making the first snowman (and snowbaby), and we still had plenty of snow I decided to make another parent. We ended up with Mommy, Daddy, and Avery. Also if you look closely you can see that Mommy is pregnant with a little snowfetus.
snow family with hats on

The next day we noticed that one of our neighbors had added noses to our family, but they had done it on the wrong side!  This picture is taken from the back so that Daddy is on the left.  He does have eyes though and you’ll notice the fetching mustache as well. And of course you can’t miss the massive aquiline noses on Mommy and Daddy.  For some reason the baby doesn’t have a nose.snow family with noses

As I’m sure you also noticed the happy couple is holding hands.  It’s a symbol of our undying love for each other.  Rachel, I promise to love you for as long as these snowmen hold hands.  And maybe even longer!

Update: After two days a fair amount of rain, I no longer am required to love Rachel.  Whew! It was really starting to cramp my style.melted snowmen

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