Germany, Day 1 – Munich.
Our 2014 holiday encompasses Germany, Austria & Czech Republic starting the 2nd week of October. Our A330 Lufthansa flight departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport as scheduled at 12:05 a.m. With a 2 hours transit and change of plane in Frankfurt, we arrived Munich at 9:10 a.m. the same day. Total traveling time – 14+ hours.
Cost €10.50 per person one way. Traveling time about 40 minutes and bus frequency is every 20 minutes. Service is operated by AutobusOberbayern.
You can obtain more information and book your tickets on-line here.
You will drop-off at Munich Hbf opposite Karstadt department store. Karstadt is the meeting point for most local Munich bus tours or tours originating from Munich. If you intend to take a bus tour or will be leaving Munich by train, finding a hotel within this vicinity is a good idea.
A short walk from Munich Hbf is Euro Youth Hotel where we stayed for 2 nights. You can book your hotel stay here or from hotel aggregators.
Euro Youth Hotel is Muslim traveler location friendly. A few halal eateries are around the vicinity with an Arabic shop in-front of the hotel where you can buy water and tid-bits. Read my review of this hotel at tripadvisor. Tourist attractions are within 15 minutes walking distance.
As we arrived before check-in time, we left our luggage at the hotel’s luggage room and wondered around Munich’s attractions. A 15 minutes walk will take you pass the fountain at Karlsplatz, the Karl’s Gate and to the New Town Hall at Marienplatz. Then onwards to Hard Rock cafe & Viktualienmarkt.
Of-course at Viktualienmarkt, you’ll find people selling vegetables, flowers & other agriculture produce.
For the benefit of Muslim travelers, halal eateries are located as below. (Nordsee is a sea food outlet also available at Viktualienmarkt). There are a couple more halal eateries if you care to google.
Germany, Day 2 – Neuschwanstein castle.
The whole of the 2nd day was spent touring Neuschwanstein (noi-shoe-one-stein) castle about 120 kms from Munich. We took a package tour organised by Pure Bavaria Tours. They only cater for small group of 4-8 participants and the advantage is obvious. So, you do need to make prior arrangements if your are alone or just a couple. Chances are good that you will be grouped with others to make up the number. Pure Bavaria Tours web site is here and do read reviews about them at tripadvisor.
Pick up from our hotel was on time in a clean and comfortable Ford mini van driven by Mario. Along the way to the castle, Mario took us to see 2 quaint churches one at Rottenbuch and the other at Wieskirch.
Church under partial renovation at Wieskirch
On arrival at Neuschwanstein castle, Mario bought castle tickets (€12) for us and stood in-line in the light drizzle to purchase bus tickets up the castle. Mario did not join us as the castle tour is conducted by castle officials. Buy your castle tickets on-line or at the ticket office at the foothill as there will be non at the castle itself. Your castle ticket will allocate you a tour sequent number as well as a specific time the interior castle tour will start. Should you miss this time slot, you need to buy a new ticket … down at the foothill !!
You have a choice to walk up to the castle, take a horse carriage or a bus. A walk up would take 30-45 minutes but we chose the bus that only takes 4-5 minutes at a cost of €1.80 uphill, €1.00 downhill or €2.60 round trip. The queue for the bus may be long but with 2 buses that can accommodate 60+ passengers each, it wouldn’t take you too long. It will be wise to bring umbrellas (Mario has sufficient) as you’ll be waiting for the bus in the open.
The bus drop-off point at the hilltop is close to the Marienbrucke (Mary’s bridge). This is a photo spot not to be missed. It’s a short 5 minutes slight uphill trek through the beautiful woods to the bridge where you can take magnificent (weather permitting) photos of the castle.
A 15 minutes slight downhill walk from the bus drop off point will take you to the castle. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed during the interior castle tour.
Along your walk from the bus drop off point to the castle, you’ll get this great view of the foothill with Hohen Schwangau castle in the background.
By 2:30 p.m. we descended to the foothill again taking the bus and started our return leg to Munich. Mario stopped by the road side for a few final shots of the castle before we proceeded for a late lunch at a cheese farm.
As we brought packed lunch, we had a little time to wonder around the farm for some photos. If not due to the mist in the background, these photos would have a warmer tranquil mood.
What’s the cow doing? Rubbing it’s itchy body against the automatic rotating mechanical brush.
After lunch, it was straight back to Munich arriving safely before 6:00 p.m. If you want hassle free, small group, personal service with hotel pickup & drop off tour of Neuschwanstein castle, go with Pure Bavaria Tours. With 13 years experience in the airline industry, Mario will take good care of you.