A typical day down at Neuschwanstein Palace (you can call it castle all you want) Part 1

Since a lot of my readers only have a vague idea of what I do for a living, I thought I’d walk you through a typical day for me.  More than half of my tours are down to Schloss Neuschwanstein.  If you don’t know the name, you might know it as “the sleeping beauty castle” or “the fairytale castle” or maybe “The chitty chitty bang bang castle”.
Either way, it is a 19th century palace located 2 hours south-west of Munich.  Here’s a picture from the front:

Neuschwanstein from the front

So what I typically do is gather my group at the train station, usually a group can be anywhere from 5 to 35 people.  I lead them to a train, where we sit for one hour and then switch to a second train.  During the train ride I have a chance to talk with everyone in the group, get to know their expectations, special needs, alcohol level, and anything else that might be useful to know during the day.  At the same time I can answer any questions they might have and so it’s usually a fast two hours down to Fuessen, where we get off the 2nd train.  From Fuessen we take a 10 minute bus to the small village of Hohenschwangau. ( I have a special trick to avoid the massive hordes at the bus, but I’m not giving away secrets.)

Alright, so I get everyone on the bus, nearly always everyone seated, which is impressive, and we arrive in Hohenschwangau.  I explain a few things about the town’s name and its history long before Neuschwanstein was built, and then we take a short break for food, beer, and rest rooms.

During the time that the group eats, I run up to the ticket office and get tickets.  Quite often the ticket office has a line out the door and down the street.  Certainly during the peak season if you don’t have your tickets by noon, you’re probably not getting into the castle at all.  Unless, of course, you’re me.  I walk into a side door that is only for tour guides.  I walk up, they say “hi, how are you today?  I believe you have xx people today?”…and I say yes or no …they print the tickets and I sign for them and I’m back outside in under 2 minutes.
That’s the way it’s done.

After getting the tickets, I head back over to where I told the group we would meet…and I typically have less than 10 minutes for lunch for myself.

I may or may not continue this later…in part 2 of A typical day down at Neuschwanstein Palace, which will include Mary’s bridge, the gorge, the tour inside, and of course going home to Munich.

In fact, at the moment I’m thinking I probably won’t continue this as from that point on it really is hard to say how the tour progresses.  There are so many variables involved that I just can’t say what is typical.  I try to fit in as much as possible and make everyone happy.  Time is always a problem…some days more than others.   The bridge is closed all winter.  The gorge is closed randomly throughout the year depending on weather conditions.  Trains break down.  Buses break down.  18 year old girls collapse because they think they can walk up hills they would NEVER attempt at home. Someone starts throwing up half way up the hill and continues off and on all the way back to Munich (this has happened several times).  You really have to expect a few curve balls on every tour.

…and some days, all of the above happens at once.  Welcome to the life of a tour guide.

The gorge

Back at the bus stop

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