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Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

Austin, Texas
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Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

Hello, My mom and I decided last week to fly to Europe on her long awaited trip so I need to plan asap. This is her first time to Europe at 78 years old and she's very excited! We are arriving into Munich via overnight train from Paris in the early morning on Sept 13th. We will stay 6 nights. I am hoping for some guidance on feasibility of my itinerary and recommendations on what should be changed. Mom really wants to see the castles so I plan to take her to Linderhof, Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau castles and Herchimsee. Are there other castles I should add to our visit?

Ideally, I would like to go straight to see Linderhof upon arriving in Munich, and then traveling to Fussen where I would like to spend a night. The problem would be luggage, and whether or not this route is easy for us to take. We don't speak German and am not familiar with the area. We are packing light with just a wheeled backpack for each of us, but I understand a lot of places will ask you to keep your big bags. Is there a place to store the bags that is secure? Is the route Linderhoff-Fussen doable by two foreigners with limited language ability? If I had more time to plan, I would have challenged myself to drive to Fussen. Do you still need an International Driver's License in order to rent a car in Germany (I live in the US)?

At Fussen, we'd like to get our tickets early and take the carriage or bus up to Neuschanstein, see the other castle, and possibly the museum if we have time. I'm not sure if I should stay a second night in Fussen. I've stayed there 19 years ago and it was a lovely town. If we stay the night, can we visit the museum on the discount ticket or do all three attractions need to be seen in one day?

Upon returning to Munich, I'd like to see the city. Maybe do the HOHO bus or stick with just the Pinakthek and Residenz.

I also want to take mom to Herchiemsee and think this is a doable trip for us to take by rail. I looked up tours and saw it was a rail tour so I was a bit disappointed.

I have 1-2 days open. Any suggestions? I really wanted to do a tour of Linderhof but most wanted to stop and see Neuschawanstein and not Hohoenschwangau, and just didn't seem to have ample time for us to see everything. I wanted to take it slow given mom's age and her knees are not in the best condition. Mom is also Japanese so her English is limited.

Edited: 07 September 2013, 05:44
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1. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

I was in Munich in June with my 86 year old mother and 4 other family members. I believe if your mother has knee issues the Neuschwanstein castle may have too many steps to climb inside. We took a day tour from Munich to the N. Castle and my mother did not go with us. I believe your mother would really enjoy the Schloss Nymphenburg and the Residenz in the city. In your plans for 6 days I would plan 2 train travel days with resting days in-between. My mother who is in good health did have to take a slow day after an active day. She enjoyed the HOHO bus which I would do on one of your first days in Munich. Your plan with taking limited luggage is a plus. When we first started planning our European trip we started with 2 hotels one in Munich and one in Salzburg. We switched to one home base in Munich and took our day trip from there. Doing this made it easier for my mom. I do post a trip report of our trip.

Edited: 07 September 2013, 14:51
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Salzburg Region, Austria
Gambrills, MD
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2. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

What a nice trip you are planning for your mom! I agree that the wheeled backpack only is a great idea for travel. I've gone carry-on only for several years now, and it's much less hassle than dealing with luggage.

I see two areas you might want to think about differently. Getting to Linderhof from Munich isn't particularly quick by train - it takes 2 - 3 hours. It takes about the same amount of time from Fuessen. However, from the beautiful alpine town of Garmisch it only takes 45 minutes to an hour. So here's an idea for a schedule. It does involve changing hotels three times during your stay, but you could see everything you want this way.

First, when you arrive in Munich, after stretching your legs, you could take the train to Garmisch (2 hours). Garmisch is a pretty town in the Alps, very scenic. There's lots to see, including the ascent to the Zugspitze and the beautiful nearby smaller town of Mittenwald. Spend two nights in Garmisch. On one of your days there, take the bus to Linderhof. After your two nights in Garmisch, head to Fuessen. The most scenic way is to take the train to Reutte, Austria, and then the bus from Reutte to Fuessen (about 2 hours total). The mountain scenery on this route is simply stunning. Spend one night in Fuessen. Look around the town when you get there, and perhaps take your mom to a spa if she would enjoy that. Fuessen has a nice pedestrian zone and some amazing churches. Then next morning, check out of your hotel and leave your bags in a locker at the Fuessen train station.

There are 165 stairs inside Neuschwanstein, not all together of course. If your mom has mobility issues, perhaps you could just admire the castle from the outside, and take the bus or carriage up to Mary's Bridge for that amazing view. If you do decide to go inside, reserve your tickets on line ahead of time to avoid the long wait for same-day tickets. You can get to Hohenschwangau, the village where Neuschwanstein is located, from Fuessen by bus; it takes about 10 minutes. After you'e seen Neuschwanstein, take the bus back to Fuessen, get your luggage and take the train to Munich. Check into your hotel.

Once you're settled in Munich, you could take a day trip to Herrenchiemsee by train. It's a beautiful palace, modeled after Versailles, and we enjoyed it more than Neuschwanstein. You get there by train to Prien, then a little steam train to the harbor, then a ferry to the islands. There is a carriage from the ferry dock to Herrenchiemsee palace so minimal walking, and only a few stairs.

As for the language issue, you should have no problems. There are plenty of people who speak English. The train and bus schedules are easy to understand. All the routes I've described (except the bus from Reutte to Fuessen) can be done on the Bayern or Bavaria train ticket, basically a day pass for the local trains. One of these passes, for two people, is 26 Euros (total). These tickets can't sell out and are always available. You can't make reservations, just take the ticket and get on the local train or bus. Here are some websites for you: the German train website, a website about the Bayern ticket, the city of Fuessen, the city of Garmisch, Neuschwanstein, Linderhof.

www.bahn.com/i/view/overseas/en/index.shtml

www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Bayern_ticket

http://www.fuessen.de/en.html

www.gapa.de/Garmisch_Partenkirchen_Home_en

neuschwanstein.de/englisch/tourist/index.htm

http://www.linderhof.de/

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3. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

Hi Heiling,

I think emilysmom's idea to stay overnight outside of München is a good one, but I caution against having too many 2-night or 1-night stays. You lose too much "outside" time with the chores of packing up and checking out of one hotel, then checking in and unpacking in another hotel.

I think it would take even longer with your mom. My mom was very well travelled (had been an expat for 18 years even). But when I took her to Switzerland when she was 75, I was amazed at how slowly she moved. And every time she unpacked, she would unpack and arrange every little thing in her suitcases and settle in as if for a permanent stay. She just needed to get everything organized and set up! She just couldn't throw her bags into the room and then run out to see the town.

So, I would advise you to stay about 3 nights in Garmisch. You can easily see Füssen as a day-trip; the trip from Garmisch to Füssen via Ruette is under 2 hours. Then you can spend your last 3 nights in München.

Hope you get it all worked out!

s

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

Thank you so much! I will definitely check out Garmisch. I've seen Garmisch mentioned a few times in different posts but since I don't know much about it, I hadn't consider looking at the town. Is there a reason you recommend 2-3 nights there, to use Garmisch as a temporary home base? I will also try to add Schloss Nymphenburg and the Residenz to our IT since they were in the back of my head as high potential places to see. I know I can't do it all and don't want to overdo it so I may have to give up something. If I have to pick over a castle or a quaint town, I would probably pick the castle since that is what my mom wants to see. She said she just wants to see the castles.

Is there a place or coin locker to put a wheeled backpack near or at Linderhof?

Edited: 08 September 2013, 09:46
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Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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5. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

Hi again,

I suggest Garmisch because it is an easy commute to Linderhof, Oberammergau, and Füssen. I can't speak for emilysmom, but I believe she suggested Garmisch as an easier commute to Linderhof than from München.

s

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Oberammergau
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Gambrills, MD
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6. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

That's exactly right. I suggested Garmisch as an easier and shorter commute to Linderhof, and also because it's a beautiful town high in the Alps. Staying there for three nights is a great idea, Swandev. The trip between Garmisch and Munich is an easy one by train, too.

If you stayed in Garmisch you could just leave your luggage in the room while you visited Linderhof, and Fuessen too.

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Linderhof
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7. Re: Castle travels with elder mom by train and bus

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