A Travellerspoint blog

Neuschwanstein Castle

Are we princesses yet?

Today we did a day trip with Radius Tours to Neuschwanstein. We met at central station near platforms 32-34. Our tour guide was Jeff and we hopped on a train toward Fussen with 30 other tourists. It was cool to see how internationally diverse the group was from the U.K. To Malaysia to Brazil. It was a 2 hour ride but Jeff told us a lot of history of Bavaria, the Bavarian kings, and how the castles came about to be. I really enjoyed hearing the back story and the views from the train were jaw dropping. Just large green field with cute towns and the alps in the background. True countryside.

We got to Fussen and hopped on a 10 min 78 bus ride to Hohenschwangau – Alpseestraße to walk up to the castle. We stopped at an imbiss and I had some curry wurst with pomme frites. It was okay but helped soak up some of the beer from last night. We then hiked up towards Neuschwanstein castle. The hike looks intimidating and I still really want to take one of the horse drawn carriages (6 euros) but the hike was really pleasant and not strenuous at all. Took about 30 min. The irony was the hike and the sun made it way hotter on the mountain than in Munich itself...

So Neuschwanstein castle is less than 200 years old and as such, it is one of the most pretty and huge castles. Walt Disney himself modeled the sleeping beauty castle after this beautiful castle. The backstory is that King Ludwig II wanted to dedicate this castle to Richard Wagner because he basically fell in love with all his operas and music since the age of 17. But the king died before the castle was finished (only 1/3 was done) and it's still a mysterious how he died. His uncle then opened the castle as a museum. The rooms that were done are some of the strangest themed rooms you'll see. He has many paintings dedicated to Wagner's operas, a room dedicated to swans (his favorite animal), a whole room that mimics the inside of a cave (like literally looks like a cave), and a room designed after a music hall from another castle that he used as a knights memorial where instead of having concerts, he would light 600 candles and think about knights and their good deeds.... He was an interesting king to say the least and many people actually call him Mad King Ludwig but he did know how to make a grandeur castle! It felt like being in the middle of a fairytale with the castle and the expansive lake and plains in the backdrop.
Currywurst mit pommes
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Hohenschwangau Castle (2nd castle of 4 castles for Ludwig)
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Awesome view of the countryside
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Marienbrücke Bridge
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I love this castle!!! Neuschwanstein Castle.
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We finally made it back at 7p to central station and headed straight to Augustiner-Keller. There was some party going on where a lot of the folks were wearing cool leiderhosens. We quickly found a place to sit next to 2 Korean girls that we actually had seen at Hofbrauhaus. Small World. We ordered wiener schnitzel and obazder, an oniony cheese dip. We also ordered 2x 0.5L beers. The beers were not as good as the other 2 beer halls we went to yesterday BUT the food was on point. The cheese dip was good but it was a lot of cheese so I would try something else unless you have a lot of people with you. The wiener schnitzel was super delicious and fried to perfection and the roasted potatoes were even tastier. I would come back just for the food but the environment was way less touristy with many more locals here. I wish it wasn't so cold and windy because the garden was huge and looked even more inviting than the inside although people were enjoying the small bonfires outdoors with their beers.
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Schnitzel
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Obazder
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We headed home with warmth from our full and happy bellies.

ALSO, michelle's bag finally showed up! Thank goodness.

Posted by E.M.N 14:29 Archived in Germany Tagged beer castle neuschwanstein Comments (0)

München

Capital of Bavaria

Started the morning with hearty German pastries from Muller. Pretty tasty and really fluffy.
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Today we went on the Munich Hop on Hop off tour with Gray Line tours. We took the Grand circle which takes 2.5 hours round trip. Since the further stops are only on the grand circle, we had to plan our stops carefully because we would be stuck in that spot for one hour. The tour is a nice way to see Munich at a glance and admire all the beautiful architecture and culture. We chose to walk around the gardens at Nymphenburg Palace (summer palace of Bavarian royals). It's currently still the end of winter and so it was super gloomy and super windy. We acclimated a bit to the weather but it was pretty cold. The gardens would be amazing in the summertime but for us it was mostly a gloomy field but had a peaceful quietness to it all. Reminded us of the secret garden. We then took some pictures of the pretty swans and headed back on to the bus.
I love the streets and buildings here.
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Nymphenburg Palace
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Random hermitage of Mary Magdalene
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Secret passage way through the trees
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Cool tree arch but kinda creepy
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Even the swans were cold!
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We then got off at English Gardens which apparently is the largest park in the world. It was a huge open park with a river running straight through it. Our main goal was to walk to see the surfers surf on the "ice wave". But unluckily, there were no surfers today so we hopped back on the bus and headed straight to Marienplatz.
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Where the surfers usually surf
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Marienplatz is an entertaining city center. The new town hall is this ornate building that houses the Glockenspiel clock (unfortunately it only does a performance at 11a and 12p during winter but also 5p in the summer). We walked around and headed to Victualien Market. This is a huge open air farmer's market with butchers, cheeses, fruits, and various other goods. There is also a huge beer garden that didn't have a lot of business because of the cold weather but it would have been so nice to sit at the beer garden enjoying some beer and some of the most delicious cured meats (we bought a half of a salami). After wandering, I was on a mission to try a schmalznudel from Cafe Schmalznudel. This was one of the most delicious fried disc of dough I have ever had. It was warm and tastes like a cross over between a donut and a funnel cake with the softness of a croissant. Mmmmm. I would eat everyday.
BEST FRIED THING EVER
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New Town Hall at night (the clock is the green thing)
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After devouring it, we headed across the street to our first beer garden, Der Peschorr. This is like the fancy adult version of beer halls. We got a small pretzel to snack on and each got 0.5L of a hefe weisse. The beer was really tasty and was so smooth. But beware of the young bartender who was basically pouring glasses with 3/4 foamy head. I would go to this one if you want a less rowdy spot to drink at.
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We then wanted real food and had to visit Hofbrauhaus. It's one of the oldest and most famous beer gardens in Munich. It is 3 stories tall and holds a crap ton of people. The second you walk in, you can feel the beer flowing through everyone. Everyone is chatting and having a great time with the German music playing in the background and encouraging songs of Prost! We went up to the 3rd floor to see the atmosphere but it was less crowded and less exciting so we fought through people to find a spot at a table downstairs. We sat next to some Italian guys that by the end of their liters of beer were cheers-ing our steins even when they were just sitting at the table. We ordered a pork knuckle and a sausage platter as well as 2 L of the Hofbrauhaus original beer. The food was hearty and meaty. The knuckle was a little dry and the potato ball had a weird texture I wasn't too fond of but the crispy skin was soooo delicious. The sausage plate came on a bed of sauerkraut and it was some of the best sausages I have ever had even though it was pretty plain. The beer was also super smooth and was the perfect amount of lightness. I was determined to finished my liter and we walked some of it off on the way back to S Bahn towards home.
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I proceeded to crash very hard back in the hotel to Prost another day.

Posted by E.M.N 14:21 Archived in Germany Tagged beer hofbräuhaus schmalznudel prost Comments (0)

Lamma Island

Dat Island Life Doe.

Last day in Hong Kong! We were supposed to go to Macau but we got a late start to the day and it was super crowded trying to get on a ferry.

We headed to get breakfast at Tsim Chai Kee Noodle House. We all got the 3 choice noodle soup which includes a HUGE fish meatball, beef, and wontons! The wontons were huge and filled with delicious shrimp. The fish meatball was tasty but kind of too big. Should have shared one of the meatballs. Haha but it was really delicious and satisfying.
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We then tried to make it to Macau but due to circumstances we headed to Lamma Island instead. We had a cocktail bun and salmon onigiru as a snack and then we hopped on to the ferry at pier no 4 and endured the rocky ride over to the island. Lamma island is an interesting place and apparently the people who live here LOVE the island life. I don't think we really understood the huge appeal but it was nice walking around a fancier fishing village.
On the ferry
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We headed to the beach and on the way there, we stumbled upon the best tofu fa! And some really good curry fish balls. I hate tofu fa but it was just the right amount of sweetness and the perfect texture. (You win moos, who I also ran into for the 17748292 time this week. Haha small world.)
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We continued onward to the beach which was strange because if you looked to the right, there was a huge power plant....so not the cleanest of beaches but seemed very laid back and fun.
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We were by this point tired of island living and headed back to Central for milk tea boba at Teawood.
Milk tea boba (pretty darn tasty)
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Popcorn chicken (it was aite)
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Then we headed over for the opening time of Yardbird. A newer place that specializes in izakaya! The food was charcoal-y delicious. Most of their food is from chicken. Chef Matt is originally from Canada but worked at Masa in NYC. The restaurant prides itself in not taking reservations and so you need to get here at 6p when it opens.
Corn tempura
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Chicken skin - stuff dreams are made of
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gizzard
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Shiitake mushroom (chicken breast was dry)
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KFC - korean fried cauliflower
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MY FAVORITE - chicken meatballs that you dip in soy sauce and raw egg
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Achilles from the chicken (good but not worth it; I thought it was going to be tendon)
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Pork belly - so juicy and yummy
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Furikake rice cakes - grows on you but I like furikake popcorn better
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Chicken skin pea fried rice -- buttery deliciousness
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If you come here, get the chicken meatballs, chicken skin, and the chicken pea fried rice!! 👌

Full and content, we headed back to erika's place so I could wash up and prepare for my 12 hour flight home. Cannot be happier with my trip and extra ten pounds of weight. Thanks, sissy and gav!

Posted by E.M.N 18:37 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged island curry tofu lamma fa fishballs yardbird Comments (0)

Noi yun gai and other markets

Today's theme was learn to bargain or die trying. I was on a mission to find some plain rice noodles slathered with hoisin and hot sauce. We headed straight to Shim shui Po to go to the popular Hop Yik Tai Cheung Fun. There's was a small line for to go but it was well worth the wait. The to go line is only for rice noodles with peanut, hoisin, and hot sauce. You can either get it in a bag for eating away from the stall or in a plastic plate for eating right next to the stand. These noodles were SO FRESH and perfectly soft and chewy. I don't even like peanut sauce and it was still delicious. You can get multiple orders but we were planning to snack on the go so I ordered one order which was HK$9. Mmmmm. Definitely have to come back.
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We then headed towards Fuk Wing st because I had read that there were more stalls but we were unsuccessful in finding anymore rice noodle places. But while we were walking, we passed this little old lady who was selling the most delicious looking preserved meat and duck rice and since we didn't get preserved duck the other night, I decided I had to order some. It was served with sticky rice that was steamed with lop yook and lop churng. The preserved pork belly and preserved duck were deliciously salty but the lop churng had a funny sweet flavor that I wasn't a fan of. The sticky rice and the peanuts thrown in were so good and flavorful. I would definitely order from her again because it was so good and because she was one of the nicest food sellers in HK.
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We then walked the streets of Sham Shui Po which are divided by type like apparel, electronics, etc. I tried to bargain a little but wasn't very successful so we left and headed to Sneaker street. Pretty cool that you can basically find all the new kicks and cool colors. Gav bought a pair at SMS which was on a second floor hidden in a hallway. We then briefly walked through a part of Ladies Market and I remembered why I would get anxious there when my mother used to bargain with the vendors when I was younger. I tried to just ask for a price for someone's present and was going to come back later so walked away but the vendor kept yelling numbers at me as I was walking away. Basically dropped to half the initial price very quickly. So much yelling. Haha
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We met up with my sister to go to Lei Yue Mun to get the freshest and best seafood in Hong Kong. We got mantis shrimp (pissing shrimp which when I was younger was my most favorite thing), tiger prawns, tung sing (super expensive fish), and razor clams. The fish and tiger prawns were my favorite but all was so good and fresh. The flavors were super delicious as well. I could just eat the sauces and garlic with just rice!! Our waiter initially was very rude to us because we were clearly Asian American and so our food came slower than the other table. But the food was worth the wait and even the less than clean conditions. They cap off the dinner with a half of a papaya. Perfect ending to a delicious meal. Also, I'm super proud of my sister for bargaining with the fisherman and ordering our cooked meal and yelling at our waiter!!
Live mantis shrimp
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Crabs trying to escape
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Geoduck and razor clams
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Waterfront view
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Black bean sauce razor clams
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BEST fish ever, steamed in soy sauce of course
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Tiger prawns in soy sauce
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Deep fried mantis shrimp with garlic
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We then headed back to Ladies market so my sister could bargain more clearly and aggressively for me! Still Cantonese bargaining is a huge work in progress for the both of us.

Posted by E.M.N 18:13 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Big Buddha, big Buddha, big Buddha. Oh yeah, Big Buddha!

Lantau Island, Tai O, and Buenos Aires Polo Club

So I forced myself to sleep in today since I've felt pretty run down the last day or so. And met up with Jen, I mean MooMoos. (I actually knew she was in Hong Kong because of Facebook and had seen her at Clockenflap and randomly ran into her at Happy Valley. The world is truly a small place. We met at Pier no 6 in central and took the ferry over to Lantau Island (to the Mui Wo port). From there we hopped on to a bus headed towards Big Buddha. The ride took about "2 hours", so said google, but was really like 30 minutes.
Apparently, this Buddha was inaugurated in 1993 to "bring tranquility and promote the Buddhist monastery", in other words, bring money. The Buddha is pretty impressive though. There is a stall where you can pay for a meal ticket but walking up the stairs to the Buddha is free. (Do NOT try to make a joke about not paying for a meal and walking being free...you may be cursed at...ahem, moo) we hiked up the stairs and enjoyed a close up view of the big bronze Buddha and then enjoyed the view of the monastery and the Lantau greenery! Still had a layer of that mist smog around but beautiful nonetheless.
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We were super starving and the BEST CURRY FISHBALLS are sold by the lady at the very beginning right where you get off the bus. The fish balls were so amazing HK$20. We then headed down to the "village", basically a bunch of shops built for tourism like Subway (also, one of the cleanest bathrooms). After admiring the neat picturesque town, we took a taxicab to Tai O (HK$57).
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Tai O is a tiny fishing village that is very popular with tourists. It has a very old time feel. I loved walking around to look at the foods they were selling or contemplating eating the foods they were cooking. If they also cooked the fresh fish and shrimp right off the boat, I totally would have tried that.
We got some not as good fishballs, a squid on a stick, pork jerky, and mochi filled with red bean paste or peanuts. The pork jerky was super delicious and she cooks it right there in the stall. Don't forget to try a sample before buying! I wish I could get more jerky like this stall. The squid was on a long stick and was tasty but they throw a lot of seasoning on and it becomes overpowering. We were convinced into buying the mochi HK$6 from a very nondescript stand on the walk towards Tai O hotel by a retired Tai O police officer. He told us this was the best Mochi ever and the 90 yo man runnning the business wakes up at 6a to make it and they usually sell out by 4p. The sad part is that the old man is apparently looking for an apprentice to past down his mochi making abilities. We sat for a bit enjoying the old boathouses stilted over the water. We then headed back to the bus terminus past the ladies yelling at you to ride their boats. We took the bus to Tai Chung to take the MTR back but I have to say this is ride felt like it took about an hour. You can also take a gondola to and from tai Chung instead.
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Mochi stall
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Jerky!!
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I got back home and said bye to Moos. I then headed to Stevva with Gav to enjoy cocktails on the roof of the Prince Edward building in the middle of central. I got a sort of Pimm's cup which was delicious and they give you free rice cake snacks that are pleasantly hunger satiating. We all headed (Gav, Er, and her coworkers/friends) over to Bruno's Aires Polo Club in LKF. The bar here is known for their cocktails which are unique with interesting flavor profiles. We then proceeded to devour chorizo, steak, and dessert. The cool thing about the restaurant is that they give everyone a different kind of knife to use, like a samurai one or a switch blade. The chorizo was super tasty and juicy and paired well with the chimchurri sauce. The T-bone steak was super flavorful and perfectly cooked. The ribeye was also delicious but for some reason I liked the T-bone better. They give you different sauces but the chimchurri was my favorite. We also got mashed potatoes, fries, and heirloom tomatoes. The potato sides were worth the extra space in my stomach. We then had dessert which was a smore with frozen chocolate ice cream inside that you roast over a charcoal fire at the table!! It was such a great way to end a delicious meal. We also lucked out because there was a free musical performance starting at 930p. It was Brenda Voss from Oakland of all places!! She had a great jazz/soul vibe. Then, we headed back home.
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Posted by E.M.N 01:28 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged club buddha big buenos aires lantau polo Comments (0)

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