No trip to Füssen would be complete without a visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, it’s a fairy tale castle which has appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape, and it’s also said to be the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately for King Ludwig, he died before construction was completed.
The castle overlooks the village of Hohenschwangau, which was already heaving with cars, coaches and people when we arrived mid-morning. The coach park looked full, and we took the last motorhome space which cost us €8.50 – someone’s making a lot of money!
Entrance to the castle, a half-hour guided tour, would have cost €13 each for a timed ticket à la Disney, but we weren’t fussed about the tour and were happy to just view the castle from the outside. It was a very steep 20 minute walk up and, fortunately for us on a hot and humid morning, the path was in the shade all the way up. There were also horse-drawn carriages taking people up and down, making it even busier.
At the top it was quite chaotic, with loads of people hanging around waiting for their time slot to come up. The entrance was covered in scaffolding, which spoiled it a bit, but of course they need to maintain the place. We had a good wander round, and took lots of photos before making our way back down to ground level.
After a quick lunch in the van we set off for the stellplatz at Schongau. It was in a large car park about 10 minutes walk from town, and as there were a few other vans there it was safety in numbers.
A young British couple pulled up, who were on their honeymoon travelling around Europe in their van until their money runs out. As they were on their way to Schloss Neuschwanstein, Carol gave them our parking ticket, so hopefully they were able to park for free.
The weather was still hot and humid, so we spent the afternoon in the shade, with a couple of cold beers to keep us cool, and I watched the last 10k of the day’s Tour de France stage on TV.
Once it had cooled down we set off into town, which meant climbing up yet another hill. It was a nice town, but as it was late most shops had closed apart from a few cafés and an ice cream shop, where we had the best ice cream we’ve had for ages.
The stellplatz was the first one for a while where we weren’t on hook up. The solar panel had done its job, as the battery was fully charged when we turned in for the night, but when we woke up the next morning the leisure battery alarm had come on. As no electronics had been running overnight, this would suggest that the battery was on the way out, so we’ll need to get this replaced.
We’d originally intended to move on to a stellplatz at Landsberg am Lech, but thought we’d fast forward to Augsburg so that we could get to Munich (aka München) a bit sooner.
We saw a petrol station selling diesel at €1.09 (£0.97) so stopped to fill up. There was quite a wait at the pumps for the cars in front to move, and we thought that there must have been a problem with the till, but eventually I got to the pump. When I went to pay, I could see why there were delays, as the shop was a Getränkemarkt/off licence, floor to ceiling with crates of beer. That definitely wouldn’t be allowed in the UK!
When we arrived at the stellplatz neither of us were happy, as it was next to a busy roundabout with roadworks going on, so it was going to be noisy with lots of fumes. But that’s the luck of the draw!
We considered what to do next over a brew, and decided to drive the short-ish distance to Sulzemoos where there are loads of motorhome dealers, in the hope of finding somewhere where they could replace our leisure battery and also fit a second one, to double up on capacity. Unfortunately for us the earliest they could book us in was the end of August, so that put paid to that. However we didn’t go away empty handed as there was a motorhome accessory superstore there, where we bought a spare toilet cassette (waste tank), ready for our travels further afield where the facilities won’t be as good.
Checking our trusty stellplatz book back in the van, we plugged the co-ordinates into the GPS for the stellplatz at Fürstenfeldbruck, and this time we weren’t disappointed. It’s a lovely place with great facilities, including hook up, and operates on an honesty box basis, which makes a nice change. Being a weekend, we decided to stay for two nights.
Taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi from the nearby swimming pool I did some research on leisure batteries, and discovered that the leisure battery fitted on our van is actually a starter/engine battery, so it’s no wonder that it has started to fail (like driving around in a drag car when you need a Volvo). I’ve contacted the manufacturer, and will hopefully get them to confirm their error and agree to supply and fit a new leisure battery. In the meantime, we’ll stay on sites with hook up so this won’t be a problem.
Last night we had a massive thunderstorm which went on for a good couple of hours. Unfortunately it didn’t clear the air, as it’s been another hot and humid day. After a rare fry up this morning – prompted by seeing ‘English bacon’ in Aldi – we tidied the van and then chilled out for the rest of the day, reading and watching the Tour de France.
Tomorrow we will leave here to visit the Dachau concentration camp, before driving onto the stellplatz at the Allianz Arena in Munich, from where we’ll be able to catch the U-Bahn into the city centre.