Fairytales and Madmen

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Jul 10, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, May 28, 2010

Daniel here:

Well another day in Germany and another day of rain it seems!

Today we were off to see the famous Neuschwanstein castle thanks to Dax, Holly, Brett and Sarah who had given us a tour as a wedding present.  Just imagine a fairytale castle perched on a hill cut off by a deep gorge and surrounded by a forest of dark green alpine trees.   That’s pretty much the Neuschwanstein  castle.

We met our tour guide at the train station who was a young American girl (all our tour guides seem to be American) who had studied German history before coming to Germany.  The castle is about two hours outside of Munich in the Bavarian countryside so we had to catch a few trains and buses to get there but it was worth it even just for the scenery on the way there!  We had been in this kind of Alpine area before in Austria which is in fact quite close to where we were but it had been covered in snow when we saw it last.  Seeing it at this time of year was just as spectacular with vast fields of verdant farmland and clear lakes from which you could see flawless reflections.  The final 20 minutes of the bus ride to the castle were incredibly scenic and we could see the castle perched amongst trees from some distance.

The rain had stopped by the time we got to the town of Hohenschwangau which lies below the castle but the alpine air was still quite cool.  First the guide showed us the Hohenschwangau castle which was built by the Bavarian king Maximilian II and is where his children Ludwig II and Otto grew up.

Next we walked up the mountainside to a bridge over a deep gorge which overlooked the castle Neuschwanstein  and gave us our first close up view. The castle was commissioned by the king of Bavaria Lugwig II (the kid who grew up in the other castle) in the late nineteenth century and was his idea of a fairytale castle.  Instead of getting an architect to design it he got a famous set designer who had designed fairytale sets in theatres.  Apparently Ludwig used to sit on the bridge at night and just stare at his castle for hours.  If I had built something that amazing I guess I would have too!

King Ludwig II was a very interesting man and the guide told us the story of his life which was actually quite sad and he became known as ‘the lonely king’ before dying in mysterious circumstances after being declared insane.  The castle was not completed before he died so only around 15 of the 200 rooms were completed and we were taken inside to see them.  The inside was as amazing as the outside and again had a fairytale theme.  One of the completed rooms was in fact a fake indoor cave with stalactites etc which was from one of Ludwig’s favourite fairytales.  Strange guy that Ludwig...His bedroom was probably the most impressive room and was covered in wooden carvings and contained an amazing four poster bed covered in more carvings.  The room took 14 wood carvers 2 years to finish so you can imagine the craftsmanship involved.  I wish I could have taken some photos but they were not allowed so you will just have to go there yourself!  Thanks so much again to Brett, Sarah, Dax and Holly for giving us the chance to see this amazing place.

We grabbed some lunch (wieners were pretty much the only option) from the local township before heading back to Munich on the train.  The tour was around 10 hours so we were quite tired by the time we got back and opted to eat at the Thai place next to the hotel.  The Thai restaurant was actually run by Vietnamese people who didn’t seem to pick that Ly was Vietnamese because while deciding what to order the lady complained to her husband in Vietnamese that we were taking much too long and she was going to the bathroom!  Another Vietnamese guy who served us was extremely surprised when Ly spoke in Vietnamese to him.  It was quite funny because the first thing he did was yell out to his staff and make sure they said nothing bad about us!  He was quite a funny guy and he had been in Munich since moving in 1969 from Bien Hoa near where Ly’s grandmother lives in the south of Vietnam.  The food was not exactly authentic Thai but tasty and filling none the less.

Tomorrow we are off to Greece and we are both looking forward to some warm weather at last.  From the looks of the weather in Australia at the moment you could all do with a bit of warm weather too.

Stay safe!

Daniel + Ly
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Mum on

What a glorious day you had, certainly worth the journey to get there. Maybe the castle has given you some ideas for your own home, it certainly sounds very unique and as you say we will just have to go there to have a look.
Have a wonderful trip to Athens and look forward to reading your updates from there.
Love mumxxxx

Anita on

I have so enjoyed your travel blog again. What marvellous memories you are making together. Dad and I are looking forward to the time when we can travel together like we have before. Please to know you are having such a great time. Love to you both, Anita and Dad

Aunty Pete on

Where are you guys, miss you xoxox

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