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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Hohenschwangau, Germany

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Roughly translated as “home of the great white swan,” this little hamlet seated below Neuschwanstein Castle is a playground resort. The town sees its share of crowds during the day, as people flood in on day-trips from Munich (about a 2-hour train ride, with added 10-minute bus from Fussen station). By late afternoon, the streets empty and you are left with a quiet evening to walk along Lake Bannwaldsee to await a jaw-dropping sunset behind the distant mountain range in this Alpine-foothills pine forest.

hohenschwangau_6So this little town is not a city, and has no “park,” but that’s just quibbling. In most senses, southern Bavaria is OneBigPark. The region has several large lakes, all with crystal clear waters and numerous hotels, inns, and rent-a-chalet holiday spots. Lake Bannwaldsee is at the doorstep to Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig II’s post-dated castle begun in the late 1800s. Almost a century later it became the inspiration for Walt Disney’s fairy-tale castle centerpiece at each of his theme parks (including Euro Disney, made long after the cartoonist-cum-real estate-mogul died).
Anyhow, Hohenschwangow has a castle of the same name. Young Ludwig grew up here. (A fetching young tour guide said to me, “It’s small, like a house.” Okay.) The Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangow area is a nature and outdoor-enthusiast’s paradise.

Swimming, hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, canoeing, and camping are all here. Combined with the fantastic Bavarian food in town, you can see why many tourists use Hohenschwangow and Fussen as a base from which they can take day trips to Munich and Salzburg (and not the other way around).

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