Füssen- An Inspiration for a tale.
Updated: Aug 14
Before going to, Füssen in Bavaria, I have checked the weather forecast for the following days.
The little picture with the symbol of clouds and rain appeared immediately on my phone screen. I have to prepare an umbrella and maybe good pair of waterproofs shoes. But somehow, I was ignoring the good reason, and I haven't put any of those in my luggage.
The middle of July can't be so rainy. I assumed wrongly.
The way to Füssen from Berlin on a train is quite long, 7 hours with a change. But they passed pretty fast. The constant changing of the landscape was a pleasure to watch.
In the last two hours from Munich to Füssen, I was soaked in the green scenery, which appeared more and more present, but the sound of the pouring rain knocking on the window forced me to face reality.
One stubborn fellow might accompany me during the journey of Füssen. So let it be.
Füssen and its glory green
The first revelation about Füssen was the fabulous nature surrounding it.
The flowing river Lech with the steam of the mountains circle it, shined in emerald green.
The sight was entirely marvelous to watch.
From the moment I saw the "Lech," I knew that I have arrived in an extraordinary region. It was just the beginning of the adventure- entering the kingdom where fairytales are born.
Somehow as we all know, you can walk even hours in the rain, but you must have good shoes. I rushed with Renate, the guide from the tourism office, to the shop in the main street and bought green plastic waterproofed boots, by chance to match the nature embracing me.
A discovery of the town- Füssen
Tourists worldwide arrive in Füssen to visit the famous and intriguing Castle Neuschwanstein in Hohenschwangau. (It is a short distance bus drive from Fussen.)
But not only a picturesque village which looks like a designed picture and its dreamy castles wait for you in this region.
The town Füssen has so many tales to tell you.
Renate, the city tour- guide, showed me the colourful buildings adorned with summer flowers and the market's square.
It must feel nice to sit and relax on one of those benches that we saw on our way, (when the rain eventually would be willing kindly to stop. ) I was wondering.
"I call them the slow corners," said Renate.
I told her that I love discovering small details in a city and not just the majestic monuments that attract the crowd's attention. A city is made also from those meticulous objects which shape its character. We have both agreed on that topic. Renate explained to me many things about the rich history of Füssen
I noticed a noble statue of a girl with flowers. It was a gift from Fussen's sister city in Japan, Numata. It is located on the Japanese romantic road.
Füssen is also on the romantic road, precisely like the charming town Rothenburg I visited last August.
When you visit this region of Bavaria, you can straight away understand why it was named Romantic.
When you stroll there, it is as if the clock stopped ticking in the 18th century.
I wasn't wearing any of those laces dresses, and I was trying to get used to my new, tight green boots, but the rain finally did stop,(just for a short break) and I could have imagined hearing a classical symphony accompanied my stroll. Füssen was one of the leading centers of Germany's violin and lute making. It adds to its romantic soul another essential layer.
The St Magnus church of Füssen
A visit to the church of Füssen is an invitation to a museum of a splendid Italian rococo style in tones of ancient pink and cream.
It is rich in paintings and sculptures. Primarily you would pay attention to a giant Dragon sculpture. It belonged to the myth of Saint Magnus, who fought the dragon bravely.
Saint Magnus who stayed some years in Fussen and Christianized the inhabitants, is a significant personality for them.
When I went out of this church, I enjoyed the fact that I started to get to know the spirit of Füssen haunted by tales of a Saint defeating a dangerous dragon.
The village Hohenschwangau and the castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschawangau
The image of Cinderella climbing up the stairs with her white ball gown into a magnificent enchanted castle is familiar to any of you who have watched Walt Disney films.
This castle from this animated movie is an inspiration from the castle Neuschwanstein, built and designed by the Bavarian King- Ludwig the second(1845-1886).
When this enormous castle is revealed from afar, like suspended between the mountains and the sky, it is an unforgettable sight.
It is interesting to visit the interior of the castle. You learn about the world of king Ludvig the second. His taste in style and design. He didn't have the time to live there as he was found dead, (probably murdered) in Lake Stranberg, not long after the castle was built. The exact causes of his death stay a mystery till nowadays.
King Ludwig the second -The dark prince of the swans.
He was quite a visionary man with grand ambitions.
In one of his royal rooms, are displayed many sculptures and paintings of swans. He was fascinated by them.
In the picture, Ludwig himself looks distant, young, and handsome. (to me, he appeared like a dandy bohemian, sitting in one of those wine taverns in Paris in the 19th century ). His gaze is determined, still reflects some longing or melancholy.
He wasn't understood by society back then, often criticized for his lavish lifestyle. You feel like looking at someone so convinced in his vision and yet lost in his loneliness.
Not only the Neuschwanstein castle. The whole village is so beautiful and enigmatic.
It would be best if you climbed up to the Hohenschwangau castle, where the young prince Ludwig grew up. The garden surrounding the castle is fantastically designed, and you have another view of the landscape, from another angle.
I loved so much the walk all along Alpensee lake.
It has turned from olive green to crystal blue, in the late afternoon. It was pretty astonishing, the constantly moving landscape.
Before leaving the village, I visited the museum of the Bavarian kings and learned some more facts about the royalty back then in Bavaria. It is impossible to miss the glamorous coat from velvet blue exposed, which belonged to Ludwig the second.
I had a chat with the friendly bus driver on my way back.
I have asked him where are the best coffee places in Füssen.
"I really can't tell you because I have a friend in Ethiopia who sends me coffee from there, so I drink it at home. For me, it’s the best coffee ever"
He advised me to visit as well the castle of Füssen which has peculiar paintings.
"I have worked myself as a tour guide 25 years ago at the Neuschwanstein castle. I lived inside the castle, I had an apartment there for a while. I am not quite sure if today it is still possible."
Before I left he said " Ludwig the second was a very talented king. He was a brilliant engineer and he was a technology inventor. He created: changing lights colours effects or a telephone in his castle, quite ahead of his time."
The sun had decided to make a brief appearance. Suddenly everyone was out, walking slowly without umbrellas in the narrow streets, sitting by the fountain, warming up. The town Füssen is charming under the rain, but it sparkles under the sun.
After a great coffee and a sandwich, I visited the "Museum of Füssen". It's a stunning building from the outside and inside. It is a remarkable monument because it was once an old monastery. A quite luxurious one. With Baroque and Renaissance creations.
You will visit the different rooms and see the pictures and the sculptures. Different themes: myths and legends. From "The Dance Macabre," up to the exposition of violins and lutes.
and one particular hall, that is so festive and harmonious. The library. It is a place that celebrates genuinely the art of beauty.
Füssen in nature
When you are walking there, you can't stop being amazed by the scenery.
If Füssen is the princess, then nature is her palace.
The river Lech has a colossal waterfall - Lechfall. It is situated a 10-minute walk from the hotel where I stayed, Gaestehous Sankt Urlich. In the four days, I have been there, I had to return to this powerful waterfall, a few times. It is an exciting view and sound and I wanted to experience it more than once.
I recommend as well to see the waterfall at night, it gets another dimension. Quite mysterious.
Füssen wears a different costume at night, and I have also appreciated the view of the town enlightened by the street lamps. The atmosphere is magical.
The cruising in Lake Forgegensee was another pleasing experience. The rain created a sort of fog -white steam that covered the mountains.
I also did a walk on the path of the three top trees, where you reach the border of Austria. Fussen is actually very close to Austria. It was fun to walk on the bridges made of wood and looking around, being surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
Another authentic experience was visiting the workshop of the Violins maker- Pierre Chaubert and his collaborator Urs Langenbacher the Lutes maker as well as other plucked string instruments. Schrannengasse 12- in the same building, located a covered cozy little market. (where you can eat inside )
Their atelier looks like a gallery for these precious instruments.
They build with a lot of knowledge and precision violins and lutes, which were, as I wrote at the beginning of the article, one of the foremost leading Fussen's specialty crafts.
It was very interesting to hear from Pierre Chaubert originally from Swizterland, about the process of their work. And how do they manage to repair an old violin or lute? Did you know that it takes 200 hours to make a violin?
Although it is situated in a quite busy street. The studio is isolated from any external noise.
I wished I could have listened to a live concert of violin and lute. While the rain was knocking perpetually on the window, that would have been a perfect closure for my staying.
The famous festival of lutes and violins of Fussen takes place towards the end of August.
life is full of unpredictable surprises, good and bad, exactly like in a fairy tale.
Due to the massive rain, I couldn't, as I have wished to take the cable car up to the Tegelberg- mountain, to enjoy the panoramic view from its pic.
When I have heard about the flooding in some parts of western Germany and the loss of humans life, I have realized again that some events which occur are simply fatal.
Nature doesn’t stop demonstrating its power to a planet that didn't know how to preserve it.
I had to check the castle of Füssen located near the church which is 5 minutes walk, climbing up a hill,
The view, when you are standing in the courtyard, looking at the castle with its illusionary paintings on the walls, is very impressive.
A few hours before I left, the sun has made its comeback and shined with all its vitality.
I had to walk again in the pretty small alleys of this lovely town, enjoying its vibrant colours and the lively atmosphere. The terraces of the restaurants were crowded. I was so happy to go with the flow and to appreciate the dazzling light after the long hours of rain.
I wandered slowly back to the hotel on the path next to the picturesque river Lech. It stunned me, how with each glance, it looked different, changing its mood perhaps.
When I packed my suitcase, I have added fresh memories impregnated in emerald green...
By Niva Josef
Photos- Niva Josef
Tourism office of Füssen.
Great recommendations for a good staying in Füssen.
I stayed in Hotel-Gaestehaus- sankt -Urlich.
This quiet and welcoming hotel is located a few minute's walk from the wonderful river the Lech. You walk along the river's bank till you reach it. Very near the center of town. The location is just perfect.
It is very clean and comfortable. The room is spacy and you have a very nice view from the window. Breakfast is also very good with fresh products and the staff takes care of your requests.
Restaurants- For traditional tasty German food and especially for the region I would recommend the cozy restaurant Altstadhotel Zum Hechten
For German regional traditional food fused with light modern cuisine, please check the restaurant Hotel Fruhilhsgarten,
and if you want to have a feel like in "Alsace", try the "tarte flambée " at the restaurant Seaside with fine weather, there is a panoramic view over the lake Hopfensee.
In the village Hohenschwangau, you should have lunch or tea and a cake in Hotel Muller. The interior decor is superb and the food does deserve their 5 stars.
I have found two Cafes that are ideal for your moment of relaxation. Both serve excellent roasted coffee.
Cafe Lucca and also Fussener CaffeeRosterei
A special thanks to Anke Hiltensperger, the manager of the press and marketing of Füssen.