|The view from our lunch table, not to brag or anything. The birds were a little annoying, constantly trying to steal our food.|
|The whole group: Emma, Aven, Ian, me, Etta, Ben, Ruby, Missy, and Addie. Ben and Missy have been the most fantastic hosts. So incredibly generous and welcoming.|
|Aven and Addie have become good friends. I love watching them play together.|
Wednesday we decided to take Aven to see the iconic castle Neuschwanstein. The Disney castle is partly based on Neuschwanstein. It was a horrible tourist trap, but due to Aven's fascination with princesses and castles it was well worth the trip.
We were supposed to be at the check-in office by 1:10 for our 2:10 tour but due to some major road construction going on in a tunnel (there are A LOT of tunnels here) 1:10 came and went as we sat in a traffic jam. We finally made it to the check office a little after 2:00 and got reassigned to a 3:55 tour. We weren't up for a 40 minute up-hill walk so we bought bus tickets for a quick 5 minute bus ride. The bus ride was an insane, motion-sickness-inducing ride up a series of steep switchbacks. Walking uphill for 40 minutes in the heat and humidity might have been better.
Aven was very excited to see the castle but since our day had already been so long she was pretty worn out and getting a little whiny. Etta was really tired of being held and being in the stroller or backpack so we were all feeling a little crazy. The castle tour was really crowded and short. It was an absolutely beautiful castle. There were impressive murals and intricately painted designs covering the walls of the castle. There were also really beautiful wood carvings throughout. I think Aven would have enjoyed the tour more if it wasn't so crowded. She had a hard time seeing things over the throngs of tall people. She was also sad that the king wasn't there and when I told her the king was dead she was beside herself with four-year-old grief. Then she saw a dog mosaic on the floor and forgot all about the dead king. We were not allowed to take any pictures during the tour (boo!), so you'll just have to enjoy some pictures of the outside of the castle:
|The king who built this castle was certified insane by the government and when his doctor disagreed with the diagnosis the king and his doctor died under very suspicious circumstances.|
|This picture was taken from a bridge that overlooks the castle. It looks so serene, but all around me people were pushing, shoving, and swarming to get a place at the railing to take the very same picture.|
|A picture from one of the castle balconies.|
|We set Etta down on a large counter in the castle's kitchen (this was after the tour was over) and she was immediately surrounded by Chinese tourists taking pictures of her. She just sat there and smiled, which only made them take more pictures.|
|Aven wore her princess dress to the castle. Here she is striking a sassy pose.|
|An absolutely stunning view of Hohenschwangau castle from the balcony of Neuschwanstein.|
|Aven and I right before getting some dinner. I hope all of her princess dreams came true!|
Finally on the road we decided to take a detour around the construction, since we were told it would be going on 24-7 for the next couple days. The detour added about a half hour to our drive (making it 2 hours), but it was an amazingly beautiful drive through the mountains of Germany. The only downside was that Etta cried the ENTIRE way back to Innsbruck. She was so tired of being in the car seat that she refused to settle down. It kind of took some of the enjoyment out of the beautiful drive. We finally got back to Ben and Missy's about 9:30 last night. Aven went right to bed in her clothes and Etta was so happy to be out of her car seat that she didn't even cry when I put her to bed wide awake.
|From our breathtaking drive. Imagine a crying baby and see if you enjoy it any less.|