Time Warner Cable News' Valarie D'Elia takes a ride along Germany's Romantic Road to see the picturesque castles and villages.
The flip side of Germany's autobahn are a more unhurried experience, one you might have only imagined in story books, where you don't have to dream about sleeping like a king or queen — you can actually do it.
For some Americans, the familiarity with castles might start and end at Magic Kingdom, so what a thrill it is to see the theme park's landmark where it was in"spired."
Neuschawnstein is located at the southern end of the Romantic Road, a picturesque stretch that extends north like a magic wand for 220 miles.
I covered the top third of the Romantic Road starting in Rothenburg, a small medieval city with quirks, including a Christmas tree shop that twinkles practically every day of the year.
The route from Rothenburg to Wurzburg can be a gorgeous drive in places, but it's easy to veer off mistakenly onto a busier road, so be sure to follow the specific brown signage that identifies the scenic route.
The slower the pace, the better to soak it all in, especially when you arrive at Bad-Mergentheim, a spa destination with a resort style hotel and therapeutic baths.
Along the way you may happen upon a wine and food festival. Hotels and inns line the route, and when the Romantic Road runs out in Wurzburg there are beautiful palaces and gardens to explore.