Fairytale castles, swans, lakes...

Trip Start May 06, 2008
Trip End Jun 06, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

Day 13 : 20th May 2008 (Tuesday) Fairytale castles, swans, lakes...

Breakfast at the hotel was surprisingly good, especially the coffee. There were also publications from all over the world to read. Glynis was in heaven because soon we would be on our way to Neuschwanstein (meaning "New Swan Stone Castle"), the beautiful fairytale castle that inspired Disney. And Glynis loves all things Disney. So we went to the station and bought the Bayern Ticket from an automated machine for €29 (costs 2€ more if you buy from a human) which covers up to five people on regional trains. We took the 09:51 RE 32674 to Füssen with one change at Buchloe. We were at Füssen at 11:55. These trains really run like clockwork. It seemed as though everyone in the entire train was going to see the castle. Except for the guy who was sitting opposite me wearing sports clothing and toting a tennis racket. He got off somewhere midway, on his way to play a game of tennis I suppose. Nice.

The same ticket was also valid for the bus (no. 2) ride up to the castle. You have to buy the ticket and they give you time slot to enter and then you make your way to the castle. There wasn't much of a line although I'd read its very crowded in the summer. It was freaking cold. Not sure if its because its high or what, but it was bloody freezing. The bus stopped near the Marienbrucke (bridge) above the castle.  From here, we saw the castle, in all its glory. Pictures don't do it justice. It was misty and the whole thing felt dream-like. It was a short (but steep) downhill walk to the castle from there. And the views were fabulous.

We were literally shaking as we made our way to the courtyard of the castle. Entry to the castle is by guided tour only and we had to wait for our slot to show up on the digital display. Everyone waiting for their turn were holed up in the reservation area instead of braving the brutal cold weather outside. Once the guided tour started, we were all herded into the castle along with a bunch of the people while the guide yapped on about Ludwig II, who spent all his time in the countryside building castles and listening to Robert Wagner's operas. He was enamored by swans, and there are swans everywhere. The interiors are extravagant and ornate with carvings and marble mosaics. The elaborate interiors are definitely works of art. The throne room had this amazing crown chandelier. Unfortunately, they don't allow photography inside. We saw a few Japanese tourists blatantly ignoring the rule and snapping away to glory. Ashok took out his camera and sneaked a picture of the kings window seat in his bedroom and was severely reprimanded by Glynis. That was funny. The views from the rooms very also fabulous. Money really can buy you anything you dream up. Whats more amazing was that the castle was really quite modern with running water and flushing toilets and even a heating system in place.

Anyways, back to the king. So the ministers were fed up of the king ignoring his royal duties and so they had him declared insane. The next day, he and his doctor were found drowned in a foot of water (even though he was an excellent swimmer)  and his death was ruled a suicide. Hmmmmm.... Once we were done with the tour, we went to the castle cafe for a bite to eat. And then it was back outside to brave the cold winds. Brrrr... We walked up to Marien Bridge and took lots of pictures of the castle from up there. Its definitely a hike to get up there but the effort is worth it. The views of the castle, the waterfall and the majestic mountains all around from here are beyond amazing. There were some trails in that area that we walked for a bit before deciding to head back down to town. Glynis was amused by a horse that seemed to have a very disheveled mane. We walked down to the lake Alpsee and it was so beautiful and peaceful there, it felt like heaven. Everything was so scenic. Magical.

By the time we got back, it was late evening, and all we had energy for was a late dinner. We had the whole of tomorrow to explore more of the city as our flight into London was later in the night (21:35). I reiterate, even though it was an effort getting to the castle, it was so worth it. The castle was a fascinating glimpse into the king's mind, and seeing it perched up on the mountain like that really looked like it had jumped out of a fairytale book. The tour was short and crowded and only allowed access to part of the castle, but all in all it was a day well spent. Glynis was greatly impressed and so were the others I think.

Steps walked: 9018

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