Destination: Füssen, Germany

I'm delighted to introduce my first expat travel guest -- Maggie of maggieoverbystudios. Maggie is an American living in Germany. She is an accomplished architect, interior designer, DIYer, photographer, former business owner and dedicated wife and mom. She has managed to keep up with all of these endeavors in the midst of moving nine times over the past 14 years for her husband's military career. With each move, she creatively transformed all of her temporary digs into lovely homes away from home for her family. All on a budget. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Maggie is going to take us on a tour of Füssen, Germany. Let's get to know her first.

Q: Dogs or cats?
I have both, but I would say the cat is more my speed.
Q: Tea or coffee?
I would have said tea up until about year ago when I became a total coffee drinker.
Q: Cooking or baking?
Baking, especially cookies.
Q: Spring or fall?
Spring. I love to see the new flowers in bloom.
Q: Beach or mountains?
Beach! I’m a southern girl, so I will take hot over cold any day (That’s why I moved to Germany, Hah!).
Q: Favorite city?
I know my opinion is biased, but I love New Orleans (my home town). We have lived all over U.S. and now Germany, but there is absolutely no place like home!
Q: Funniest travel experience?
There are so many. Growing up the rest of the family called us the Griswolds (from National Lampoon’s Vacation). We always seem to have some sort of travel calamity wherever we go. Recently, -- while following GPS directions in Strasbourg, France -- we were instructed to drive right through the middle of what I believe was a pedestrian-only area filled with vendors, pedestrians and bicycles. (We couldn't read the signs, so we will never know for sure.) We had no idea where we were or how to correct the mistake, so we just kept following the GPS instructions taking us deeper into what seemed like a totally illegal drive. By the time we came out onto an actual road we were completely hysterical and hoping they would just write us off as crazy Americans and not cart us off to jail.
Q: Best meal you’ve ever had?
Okay, I am from New Orleans, so I have had some really amazing meals, and have a great love of food. I would have to say the best meal I have had recently was at the Weisser Bock Restaurant in Heidelberg, Germany. It was Thanksgiving evening, so we decided to splurge on a nice restaurant. We had been in Germany a week, and I was ready for something other than German cuisine. Although Weisser Bock does have a few German options, it offers primarily “international cuisine.” Whatever they call it, the food was fantastic! I ordered off the menu and my husband chose the preset five-course meal. Every single item that was brought to the table was absolutely perfect! If you are ever in Heidelberg I highly recommend it.

I asked Maggie some additional questions about expat life…

Q: What do you miss most about home?
Ice! A super cold Diet Coke with lots of ice!
Q: What you miss least about home?
Having lived in Germany a year now, I have come to realize how much the American culture has been shaped by lawsuits. There are so many things companies prevent you from doing to protect themselves from getting sued. There is no longer an “at your own risk policy” in the U.S. In Germany, you are expected to follow the rules and use your own common sense. Guess what? It works!  
Q: What do you love most about living abroad?
The shear history of Europe is so long compared to what we know in the U.S. Two or three hundred years seems old to most Americans. In Europe, I have visited beautiful Roman Gates that date back to 180 A.D. This baffles my mind, but I love it.
Q: What do you like least about living abroad?
That my house is not my own. Living in a rental. I am limited to doing only projects that are reversible. I am so ready to get back to tearing out walls and redoing floors. I can hardly stand it.
Q: Tips for others who take the leap?
Embrace the fact that most of the time you have absolutely no idea what is going on, how things work or what language you are supposed to be speaking. You’ll order a meal or attend an event and what happens is a complete surprise. I have come to accept this, and have found that sometimes the surprise is exactly what you didn’t know you wanted.

Füssen, Germany

Just after our move to Germany, we took a family trip to Füssen – a small city near the Alps at the German/Austrian border -- just before the school year started. We wanted the kids to feel like they got a real summer vacation.

We rented a two-bedroom apartment at Ferienhaus Berger -- a guest house just outside of  Füssen near the Hopfensee -- one of the many beautiful lakes in the area. I’m sure it is packed in the winter for the ski season, but in the summer it was a quiet retreat.


Most of our meals were child-friendly so we didn’t dine anywhere fancy. Unlike food at tourist attractions in the States -- where you often pay jacked up prices for mediocre food – German attractions tend to have good options at reasonable prices. The food in the area close to the two Ludwig II Castles we visited was really good. In between the Neuschwanstein castle (the castle that the Disney Cinderella castle is modeled after) and the Hohenschwangau Castle we ate at a lovely restaurant Alpenrose Am See overlooking the picturesque Alpsee. The setting was beautiful, the food was good and even the kids meals were well presented. The highlight of the day however was the treat we bought from one of the vendors up near the castle itself. I wish I could remember the name maybe someone here could help. They were similar to a donut hole only more cake like with sour cream in the batter I believe. They were fried to order and then sprinkled with powdered sugar similar to a beignet. They were heaven!

{lunch at Alpenrose Am See}

Funny aside: While having lunch at the restaurant by the Alpsee my 8-year-old son wanted to go check out the lake and the ducks while we finished up and paid the bill. We had a clear view from the table, so we let him go have a look. Not too long after he left, we noticed a group of girls (tourists from China) gathered around, taking pictures with him, and chatting away.  He was hamming it up posing for photos answering questions thinking he was Brad Pitt, I’m surprised he wasn’t signing autographs. We walked over when we finished up and they were kind enough to pose for a photo. My son the star.

{son's fan club}


As with most German cities Füssen has an Alstadt (old town) area that is primarily pedestrian and full of little shops and restaurants. While in one of the shops, I saw a beautiful white cuckoo clock. I figured these would be easy to find all over Germany, so I didn’t buy it. I still regret not buying that clock, because I haven’t seen one like it since. Now I have a good excuse to go back.

What to do

We stayed right near the Hopfensee so we rented a paddle boat and spent the day paddling around the lake enjoying the mountain scenery. The kids dared each other to jump into the freezing water to swim. You would think we took them to Disney the fun they had.

The Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles are the most popular points of interest in the area. While I don’t regret visiting them, they were teeming with tourists. For me, the amazing mountain scenery was the main attraction. A drive through the mountains, a walk along the lakes or a hike through the woods are a must.

{Hohenschwangau castle}

{Neuschwanstein castle}

Beautiful views from hiking above the Hopfensee lake...

Travel tips

A typical breakfast in Germany usually consists of a wide variety of fresh breads, sliced meat and cheeses, as well as fruits and yogurt. Honestly, my personal favorite is real German butter. You can't beat it anywhere else. At large hotels you will also find fancy coffee machines offering cappuccinos, lattes and any other coffee combination you can think of. Many hotels offer this breakfast for free and it is delicious! If your hotel includes breakfast be sure to go down and have a sample. You will not be disappointed.

If I were to do it again, I would…

Definitely stay longer and spend more time just relaxing. Sometimes you feel like you have to rush out and see all the sights, but here I felt like the sights were all around me. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy.

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Thanks for stopping by, Maggie. If you're planning a trip to Europe, definitely pop over to Maggie's blog. You can read about her adventures in France, Germany and Switzerland. You can also read about interior design trends, DIY projects and her home and garden in Germany. 

{Maggie with her adorable family at Hohenschwangau castle fountain}

1 comment:

  1. wow, how beautiful!! thank you for sharing, maggie and maureen!
    i am so enchanted by that Hohenschwangau castle! =)


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