Füssen, located on the Austrian border at the foot of the Alps, is a hidden treasure. Many tourists come to Füssen, but yet never see it. How can that be? Because Füssen is located next to the number one tourist destination in Germany, Neuschwanstein. Most tourists pass through Füssen on their way to the famous castle: Mad King Ludwig’s Castle or Cinderella’s castle. By the way, the locals sort of bristle at hearing it described that way…
There are actually two castles here and we take our groups to visit both. While Neuschwanstein is a “must-see,” Hohenschwangau, establish by the Schwangau knights inthe middle ages, reduced to ruins by Napoleon and rebuilt by Maximilian II in the 1830?s, is a much more realistic to me. Neuschwanstein, built well after the American Civil War is one man’s fantasy.
It was never finished, and Ludwig II only lived there for 162 days. In fact, the vast majority of rooms were never finished and even the keep was never built. But, both castles are well-worth a visit and worth the climb up.
The town of Füssen holds a special place in my heart. My wife and I honeymooned here long before we knew that our lives would be so entwined with this place. Both our sons have spent extended time here over many, many years. And, most special of all, we have so many terrific friends here.
Füssen and the surrounding areas was home to the Celts before it was “romanized” in 46-47AD. Directly on the Via Claudia, Füssen was a waypoint on the road to Rome. Many of these remnants can still be see today – whether its the foundation of Füssen’s High Castle, the Hohes Schl0ss, the baths at the foot of Tegelberg mountain, or the spa area of Bad Faulenbach, it’s not hard to find clues from the Roman period.
Beyond history, Füssen has some great shops with really friendly shopkeepers in the old town. I buy all of my Tracht – Lederhosen and such -
at Trachten Wulff. The ladies there now recognize me and are very helpful in finding what I need. The many butchers shops and bakeries, like Meister Eder – are excellent with a friendly staff. Grabbing a quick snack of Weisswurst inside the old Firehall is something I love to do. Oh yes, they also have 2 bookstores on the main drag, a shop that sells Cuban cigars, the lady that repairs my Lederhosen, and my bank – are all here.
Beyond the city are some great treats that many people miss: The ruins of Frauenstein zum Hohenschwangau, hiking to the Saletalm in Austria, jogging to the Alatsee, Käsespäztle at Tegelberg Mountain, visiting the castles in Reutte , or catching a game at the BLZ. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one late night out at Marion’s Moskito bar.
Vonia’s Day in Füssen
I know many of you are following this blog to hear what Vonia is up to. There was a glitch with the mini-bus we rented – with such a small group, Vonia had planned to drive them around Füssen herself. They rental agency – which is actually just a gas station in Ziegelwies at the old border couldn’t get her the car until noon. So, the group took taxis to the castles. Vonia visited Hohenschwangau with everyone at 10:00 AM and then took a taxi to pick up the minivan. In the meantime, our guests went up to Neuschwanstein. Vonia picked them up at the Maypole later without a problem and brought them into Füssen. She gave them an orientation tour of the old town and they all meandered and shopped in the old town. At supper time, Steffi’s Dad changed the menu on us. He insisted on cooking a traditional German Christmas menu featuring Roasted Goose. We planned on going to a small church in Hopfensee and dinner wouldn’t be ready in time. So, the group had their soup and salad and then went to the church. The Rorate Mass was just 30 minutes and featured a short – very short – bit of yodeling. After the service, she drove everyone past the castle so they could see them all lit up.
Returning to Hotel Ruchti, Hermann had outdone himself and Vonia and our guests were treated to their roasted duck main course. For dessert, it was Kaiserschmarrn! It was a good example of the genuine hospitality found in Bavaria in general, and Hotel Ruchti in particular. After most everyone retired to bed, Vonia hung out in Steffi and Ingo’s apartment playing with the kids.
On Thursday, Kößler will drive them to Böbing where they’ll all have Karl’s Weisswurst at Sepp’s bakery. Then they see the Wieskirche, Kloster Andechs, check in at the Alter Wirt and then dinner at the Hofbräuhaus. Check back later to see some of the pictures Vonia took today – once she figures out how to send them. And, she plans on lighting a candle for Jersey Bill at Andechs in hopes of a speedy recovery from his accident – don’t worry he’s not that badly hurt. Knowing Bill on the other hand, I’ll asked Jerry to drink a doublebock for him and we’ll just skip the candle thing…