My cousin who used to work in Holland, my niece from Montreal and I, studied in Paris, decided to visit the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria (Germany) last summer. We were supposed to meet up in Munich and it took us nearly…one hour to find each others in Munich subway! I was the one who confused the meeting point in the busy subway! Anyway later we had a good night with beef noodles, a nice treat from my cousin’s friend, also the owner of the house, where we stayed for a few nights.
Next morning we took a train from Munich Hauptbahnhof station to Füssen – south of Bavaria, more than two hour ride on the train, along the road we admired the beautiful scenery of Bavarian Alps. At Füssen we took the bus either No 73 (or No 78 ) to Hohenschwangau – a mountain village where King Ludwig II grew up, the man who ordered the construction of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
From the ticket office we still need to walk or to take a horse-drawn carriage, or shuttle bus ride up to the castle, three of us decided to take the carriage, it took around 20 minutes and it was an exciting experience!
In 1864, King Ludwig II acceded to the throne of Bavaria at the age of 18, completely inexperienced. His country was defeated by Prussia two years later, so in order to escape the pressures of reality, the shy and mysterious king who has more interests in art, music, and architecture, ordered to build different splendid castles such as Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. Neuschwanstein was built on the remains of two small medieval castles of his childhood.
While waiting for our visiting time – 13:30 we wandered around the mountain village and one of our favorite spots was the lake with breathtaking view, we spent most of our free time here just to take photos of the swans, ducks and discussed how far can we go to the mountains over the lakes…
Neuschwanstein overlooks another castle, Hohenschwangau. This was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II, which might have inspired his fascination with medieval folklore and architecture. The Hohenschwangau castle has been build in 1830s to replace the old Schwanstein castle from the Middle Ages. That’s why we have Neuschwanstein, i.e New Schwanstein.
Don’t miss your visiting time, better stand by at the entrance, as you miss it, you may need to buy a new ticket and it’s not funny at all when the queue at the ticket office could be very long!
The interior is not yet finished and for security reasons we were not allowed to video or photo inside the castle. Most of the walls in every room are painted with intricate, colorful and incredibly detailed stories, fascinating sagas telling stories of love, treason, magical powers, torment, death, sins, betrayal and magic. Of the over 200 planned rooms of the castle, but only 14 were finished.
The King also ordered to set up some very “modern” comforts for castle, like the lifts to carry the food upstairs, the electrical bells to urgently call the servants, comfortable central heating and other modern facilities. Certain rooms connected by the artificial grotto or even decorated with the waterfall.
Most beautiful was the King’s bedroom, it portrays the great medieval tale of romance “Tristan and Isolde” but…the king could live in his palace only for 172 days and spend 11 nights in his bedroom, on June 12, 1886, he was declared insane and arrested in his beautiful bedroom. Day later, he was found dead in lake Starnberg, near Munich. His death remains a mystery – suicide or murder still unclear so far.
The only place where we were allowed to take photos freely was at the balcony, always crowded, so it could take time to get a good spot and the view from this balcony was breathtaking. One side over the lake and mountains, the other side – plains and villages.
Every year Neuschwanstein welcomes almost 1.5 million visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Unfortunately, for security reasons the palace can only be visited during a 35-minute guided tour, and no photography is allowed inside the castle. That was my most disappointing thing in this trip, but nothing I can do! If not the trip was an exciting experience, from the scenery along the road, to the horse-drawn carriage riding up to the castle and the breathtaking view from the castle balcony! Amazing!
P.S : To prebook online tickets with a specific visiting time, you check the link here www.ticket-center-hohenschwangau.de . And remember it should be done at least 2 days before your visit!