New Swan Castle

Trip Start May 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Pfronten (Kim)

We stayed in beautiful Pfronten located in southern Bavaria in order to be close to Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairy tale castle built in the neo-late Romanesque style built by King Ludwig II. Most tourists stay in Füssen which is about 12 kilometers from the castle. We thought we'd try staying one town over. We were rewarded with lower hotel prices, less crowds and more smiling faces. Füssen was a 20 minute bus ride away.

Neuschwanstein is the same castle that inspired Walt Disney to create his famous logo. It is a very tourist thing to do but it is really a must see. There are very few places like this in the world. It has the look and all the right historical elements including murder and mayhem. Ludwig embarked on his dream home and completed about 1/3 of it before he was murdered. Ludwig did not't use an architect to design the place. Instead he employed a set designer from the theater. He was obsessed with the composer Wagner. Lucky guy that Wagner as the king's patronage kept him in the green. There are many scenes from Wagner's operas painted in the interior. Ludwig was declared mad by the Bavarian government and removed as king. Two days after he was assigned a psychiatrist both he and the doctor were found drowned in a nearby lake in the summer of 1886.

We ended up visiting Ludwig's childhood home Castle Hohenschangau, Mary's Bridge (Marienbrucke) and Neuschwanstein in the same day. Everything was with 30 minutes walking distance of each other. We did a bit of trekking around Pfronten and actually toyed with the idea of going up into one of the nearby mountains. We were surrounded by mountains and in the heart of hiking central. There is a "sport" here called alpine trekking. I admit I don't totally get it. It involves the use of two expensive poles that look remarkably like ski poles. It seems to be all the rage in Bavaria. Eventually, lethargy overcame us and we opted to laze about relaxing and soaking in the great view.

Other than relaxing and site seeing our big accomplishment was to purchase some decent hiking shoes or trekking shoes as they call it here. We mailed some extra stuff including our old shoes home. This place has more shoe stores than people. Ok I exaggerate. But for a little town it has more than its fair share.
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