Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 4 and 5 - Zurich and Neuchwenstein Castle

We didn't really have a good plan as to how we want to spend the day after we left our first lodgings and before we reached the second one so we started to drive in the direction of Switzerland which was one of the ways to get to Neuchwenstein Castle.  Then we realized how close we were to Zurich, it seemed like a great place to stop.  We had no idea what to do there or where to go but, nonetheless, it seemed like a good stopping place.  We headed to the city center according to our GPS and just walked around for a bit before we decided that the central train station would be an interesting spot for the boys and that they would have a lot of quick food options.  Both were correct.  Trains pulling in and out all the time was something that the boys enjoyed watching, even though Ilya wasn't sure why we weren't getting on a train :)  After lunch we started heading back to our car but got EXTREMELY lost.  I have to say that from all the boys Ilya is the one that never gets tired of walking.  He walked all over Iceland when he was 2 and a half, he runs and jumps everywhere but Zurich "broke" that boy.   Yet, somehow in our lost-ness we managed to find Starbucks - ha-lee-lu-ja!!!  I don't get Starbucks here very often due to a pretty inconvenient location so I am not sure of the prices in Germany but in Switzerland our bill was 40 euros for 2 hot chocolates, 2 frapucchions, 2 cookies and a brownie.  Definitely seems expensive but well worth it at that point!  Anyway, after our treat everybody got their energy back and and we headed to our stop for the next 2 nights.
The drive was amazing.  It took us through Liechtenstein and Austria, all the while through the north edge of the Alps.  We drove on just one stretch of narrow roads going up into the mountains and then back down.  We lost count of the amount of tunnels we went through with some being really short and some as long as 15km (over 9 miles long).  We eventually got to our next apartment and settled in for the night since next morning we were going to Neuchwenstein Castle.  TIP: in order to skip the line for buying tickets, buy them online and then you just have to show up and pick them up; thus bypassing an extremely long line!  Then, after you get your tickets you have to either take a horse-drawn ride or walk up a fairly steep hill.  Since the line for the horses was too long for our taste, we decided to walk.  It was a lovely freezing walk - we are talking about Alps here so snow and all is still very applicable in April.  The Castle itself was a lot smaller than I imagined, the whole guided tour took only took about 30 minutes and honestly, it was hard to hear the guide so I wished I read a bit more about it before we went.  No pictures are allowed to be taken inside.  After the tour we took a horse carriage down the mountain and headed into the town for some lunch before going back to the apartment for nap time.  We had big plans for the afternoon - we were going to Thermal Spa.  See pictures below - amazing!!!

Starbucks crew :)

In front of Neuchwenstein Castle

View from Neuchwenstein Castle

At the pool with Alps in the background

Neuchwenstein Castle in the mountains

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