Neuschwanstein Castle - Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
16Trip End Jun 23, 2012
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Eventually we headed down and joined our tour group for lunch and we both had ordered club sandwiches. Now, the German version of a club includes a fried egg on top and thank God I looked and got it off of Robyn’s before there was a serious gastric issue. Anyway, the sandwiches sort of sucked but this was the first food we had that we ate on this trip that we did not enjoy. After lunch we got a really cool slight of hand card trick from our tour guide Brad. He was very quick with his hands. I sat to his side studying his hands and could not see the any of the switches. Then it was off to the castle.
Time for some history. Ludwig II became King of Bavaria at the age of 18 after his father Maximilian II had died suddenly. Because of his sudden death Maximilian had not prepared Ludwig to be King, and Ludwig did not enjoy the politics associated with being King in Munich so he would spend as much time as possible at Hohenschwangau Castle 90 mile from Munich. The ruins of an old castle Schwangau were bought by Maximilian in 1832 and rebuilt as Hohenschwangau, which sits between Alpsee Lake and Swan Lake. Ludwig spent most of his childhood there so it was an area he loved. Growing up he fell in love with music and operas of Richard Wagner and after he became King decided to build Neuschwanstein on Swan Rock overlooking Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein was built in the style of medieval Bavarian castles with a fairy tale appearance. The castle was dedicated to Wagner’s works with each room containing depictions of the stories of Wagner’s operas. It was started in 1869 and the outside and 1/3 of the rooms were complete when Ludwig moved in 1886. Six months later Ludwig was arrested at his castle by a commission from Munich after he received a doctor's order that he was insane. Three days later he was found drowned is less than two feet of water at Starnberger Lake under mysterious circumstances; he was only 40 years old. Bottom line is he apparently was going to replace his cabinet ministers and essentially they worked a coup. Six weeks after Ludwig’s death the castle was opened for tourists.
There was an option with the tour group to hike 45 minutes up to the castle to see the waterfall below Mary's Bridge, or a bus could be taken to a spot that left a 15 minute walk up to the castle. We chose the bus, as there was no way we were going to do the hike. I could have, but Robyn with her bad knee, bad ankle, and metal hip would not have lasted 5 minutes. Plus, it was HOT. The 15 minute hike uphill was hard enough on her--even my knees were hurting. We took pictures of the castle from Mary's bridge and then our tour guide pointed out a spot above the bridge that had an even better view. The actual tour was somewhat disappointing, only because they rush you through each room and not all the rooms were finished. It was also difficult to hear the tour guide. We would have liked to linger in each room and admire the furnishings and architecture.
Overall it was a fun day but very exhausting. Tomorrow we fly to Paris.