16 May 2005
Please note that text in red indicates comments and changes to the original 2005 text that I made in June 2008. Enjoy!
It's my "halfie" birthday! (I turned 19 and a half today!)
Up and at it, early again. This time, we were on our way to Castle Neuschwanstein (note on the German language (according to Peter): In a word like 'Neuschwanstein', where one of the vowel constructions is "ei" or "ie", for that syllable, you SAY the name of the second vowel ("aye" or "eee") as the pronunciation for that syllable. New-schwan-schtine (like the tines of a fork), sort of), which is located in the Alps. By this point in the trip, I was so run down that I had to just sleep on the bus. Peter, in his infinite friendliness (he always had my best interests at heart while we were in Augsburg, let me tell you), decided to take a picture of me as I slept. This was the second time that such a thing happened to me. Ah, well.
Unfortunately for us, the weather was kind kind of crappy on this day--the skies were all overcast and everything was kind of gray, but we were in the Alps! How many of my friends from high school could say that they've been to the Alps? Maybe one, but not more than that! :) It was quite a pleasure to be there, to say the least
I tried to snap some photos of the mountains as we drew close in the bus, but I was generally unsuccessful: as I said, the weather wasn't cooperating and as anyone who has ever tried to take photos from a moving vehicle, glass and movement are both entirely nonconducive (yeah, I know--that's not a real word, but it's what I'm putting here. Look up 'conducive' if you're confused and toss 'not' in front of the definition.) to photography (except for the minor fact that glass is used in camera lenses and that without moving parts, most cameras couldn't work. . . ah, just scratch the whole thing!). The pictures are all just okay, in my opinion.
Each time Castle Neuschwanstein had come up in conversation, any one of the German students within earshot said that we would see more Americans and Japanese (at this point, upon saying the word "Japanese," the Germans would mime someone taking photos in an obnoxious way *click click click*) at the Castle than we would see Germans, which was kind of funny. I totally believed them (all of the German students seemed like honest and trustable people), but it didn't really seem real to me until I was actually there myself, seeing the Japanese arrive in large tour busses, ride in carriages, and, the piéce de resistance, seeing an entire tour group line dedicated to people who speak Japanese. Heh. It was quite something. I think that I'm still aching from the growing pains brought on by the broadening of my horizons.
I realized that I didn't have a decent picture of John out my several hundred that I had taken--he had escaped unscathed each time I would draw my camera. . . but I captured him this time! Notice our "matching" fleeces. I love a good fleece, by the way. And that fleece is my all-time favorite. Too bad it's wearing out, now!
The tour was pretty cool, I'd say. The castle, which was constructed in the mid-late 19th century by the "Mad" King Ludwig II of Bavaria, was really pretty to look at (I'm told that it's actually the castle that "Cinderella's Castle" at Walt Disney World is modeled after), but the interior isn't really finished. For example, the entire third floor is just bare stone. . . However, the rooms that were finished were quite beautiful. Unfortunately, taking photos inside the castle was prohibited, so I don't have any images for you--only three-week-old memories. :) I beg your collective pardon.
After we finished going through the castle, we did some additional hiking on the castle grounds. We went up the mountain some more and then we got to walk on this bridge that spanned this gorgeous gorge--it was quite beautiful. From this vantage point, we all had chances to take pictures of Castle Neuschwanstein (which means 'new swan stone' directly translated, I think (E-mail me if I'm way off. (So far, so good.)). It was pretty neat. :)
We decided to hit up a town not too far away after after leaving the castle grounds. I ate a Hawaiian pizza (6 of us went to the Italian place--the others went to a ritzy Bavarian restaurant to get food) and had a ginger ale, or something of the like, I think. I shared a slice of my pizza with Stefan in return for a slice of his "pizza romana", which I didn't think was as good as my Hawaiian pizza, but I had wanted to try some, so I still think it was a good trade. Stefan seemed to agree, which I thought was pretty cool. :) We all had a great time at lunch. If I ever to back to whatever town that was, I'll definitely eat at that restaurant again. :D We did some souvenir shopping and moved on. Upon our return to Augsburg, Peter and I probably did something, though I surely can't remember what it was, now. Alas. Such was day 10.
When we walked into the castle, it looked like this. The seasons changed while we were inside, leaving us with the next shot as we left the premesis.
I'm actually an expert swordsman, so when Keiha insulted my choice of beverage (Now really, who doesn't love a good cappuccino every now and then?), I drew my steel with my left hand! I had no worries--a foe easily vanquished, I thought to myself. . .
German pizza is, on the whole, everything you'd expect from a quality pie: great flavor, texture, and size. This Hawaiian pizza was no exception. I went on to eat Hawiian pizza all over Europe later that same summer.
"Peter, you slay me!" was a common saying whlie we were in Augsburg--Peter's just a laugh riot to be around. *shakes head* I miss your company, Peter. We'll have to hang out in the fall.
Notice the elusive Japanese in the behind Peter and Laura on the left