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Hung in Fussen

October 29, 2014

While traveling through Germany in the seventies, Mrs. C. and I took a train from Bitburg to Füssen in southern Bavaria to visit Ludwig II’s iconic Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Night had fallen by the time we stepped away from the train station to look for a hotel, my backpack heavy with souvenirs and a tattered copy of Frommer’s Europe on Ten Dollars a Day clenched in my hand.


In the center of town stood a four story hotel that screamed Bavaria. Woodcarvings of animals decorated the exterior creating the sensation of a giant cuckoo clock, and light poured through open shutters framing flowerboxes heavy with geraniums. From a basement restaurant rang out peels of laughter and the sound of an oom-pah band. It was everything we wanted in a hotel, but we kept on walking knowing it undoubtedly cost more than ten dollars a night.


The only other hotel we found was a somber Howard Johnson style post-war hotel that charged forty dollars a night. We had no choice but to retrace our steps to the first hotel which, as it turned out, charged only six dollars.


Famished, we dropped our backpacks in our room and headed downstairs to the restaurant, where oom-pah music had given way to yodeling. A barmaid came by with six steins of beer in her arms; I can’t recall her face but she had magnificent breasts pushed up by a laced bodice. Mrs. C. told me not to stare as the barmaid, without bothering to take our order, plunked down two steins in front of us. It might sound unmanly, but I don’t care for beer, but if ever there was a place to make like the locals, this was it. I did my best to drain that stein, but it seemed bottomless. We did manage to order some meat and cheese, which we downed before heading to bed.


The next morning I woke before Mrs. C., pushed off the thick down comforter I’d sweated under all night and shoved open the wooden shutters to see a postcard-perfect view of the majestic snowcapped Alps. I roused Mrs. C. who also ogled the view before dressing so we could head down to breakfast.


Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle is truly magnificent, and I could wax poetically over this nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace designed to pay homage to the music of Richard Wagner. I’ve read much about it, and I suggest you plan a visit if you have the opportunity; I know I plan on seeing it again because I don’t recall it very well, thanks to a certain pony Mrs. C. spotted on our way to buy tickets for the horse-drawn wagon ride to the castle.


He was a cute little pony, white speckled with rust, and he wore a feathered cap at a rakish angle with holes cut to accommodate ears that pricked up when Mrs. C. approached to pet him. He was a prop for picture-taking and he looked bored, but his eyes widened at the sight of my wife, and if ponies can leer, he leered. As Mrs. C. stroked his soft quivering nose, the pony’s excitement grew…and grew…and grew until more than his ears were pricked. His male apparatus dangled beneath him, nearly touching the cobblestones.


When Mrs. C. realized the effect she was having on this lascivious lothario, she shrieked and backed away, to the thunderous laughter of tourists gathered around us. At the time, Mrs. C. and I hadn’t been married long and that pony’s heroic dimensions shot holes in my vulnerable ego. To compensate, I purchased a similar feathered cap and attempted to incorporate it into our amorous activities, until she ordered me not to wear it.






Would you believe that after forty years Mrs. C. still mentions that damn pony? 








My wife fondly talks of her exes with exactly the same fondness as with that pony........... But wearing the hat is her idea - I'm not entirely sure what to make of that
By: GLen on October 29, 2014
It could have been worse, it could have been you stroking his nose.................
By: John on October 29, 2014
Wear the cap to bed some night and neigh like a pony.... the rest should reveal itself naturally.
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 29, 2014
We've never been to Germany but I've always wanted to go. R
By: Rick on October 29, 2014
That part of Germany sounds divine. Such a fun story.
By: Oma Linda on October 29, 2014
haha. maybe if you drank more beer... ;)
By: TexWisGirl on October 29, 2014
Ha.. too funny. But the truth about horses is that's a sign that he was just relaxed. :) It sounds like an utterly beautiful place.
By: Hilary on October 29, 2014
Well, I didn't see THAT coming. I loved traveling in Bavaria... the food, the flowers, the lovely comforters, open windows, mountain views, cheery people. My memory of the castle is being on the little bridge over the deep gorge, and having a big attack of vertigo.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on October 29, 2014
Great story, hasn shen tried stroking your nose?
By: cranky on October 29, 2014
Great question from cranky--has she tried stroking your nose?
By: fishducky on October 29, 2014
That is a great story. Since you've recommended that I visit the castle, I'll go when you buy a ticket for me. I have to admit that the first time I saw a donkey dick I couldn't believe it. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 29, 2014
We got to see the castle from a distance, but someday i want to go back and visit it properly. Should i feel sorrier for your wife or for the pony?
By: mimi on October 29, 2014
I have neglected your blog for several days and what do I find when I return? Pony-ography! Shame on you!
By: Catalyst on October 29, 2014
They don't write about such things in the travel guides. Hilarious. I also chuckled at your search for a hotel. We too experienced those adventures on our first trip to Europe in those days of 10 dollars a day! What an era of history huh?!
By: Tom Cochrun on October 29, 2014
I just started cackling at the pony image and your wife's horror. I do hope some tourists got that on film. Just think, today that would go viral. That hotel sounded perfect. Such a deal.
By: Akansas Patti on October 29, 2014
Better than mentioning the bar maid!
By: red on October 29, 2014
Oops - hit enter before I typed anything! Love this story - you are such a nut.
By: The Bug on October 29, 2014
I can only imagine what would have happened if she had blown in his ear. ;)
By: Scott Park on October 29, 2014
you have no end of hilarious stories!
By: Kathe W. on October 29, 2014
Thank goodness it was only his nose that she was stroking!
By: Val on October 29, 2014
I was at Neuschwanstein in the 70's. So YOU were the Americans with that dang donkey, huh? MUST look through my pictures... ;-)
By: Pixel Peeper on October 29, 2014
I just found out that my wife's first husband must have been related to that pony, but I still cling to my own version of what a great lover I have always been! Sigh.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on October 29, 2014
It's that fresh mountain air ...
By: tom sightings on October 30, 2014
Be thankful she doesn't mention YOUR feathered cap!
By: Mitchell is Moving on October 30, 2014
Sweet story! And I know Neuschwanstein well as I used to work as a tour guide around Chiemsee. Your story took me back to a fantastic six months leading tours for Americans who were most appreciative of my English accent :)
By: Jackie Buxton on October 30, 2014
Quite a travelogue here, Stephen, with Frauleins and Steins! Wishing you and Mrs. Chatterbox a Happy Halloween!
By: Michael Manning on October 30, 2014

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