Southern Germany: Munich, Füssen, Nuremberg

Things have been looking up around here. Maybe it’s the springtime longer days, or the excitement of planning my 30th birthday trip to Denver with one of my best friends from college. I’ve also got a family reunion to look forward to in August, as well as potentially attending another conference in Mexico this year. Work keeps me busy, and then I volunteer as an interpreter and also on a zookeeping committee! (how did that all happen?!)

But I’d still like to keep this blog going because I really enjoy documenting my travels. Even if no one else reads this, I still like being able to look back on these good memories. And I’m so behind! This post is about a trip we took in July of 2017. But I’ll keep going with the posts and hopefully catch up soon. It takes a lot of work to churn one of these out.

I’ve always wanted to visit Germany, mostly because my great-great grandparents were from there (hence my last name). That, and I had heard that there were some amazing castles to see in Germany. Europeans tell me that Americans have a weird fascination with castles. But what can we say? You can’t find that kind of amazing architecture and history here. Plus, growing up watching Disney movies adds to their lure. Architecture in general in Germany is charming to me. Also, beer!

So my goals for this trip were to see a castle or two, some other typical German architecture (actually Bavarian), drink some good beer, try out the food, and explore historical places.

Neuschwanstein castle

We decided to start out in Füssen, which is a little town near Neuschwanstein castle. Getting there was a blur to me, as I was groggy from my flying medication. I know we flew into Munich and then took the train directly down to Füssen that night. We stayed in a little hotel called Maurushaus which I highly recommend. It’s right in downtown Füssen with easy access to lots of restaurants, stores, and the train station. And it’s owned by a local couple who were more than happy to give us recommendations on how to get around.

Walking down the main streets in Füssen is enchanting, especially for someone who is visiting Germany for the first time. The buildings are historical Bavarian style, each with its own personality and many with different colors. Even though it was cold and raining, I was so excited to explore the town and take in the picturesque, out of a fairy tale streets.


That night we ate at Gasthof Weizenbrauerei and it was delicious! It was my first time trying spätzle…yum!


Obligatory photo because wolf.

Even the key to our hotel room seemed to be out of a fairy tale.


Getting to Neuschwanstein castle from Füssen is a short bus ride away. And get this–the bus fare is included in the fee you pay to stay at any hotel in Füssen! When we got there, we had to wait in a long line to get tickets to see inside of the castle. Apparently these can be bought online ahead of time–which I would recommend if you want to see it.

Honestly, the coolest part of the castle is the exterior architecture and surrounding views, best seen from a bridge called Marienbrücke that’s plagued with tourists like us.

So many people!
Still got a moment for the perfect picture 🙂

Next was the hike to the castle. It’s not bad, but definitely a workout.

Signs on the way up
Views from the trail

Seeing the inside is interesting too. The disappointing part is that it’s not entirely finished! There are only a few rooms that are finished and available to see, including the kitchen.


Walking around the outside of the castle

In the same area, you can also see Hohenschwangau castle.


We didn’t go inside, but it was still worth seeing from the outside. 

When we were ready to head back to Füssen, we realized the bus wasn’t coming for about another hour, so we decided to walk back. We saw some cows along the way.


The walk to Füssen

We ate one more meal in Füssen, then got on the train back to Munich.

Roasted pork knuckle, potato dumplings, sauerkraut 
Beautiful views of the German countryside

After checking in with our airbnb hosts (Spaniards!), we went out to the Augustiner brewery.


They sat us right next to the bathroom and horse stables. We joked that it was because we were tourists.

The next day, we set out to experience the darkest part of the trip: Dachau.

We both wanted to see a concentration camp while we were in Germany. Obviously it’s a very heartbreaking, eye opening experience. Dachau was the closest concentration camp to Munich, and they have an extensive museum there. It was the first Nazi concentration camp to open in Germany.


Needless to say, it was a sobering experience. How could something so horrendous happen, in such recent history, so close to a big city?

This is definitely not a place to bring kids. I saw some there, including one who became overwhelmed by the experience and threw up.


The museum had so much information that was mentally and emotionally draining to take in. It’s a reminder that there is evil in the world, and we have to do everything we can to fight it. We have to make sure that nothing like that could ever happen again.


We spent the rest of the day exploring Munich, which has a ton to see.


Outdoor spiral staircase
Is it really a European city if they don’t have a statue of a guy on a horse?



I had heard that there was a river going through the park where surfers would go to ride the currents! On our way to finding that spot, we stopped at the beer garden to have a beer and I tried some peach streusel.


We found one of the surf spots!

Continuing on through our trek through the city, we found lots of plazas, statues, and stone streets. One cool thing about Munich: tons of people ride bikes there. It’s a very bike-able city.




We popped our heads into this random church and look what we saw! These paper birds were hung from the ceiling individually…beautiful!


Later on, we found a bell tower open to the public to walk up and get some great views of the city. It was quite a hike up, but worth it.






On the way back to our airbnb, we caught the sunset on this bridge. We were staying in a place outside of the normal touristy area.


Nearby, we found a restaurant with my name!


We had to try out this restaurant 🙂

It was great! We sampled different types of German sausages.

The next day, we took a train to Nuremberg. It was a last minute decision, but I’m really glad we went. I enjoyed just walking through the city, seeing the markets, architecture, and learning about its history.


A piece of the Berlin wall


Exploring the inside of the cathedral
The most beautiful fruit and vegetable market


I love the windows in the roof!
Checking out the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg!

Nuremberg has a lot of history. The castle dates back to the year 1000 and the Roman Empire. The castle, along with 90% of downtown Nuremberg, was demolished by bombs during World War II. Amazingly, much of the old buildings were rebuilt or restored to look like they did before the war.


Walking up the tower

Views from the top of the castle tower…


The, we walked back to the city center for lunch.



The Schöner Brunnen fountain, which is supposed to give you good luck if you spin one of its brass rings
There were a lot of people out and about. Music was playing and street food was being served.



So many covered bridges!
Weißgerbergasse, a street lined with well preserved houses 



How neat is this crooked house?





We happened upon a street fair–fun!

We continued on our walk around the historical city center. I couldn’t get enough of the architecture.


This fountain was especially interesting
I’m not quite sure what’s happening here


We briefly walked by BMW Headquarters on our way to see the Olympic Park.




Once we got to the park, we realized there was a big concert going on and you had to buy tickets to get into the park area. We walked a lonnnnggg way back to the airbnb. We went through a bunch of suburbs.


I get a kick out of German words

On our last day in Germany, we went to see the Pinakothek museum. But first, breakfast in the train station!

This was my favorite find in the train station. Warm waffles filled with chocolate!

On to the museum…

One of my favorite paintings. Just your usual hippo/crocodile/man battle. 
This one is especially amazing. Look, I killed a boar to declare my love!

Then we went to meet up with a family friend that lives in Munich. I’m so glad that he was able to make time to see us. He showed us around the city, from some of the most well known places to some local secrets (like buying a beer and hanging out by the river). His family even hosted us for dinner on our last night there.

Munich metro
Trying typical dishes in Munich with Michael
Watching Glockenspiel, where some dolls come out of the tower and dance to music
Then, down to the river where the locals hang out



It was nice to sit down and relax after a lot of walking.

A huge thanks to Michael and his family for hosting us for dinner. It was so much fun to see them and catch up at their house.

This trip was definitely a success. I have memories that I’ll never forget, and now I can say I’ve been to the motherland. Ha.

Seriously though, I’m so glad we went. Now that I’m back in the US and not traveling quite as much, I feel nostalgic for this time. But as they say in Spanish, “que me quiten lo bailado”. No one can take away from you what you’ve already danced.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura Ambrose says:

    Awesome, Heidi. It brought back lots of wonderful memories since we visited many of those same places when we were there. You take awesome photos and your stories are wonderful. I especially loved the artwork and some of your comments (of course!).

    *Laura Ambrose*


    On Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 11:05 PM, The Traveling Zookeeper wrote:

    > Heidi posted: “Things have been looking up around here. Maybe it’s the > springtime longer days, or the excitement of planning my 30th birthday trip > to Denver with one of my best friends from college. I’ve also got a family > reunion to look forward to in August, as well as” >


  2. Mark Pankratz says:

    Really enjoyed that, Heidi! Great write-up, great pictures!


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