Published: November 6th 2010November 6th 2010
Fairy Tale Castle
taken from Mary's Bridge
Schloß Neuschwanstein is one of the many castles built by King Ludwig II during his reign. King Ludwig II is known also as the “fairy tale king”, because of this and the many other castles he built. Neuschwanstein was unfortunately never finished. Before the castle could be finished Ludwig was forced to abdicate by the members of government, because he was so deep in debt from building so many castles. The very next morning after arriving in Munich, he was found drowned in the Starnbergersee (where I went last weekend!). The circumstances of his death are still a mystery.
Neuschwanstein is only one kilometer away from another castle called Schloß Hohenschwangau, which we were also able to see. Neuschwanstein is the castle that Walt Disney modeled the castle in Sleeping Beauty and the Disneyland castle after. The castle is on the side of a mountain and looks over the small town Hohenschwangau.
Our trip began with the train we took to get to Füssen, a nearby town. We stopped there and had an awesome lunch in a Bavarian restaurant called Beim Olivenbauer. It was delicious and just what I needed after having to skip breakfast to catch the train.
From Füssen we took a bus to Hohenschwangau, where we got our first glimpse of the castle. On the way around the outskirts of Hohenschwangau we took a road that led right under the mountain that the castle is on. The castle really is amazing to see in person. Ever since I saw a picture of the castle last year in German class I’ve really wanted to come see it for myself. I thought it looked breath taking in pictures, but it’s even better in person. It really is a real life fairy tale.
We got off the bus here and walked around the corner for our tickets. From there we picked which path we wanted to take up the mountain. We decided on the longer, but more scenic route. We decided to walk it on our own and leave our teacher behind since she didn’t really know what was going on and was acting really weird. First our path took us by the Hotel Müller and the Jägerhaus (Yager house :D), which was a restaurant/hotel. Our path then led us to the other castle, which is Castle Hohenschwangau. King Ludwig II spent a lot of his childhood here
and it may have given him inspiration in the making of Neuschwanstein as well. Castle Hohenschwangau was built in the 12th century and is located right next to Alpsee (Alpine Lake), a really beautiful lake with the mountains looming right over it. I really can’t get over how beautiful the lakes are here in Germany. The strict environmental laws keep them so clean and they’re really some of the best lakes I’ve seen. We walked up and walked around the outside of the castle, taking pictures of the lake and Neuschwanstein too. Then our path led us back down by the lake and then up a path that circled up the mountain to Neuschwanstein. It was a great hike up the mountain and there were a lot of horse drawn carriages also transporting the lazy people up the mountain.
When you reach the top, you turn a corner and you’re right at the front gates of the castle. The castle is even taller than it looks, when you’re right next to it. The path led up around the side of the castle, with a beautiful view of the town below. Around the town there were also more lakes in
the distant plains.
Another fun thing about our trip today was a German friend came with us. One of Deborah’s housemates in her host family decided to come to and helped us a lot with our German. I also got to practice a lot of my French as usual with all of my friends from Belgium. Switching back and forth between three languages is really confusing, but also good practice. I got much more comfortable with speaking French and it’s really starting to come back after two years of no French.
When we got inside the castle we lined up for our tour. Unfortunately, they don’t allow photography inside the castle so I didn’t get to take any pictures, but the inside was stunning! A very few number of rooms were completed before King Ludwig II died, but we got to see a lot of them. First there was a corridor with many bedrooms that all connected. Through the first window we saw a bedroom with two beds, and then between the beds was a door that went back further to another bedroom, then in the side of the first room was a door connecting to another identical
bedroom. I guess he was expecting a lot of guests. There were huge windows and doors leading out to small balconies along this corridor and I wanted to take a picture so badly. I wouldn’t have wanted to be king for the power, but waking up to that view over the town and the plains would have been awesome.
The next room was a throne room (without a throne, it wasn’t built before the king died) with a lot of cool features. The first thing I noticed was the wall mural. Along the sides were paintings of the 12 disciples, then above in the center were 6 of the most famous kings of Europe during King Ludwig’s time, and above all of them was Jesus (the King of King’s- above the Kings). The tile floor was also very intricate. The floor was a mosaic made out of over 2 billion small tiles. The mosaic depicted a lot of the aspects of life and different animals. The last thing was the chandelier, which weighed about 2,000 lbs. It was decorated with priceless jewels around the entire rim.
The next room was the king’s bedchamber, which had it’s own confession
booth/shrine, water faucet, throne (reading chair) and most importantly his bed, which was in a canopy-like frame. The canopy was chiseled from wood and depicted a city skyline (from the 1800’s, no skyscrapers). It took fourteen expert carpenters 4 years to make it.
The second to last room was a concert hall with a really exquisite mural depicting nature. This room also had a lot of different murals from different Richard Wagner works. This was where the tour ended and we went through a small gift shop and a small restaurant inside. Down a corridor from the restaurant was a balcony with an amazing view of the other castle, Alpensee, and the town of Hohenschwangau. We went through the last room alone, which was the kitchen.
We decided to go back separately from the rest of the school on a later bus so we could see a little bit more and take more pictures, but also because we didn’t think there was anyway we could make it back to the bus stop in time, since it took forty minutes to get up to the castle and we would only have 15 to get back down and catch the
bus. So we decided to go to Mary’s Bridge, which we heard had a great view of the castle. And it really did.
After walking the ten minutes to the Mary’s Bridge we saw for ourselves that it really was the best view. Mary’s Bridge is over a huge gorge with a rushing stream below. There were so many people on the bridge that it actually worried us a little bit, but the view was definitely worth it. We had an awesome view of the castle and the lakes and plains behind it too. This was definitely my favorite spot of the day, but the balcony of the castle was good too. I really loved the beautiful scenery in the mountains and I probably took way too many pictures ☺.
After the bridge we walked back down to the town and had dinner at the Hotel Müller. Then from there we walked back down to the bus stop, only stopping to try on traditional hats and odd-looking aprons (see pics). When we reached the bus stop we ran into the rest of our class. We felt kind of bad for them, because they had missed the bus (like
we thought we would), but they didn’t get to see the view from Mary’s Bridge like we did, the teacher wanted to wait at the bus stop for an hour until the next bus came.
We took the next bus back to the train station and the bus was COMPLETELY full. People were jammed against the doors and we had no room at all. We’re lucky to have gotten on at all, because for some reason the grown adults needed us teenagers to tell them to disperse along the whole bus to make room for everyone. But we got back safely and took the next train back to Munich.
I’m glad I finally got to see Neuschwanstein in person, because last year I never would have thought that I would end up in Germany, but here I am!
There are more photos below