Hello friends and family!
I am back with day 4 of my trip in Germany! Jonathan and I awoke fairly early in the morning in order to get ready because we had a big day ahead of us- we were going to make a day trip to Neuschwanstein castle in Bavarian which was built by King Ludwig II in 1869. Interestingly enough, Walt Disney made a trip to this castle and used it as inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle as well as the castle for the Disney logo. The castle is the most visited landmark in Germany.
We started the day off by making our way to the train station where we met up with our tour group. We grabbed a quick breakfast of panini sandwiches before getting on the two hour train ride. On the train we got to meet and talk with a few other people on our tour, we met a couple from Australia and two girls who were also from the Minneapolis area (what a small world it is!).
The train ride was gorgeous as it brought us through countryside towns and led us up to the foothills of the Ammer mountains. We stopped in a small city outside of the castle to grab a quick lunch before our walking tour to the castle started. We decided to try schnitzel because I have always wanted to try it ever since I heard the song “My favorite things” from The Sound of Music.
Our first stop on the tour was a visit to Hohenschwangau castle which is located at a lower elevation than Neuschwanstein. This castle was the home of the grandfather of Ludwig II and was where Ludwig grew up. He didn’t have a very good relationship with his own father because Ludwig was interested in the arts, plays, and humanities, whereas his father was a military leader and a politically involved king.
After a visit to the first castle we took a bus up one of the sides of the mountain to get to Marienbruke (Queen Mary’s bridge) which provides one of the best lookout spots of the castle.
The bridge was very small but it provided the most spectacular view.
We also did a small walking trail where we got a very nice view of the Alps and the neighboring town.
We booked a guided tour through parts of the castle because that is the only way to go inside to see it.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures inside the castle but it was super interesting getting to see the finished rooms and learn more about king Ludwig. According to our tour guide, Ludwig had an obsession with classical renaissance figures such as King Arthur and the roundtable. The castle was designed in this style of architecture and the rooms were decorated with symbols and depictions of famous renaissance stories. Ludwig’s favorite animal was a swan and the land where the castle was built is known as the high country of the swan. Therefore, he used swans all over the place in his decoration. Unfortunately, Ludwig died before the castle was totally completed and he only got to enjoy his time there for a few months leading up to that point.
Ludwig had a dream of creating his own separate kingdom and creating many other castles to accompany his. His plan was to use his own royal family money to construct these buildings… however the upperclass at the time and other important government officials were not in agreement with his plans. They ordered for him to be taken from his castle and brought to his psychiatrist because they deemed him mentally insane. One night, Ludwig and his psychiatrist were taking a walk by a lake and the only other known fact is that the next morning they were found dead at the bottom of this lake. The cause of their death is still unknown to this day but it is often thought that other government officials organized his death to get him out of power. Ludwig never married and had no heir to continue his family bloodline. It is speculated that he may have been gay.
I will insert a few pictures that are not my own of the inside of the castle so you can get an idea of how spectacular it was.
After the tour was over we found ourselves standing on one of the balconies of the castle looking out at the alps. The pictures say it all.
On our walk back down the mountainside from the castle we enjoyed the beautiful sounds and sights of nature.
Before getting back on the train to return to Munich, Jonathan and I snacked on some more bread.
We lucked out having such a beautiful and sunny day in Germany for our tour of such a spectacular castle. I am very appreciative for Ludwig’s bravery to go against the traditional royal family ways and pursue his own dream even if he didn’t get to finish it. Something about that is so admirable.
Once we returned to Munich we were both hungry for dinner and found ourselves in another German restaurant.
Each new experience we had in Germany made me fall in love with the country more and more.
Worry less and smile more.