Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eurotrip: Hohenschwangau

In my previous post, I mentioned that there would be lots of romanticism ahead. I'm happy to say that today delivered! But let me back up a bit. A few years ago, Joe learned that one of my favorite things in the world is doing jigsaw puzzles. Next thing I knew, I was presented with a puzzle of a gorgeous looking castle. I worked tirelessly at the puzzle, and in the process got to know the details of the castle. Unfortunately I never got to finish it, thanks to the lack of a proper table and a crazy puppy named Sam. But on the bright side, I made up my mind to visit the castle in person one day.

I think we all know where this is going, right? Today I went to the castle! And I found the aforementioned puzzle! Look closely because this is as pretty as the castle will appear in the following pictures.

The castle is called Schloss Neuschwanstein, and is the brain child of Mad King Ludwig II. It is located about three miles outside Fussen, Germany and is one of the pinnacle points of the Romantic Road. It also happens to be the inspiration for Disney's Magic Kingdom castle. I was most excited to see the outside and take pictures similar to my puzzle. Unfortunately, the weather was a big foggy and the views looked more like this.
Doh. Not to be discouraged, Angie and I went for a little hike around the castle before our schedule tour time. We found the waterfall and a backwards looking view of the bridge. I could definitely see why Ludwig wanted to build his dream castle in this spot.

By the time we walked back to the castle, the fog had somewhat cleared! The pictures definitely do not do it justice, especially since so much of the beauty lies in the surrounding scenery. Even with the fog, the castle exceeded my expectations. It is just crazy to believe that someone actually built this! (And that the purpose was residency, not attraction at a theme park.)

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so this is the last picture I snapped before we toured the interior. I so wish I had been able to take photos because the interior was filled with some of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen. From a ceiling made to look like the heavens, to murals inspired by Richard Wagner's operas, to a fake grotto... I just have no words except that I want to be a princess! I was totally blown away, especially since I had no expectations for the inside at all.
Sadly, King Ludwig only lived in the castle for six months before he had a "mysterious death" which may have been accident, murder or suicide. The theories are all over the place. The castle was never finished, and many theories point to the fact that Ludwig was going bankrupt funding it. Ironically, it has helped make Bavaria one of the richest places in the world thanks to the tourism to see the castle!

Angie and I decided to visit the Schloss Hohenschwangau in the same vicinity. This was Ludwig's parent's summer home and was a big factor in Ludwig's inspiration for Neuschwanstein. I didn't have any expectations for the castle, and honestly we went only because we were already there and figured "why not." We got lucky because I liked the interior even more than Neuschwanstein! Again, there were no pictures allowed, but I snapped a few from outside.



I love the way the castles were built right out of the rock, as if extensions of the mountains.

The views from the castle were ridiculous. Did I mention I want to be a princess?!

I owe this wonderful adventure to King Ludwig and his romantic, creative, eccentric castle-building ways.

At the end of our day, we of course had to drink a beer in his honor!

After today, I leave Bavaria and most of my historical European tour behind. It's time to catch the night train to Zagreb, Croatia! I expect to dream of castles and my prince tonight.


1 comment:

dr mel said...

We went there last summer! So fanciful! (That bridge terrified me though).