Of course, no trip to Germany wouldn’t be complete without visiting the so-called “Disney Castle.” You may recall me writing about here before when I went with my parents and when I took Abner…..and he wasn’t impressed. You can probably tell that I enjoy coming here so it made sense to bring the family here.
You can also see that we had planned to see Zugspitze that day. It is the highest mountain in the German Alps and a mere hour away from the castle. But this did not happen, but I will be visiting it as soon as I can!!!!
Anyway, we did our repeat of breakfast from the day before, but this time I left earlier with one of my sisters (H), brother-in-law, and two cousins. You see I had made a reservation for the 11:10 tour of the castle and the latest I could be there to pick up the tickets was 10:10. So we left earlier, knowing we could get there faster. I also told T to try and get everyone also there as soon as possible because it was a 40 minute hike to the castle.
I am going to tell you right now, it was the day where EVERYTHING went wrong. The biggest hiccup was that it was a constant downpour. The. Whole. Time. It wasn’t cold necessarily but no one wanted to spend the day being a wet mouse.
Once the rest of the group arrived – we had to book it. Half went hiking (T and myself included), the other half took the horse-drawn carriage, and my parents hung out at one of the restaurants at the bottom because they had already been to the castle and weren’t too keen on hanging out in the rain.
First off, it doesn’t take 40 minutes to hike – more like 20 (faster if you’re in shape). But our group made it record timing. The horse drawn carriage? Delayed because of the rain. It was nail-bitingly stressful. But through luck and perseverance we all made with only seconds to spare.
The rest of the tour went well. There were a lot of stairs but everyone made it. I had also organized for some of the tours to be in Spanish (for my aunts) and German (for T). Everyone loved it.
But then came the part I didn’t plan for: the souvenir shops.
The tour kept us all together but once we hit those shops, everyone scattered. Some took no time to shop and others took longer. Everyone managed to stay together but one of my aunts and her two daughters were unaccounted for. We assumed that they had gone on ahead (based on some reports of others in the group) so we pushed on ahead. We reached the point of no return (where you can’t back towards the castle/shops) and then the exit and found that my aunt and cousins were still missing.
We didn’t know what to do. But we tried to get our bases covered: one of my other cousins and I stayed near the exit in case they somehow got behind us. Everyone else went down to where my parents were and T ran ahead.
I was starting to panic, I was terrified of the thought of my aunt and cousins alone in a German castle. I wasn’t going to leave without them, but I had no way of getting a hold of them (side note: American phones suck now. Back in my younger days of travel, my phone still worked outside of the US and I only used it in emergencies….or when I missed my mom. Now they don’t work at all. Even if you have an emergency, your phone is useless….how shitty is that?)
Anyway, right as I was about to go back to the entrance and talk to someone from security to let me back into the shops to look for my wayward aunt and cousins, T calls me. They were there with my parents.
I definitely went through a kaleidoscope of feelings at that point. Anger, relief, and frustration just to name a few. But I made it down to the bottom and found everyone together. Turns out my cousin tried to call but her phone didn’t work. I asked my parents why their phones weren’t because I had also been trying to call them to see if the missing relatives had made it to them. Turns out theirs didn’t work either.
Now you understand my frustration with American phones? Five years ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem. It would have cost us an arm and a leg but I would have been able to get in contact with them.
But we walked away from this experience with a valuable lesson: decide a meeting spot in case you get separated. As much as I had planned, and planned, and planned…..I did not plan for that. This lesson came in handy a few days later, but that’s another post for another day.
The important thing is that despite the temporary misplacement of certain relatives, everyone had fun and loved seeing Neuschwanstein. It was still a successful day!
Bis nächste Woche!