This morning we got to the car rental place to pick up our car for the next week. Everything went mostly smoothly, and we were in our Ford B-max little european car! Driving manual was a little stressful being in the city, but after about 15 minutes of traffic and tight corridors or cobbledstreets, we were out of Munich and on our way south to Innsbruck.
First, however, we drove the Romantic Road toward Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy tale like castle in Bavaria. We had beautiful weather, and the scenery was breathtaking. It was actually very fun to do the drive this time rather than going by train, and being able to take pictures from different vantage points by car was really great.
We made our way to the parking area and started our hike up the hill to the castle. Unfortunately, Mary’s bridge was closed yet again (it was also closed 5 years ago disappointingly so), which is such a shame, as this was the main view that you get to see of the castle that’s so beautiful. The hike was very nice up hill in the shade of the trees, and we arrived at the front of the castle. The tickets were already sold out for the day, but me having already been inside, I knew we weren’t missing much–it’s really the outside and position of the castle that is so beautiful in my opinion anyway. Why they don’t finish the castle and create hotel rooms for people to stay in? That would be an incredible use of all the space that currently sits completely unfinished.
After a while of hiking and walking around, we headed down to Innsbruck, Austria. In order to drive legally in Austria, you have to have a sticker in the window called a Vignette. They said when we cross the border, we’ll see signs for this and we can buy a 10-day pass. The total was about $10, which was very fair.
As we left the castle area, we went through winding roads. I thought I saw an EU sign which made me think we just crossed the border, and then immediately on my left I saw a little gas station, completely common, and there was a sign on the ground that said Vignette. I about slammed on the breaks and peeled into the gas station in order to get the sticker. I can’t imagine how many people would miss this due to the subdued nature of the signage. Luckily, we weren’t one of them, and were on our way with our legally driveable car in Austria!
Austria is definitely beautiful. And being able to drive around was great as the scenery was so breathtaking from rolling green fields, to high mountains surrounding little villages along the way. Innsbruck ended up being a lot bigger than I realized, and with our unlimited data plan, we were able to find our hostel quickly.
We were a little nervous during check in as we smelled smoke, and the hostel looked more like a prison, but it sufficed. Innsbruck lodging is of course expensive, so this was a good alternative. With the use of the car, it was easy for us to get around. That evening, we went to a Himalayan restaurant and had a great meal that was very decent in price. We enjoyed walking around the Old Town as it was quite lively with people outside eating in front of cafes and restaurants.
We found a cafe to have a famous Sacher Torte, and enjoyed our slice of chocolate cake outside people watching as they strolled the streets of Old Town. It was a truly European evening. After a wonderful evening, we headed back to the hostel and had a great night sleep.