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The Group

Day 06: August 2nd 1999 (Neuschwanstein and Austria).

A big spider in the sink this morning.  It was the size of a shot glass and had thick legs.  I turned on the hot water and it went away.

For breakfast we had lots of bread, a few slices of cheese and juice.  No meat this morning.  Then a four-hour drive to Neuschwanstein castle.  I had a bratwurst mit pommes for lunch in the little foothill village bellow the castle.  There were swans on the lake nearby.  We packed into a small bus to the top of the rock where the castle was perched, and hiked a short distance to the Overlook Bridge.  The view was phenomenal, windy, and crowded, and I took a picture of a few of our tour members.

Now comes the bad part – a 3-hour wait in the hot sun to get inside.  Once inside we were rushed through a 30-minute tour, but the castle interior was magnificent.  No pictures allowed, however.

After the castle tour we had to rush down to the bus so that we could get to the luge before it closed.  It turned out, however, that it was opened an extra hour that day so there was no rush once we got there.  The luge was fun – we rode small sleds down a serpentine steel curved track (like a water slide).  It was a little crowded so I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted without hitting the sled in front of me.  I went twice and had ice cream afterwards.

We then took the bus to our hotel, a 15-minute drive across the border into Austria.  The hotel turned out to be a farm, complete with cows, goats, pigs, and rabbits.

Dinner was a buffet of every imaginable food, and it was all good.  The hotel seems to be one of the best so far for accommodations and the view of the meadows and mountains were awe-inspiring.  I did my laundry in a small washing machine, then spun dry it in a centrifuge before putting my clothes on the clothesline outside.

As the sun was setting, I was walking around the hotel when I came upon Jean and Don leaning over an opening in the bus where the headlight used to be.  Apparently the bus had sprung a leak in its pneumatic air supply lines.  Although the bus still operated, a large hissing was coming from the leak and it had to be stopped or it would get worse.  Being a Mechanical Engineer, I volunteered my services to help and Don accepted.  We (Don, Jean, and me holding the light) worked for an hour to try to solve the problem and eventually did, using electrical tape, a split radiator hose, and a spare hose clamp – these formed together a high-pressure patch.  My biggest contribution was figuring out how to get the headlight assembly back on.  I got two free beers out of the job, which was just fine by me.  As Jean later put it, “six eyes are better than two, no?”  I’m beginning to really like Jean.

I spent an hour with Cindy, Becky, Marilyn, and Paul in the hotel bar talking over drinks.  To bed at 11:30.


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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.