Saturday, February 4, 2017

Next- Neuschwanstein

We continued to follow the Alps west and into Bavaria (once a kingdom in Southern Germany).

Although, the Barvarian king's capital was in Munich, the home castles were Hohenschwangau Castle near the tiny city of Schwangau.

Hohenschwangau Castle was built in the 12th century, destroyed by Napoleon, and then rebuilt by King Maximilian II in 1830. We did not visit the inside of this castle, but instead chose to visit the newer and incomplete castle built by King Maximilian's son- King Ludiwig.

"Mad" King Ludwig was a very eccentric monarch. He wanted to live the life of a medieval knight and try and bring back the grandeur and chivalry of the Middle Ages. He spent tons of money painting every square inch of the rooms inside his palace, attempted to make it as original as what would have been displayed in the great palaces of old. He was inspired by the musician- Wagner- and had many of his rooms dedicated to Wagner's operas. He may also have been in love with Wagner (it has been suggested but not proven).

Eventually the kingdom got tired of their Mad King building a castle on a cliff (which by the way it's pretty impressive the exact geographical location for the castle, as you can see from Mary's Bridge).

And he was eventually de-throned and died mysteriously in a lake days later.

Hitler would eventually use the castle to hide stole art in the unfinished rooms. Most of the castle is unfinished- only 15 rooms were actually decorated and even some of them were still missing a few things- a throne for the throne room, etc...

For those interested in travelling here- a few tips we discovered from our own experience.
1. Take the bus up and either walk or ride the carriage on the way down.
2. The cost to see inside really wasn't that amazing or as put together as we thought compared to other castles we've seen on this trip.
3. Without a ticket to see the inside, you can still go up and view the outside- which was probably the coolest part anyway.
4. You cannot take pictures inside. Sorry.
5. Show up an hour before the ticket booth opens to be guaranteed a ticket. You will have to wait in line and they sell out of tickets early... very early... and we went in the winter. I can't imagine what it would be like in the summer.

Chauffeur’s Corner (Brian)
Once we wrapped up around mid-day in Salzburg, we drove the short distance to Munich and Dachau. That night we tried in vain (lots of vain) to find a bell for my mom in downtown Munich, by car. Everything seemed to close by 8pm EVERY night in Europe…so a few days in, we started realizing that we might as well go to bed by then, ha.

The next morning we woke up early and drove roughly 3 hours to Neuschwanstein Castle. I had considered buying tickets the night before, but figured that we would get there an hour early and we would have no problem – wrong! Fortunately, we were an hour early and we scored a mid-morning tour. Before Stacey finished getting our tickets, the line was a half block long, and they ended it saying there were no more tickets for the day…maybe one hour after they had opened for the day. If you go, pre-book…or as Stacey mentions, save your money and just enjoy the external views. Notice no inside pictures? They don’t let you and there is some nice stuff to see, but not enough to warrant the cost. The real value is the view from the bridge and the view up close. And maybe the carriage rides.

Oh and driving the little curvy back roads to the Castle are really fun as well.

The serious face in the selfie from the bridge is – “lets hurry up so we don’t have to be around all these people…especially that wailing kid”.

After the castle we started the ~4hr drive to Rothenburg.

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