The reason for halting at Fussen was, it is the closest town from the beautiful castles of Germany. 'Neuchwanstein' castle is nestled on a small hill surrounded by pine forests and taller mountains. The castle with its many towers and ramparts is the inspiration for the legendary logo of Disneyland, hence also referred to as Disney castle. A weird, nose twitching, commando style dressed lady who was the manger of our Fussen hotel informed us that there are long queue's to get into the castle also, as everywhere, the entry charge would be around 25 euros. With depleted enthusiasm we started to move towards the castle. It's a half an hour drive but within 20 min we got the first glimpse of the Neuchwanstein castle. There were clouds floating over the castle from last night's rain giving it a magical feel. It took us back to the fairytale's of our childhood but no sooner we were abruptly brought back to realty as we stood behind a serpentine line of cars waiting to get to the castle. We would have had to find a parking space very far from the castle and then wait for like 2 hrs and then pay 25 euros to get in. We voted not to see the castles from inside and instead took the first exit out to a vantage point from where we could see the castle clearly and take snaps.
Next on our iternary was to take the ' romantic road' to Munich, which passed through beautiful places intended to make you romantic, I suppose. As we understood, romantic road is not an official name but just another tourism promotional tool which our navigator couldn't find. We knew the towns through which the romantic road passes, but when we fed the info to our navigator it took the more convenient highways. Giving up we decided to explore another town called Obesrdorf after which we left for the capital of Bavaria- Munich or Munchen in German.
Till now our day was turning out to be a dampener, we couldn't get inside the castle nor did we take the romantic road also the scenery, though equally beautiful as before, had lost its awe over last 3 days. But Munich ensured the day didn't end the same way. Our plan was to return our trusted 4 wheeled companion; the VW car and take the overnight train to Paris. Bhaiyya, a late entrant into the plan, had booked next days train and so a hostel in Munich. We navigated to bhaiyya's hostel where he dropped his luggage. Leaving the car with our luggage in a multilevel car park we decided to check out the biggest city of Germany- Munich. It is a vibrant city especially after the small towns of alps. Raj and Sid had spent two days prior to meeting us here and decided to take us to the city center called Marineplats. It was 2000 hrs as we started to walk towards the city center while our train was at 2250 hrs. A 20 minute walk, where we passed many historic, huge buildings, led us to am enormous open space, crowded with people of all types. The shops which bordered the square were all shut but we'll illuminated to entice the viewer to come the next day. However the innumerable cafes in between were doing brisk business. As suggested by our German friend, Robert and Mona, whom we had met in Venice we decided to find the pub called Haufbrauhaus. It was supposed to give the same feel of Oktoberfest through out the year. Another 15 min walk ahead bright us to the famed pub. To call it a pub is an understatement. It would be at least the size of half football field! Right at the center was a band playing typical Bavarian music, of which one I could recognize as 'O Sera Sera ..... Whatever will be will be'. On all sides were wooden tables maybe 10 feet long with wooden benches on both sides of it. The big German waitresses were busy serving to the huge crowd that was enjoying beer which was served in a 1 litre mug, at times carrying 10 of such mugs at a time. We settled on one such table besides a local and a tourist family, ordering just one beer as none were thirsty. The single 1 litre mug served more as a prop for photo ops. A peculiarity of Hofbrauhause is that it is the oldest pub in Munich, soaked in history, reflecting from its many framed photographs hung on the walls. Another peculiarity is that you can carve your name onto the wooden table. Loving every moment of the place we lost track of time and it was 2200 before we knew.
Startled we started to rush back to the parked car which we had to return to the rental agency and then catch the train by 2250 hrs. It would take 15 min to reach the city center another 20 to reach the car, maybe 15 min more to return the car which was nearby. That would leave us 5 min to catch the train. It was a race against time. We increased our pace as we made this quick calculation in our head. Bhaiyya was to stay back but he couldn't return the car as the car was in Raj's and my name. Tired and with aching calves we reached the car only to find the car park shut. One problem with European summer is that with the day light till 2130 hrs you tend to forget places shut before dark. As before we began to make noise that's when a person working with the car rental agency saw us. He was the harbringer of good news and bad. Good news was he could get us into the car park, bad news was the rental agency has shut for the day. It was 2210 hrs when we reached the car parked on the second floor. Had the rental agency been open we would have comfortably won the race. Now with this new obstacle we decided to split. Sid and Swati alongwith with me would go ahead to the station so we could figure out the platform and the coach while Raj with Bhaiyya would figure out what to do with the car. Wishing Raj all the best, we parted our ways with a decision to meet at the burger king at the station. We rushed to the station crossing the road and were at the platforms within 10 min. Figuring out the platform was easy. The train had already arrived. Finding our seats we got the luggage in place and I shot off to the place where Raj was to meet us. 10 min to departure and no signs of Raj. The burger king had two entry's and for next 5 min I oscillated between the two gates. Just when I was running out of patience came the small frame of Raj with her inseparable backpack. Relieved all I asked, did everything go well? With a nod off the head she indicated all was OK as we dashed to the train just in time on our way to Paris.