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Biking to Fairy-Tale Castles and Thermal Spas in Bavaria

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The sun is setting on the foothills of the Alps. Overseeing vast meadows with tiny lanes and lazy cows is the fairy-tale castle of "Mad" King Ludwig of Bavaria (Neuschwanstein). Having borrowed a bike from my hotel, I just soaked my imagination in that Romantic king's fantasy-come-true...and then soaked my body in a classic German spa (the Königliche Kristall-Therme) that enjoys a poolside view as grand as Ludwig's -- or even better, considering it includes his inspiring castle. Biking through the fields, relaxed as Gumby and reviewing the memories of the day, I savor that moment when the setting sun warms up all the colors and the newly cut hay fills the air with a sweet and fertile humidity. Coasting home into my village, it occurs to me that the Alps -- which arc from Vienna to Marseilles -- are a symphony of experiences that can endlessly delight lovers of culture, history, and nature. They certainly have for me.

This is Day 61 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more on my travel blog.

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