Monday, February 13, 2017

Neuschwanstein Castle

We never need to see another castle again. We've seen THE castle, so why bother. 

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle has been on my Germany bucket list for forever, and a big part of why I planned for us to visit Bavaria was based on making a trip here happen. It was built by poor King Ludwig, who had a weird thing about swans, a great fascination with opera, and really lavish taste. He died in a mysterious way, but his legacy lives in in the castle he never actually lived in. 
The castle is in the village of Schwangau, about two hours southeast of Munich. We took a train to Fussen and then a bus to Schwangau. The whole train was packed with other tourists who'd apparently been informed on our exact itinerary and all arrived in a swarm at the same time. Thankfully we'd reserved our tickets online (which we were told online was our only option - it was not), so we got a shorter ticket line. 

We had time to kill, so we walked around the touristy area before ascending the hill to the castle. We grabbed bratwurst and schnitzel for lunch at a little place and enjoyed the scenery.

Right by the ticket office there's another castle - Hohenschwangau. This one is available to tour as well and had we realized how close this one was and how doable it was in our long time waiting there, we'd have explored it too.

Carson has become quite chiseled here, living on the aforementioned bratwurst and schnitzel.

There are several options for getting to the castle, and Danita loved the horses so much that we decided to ride up in a horse-drawn carriage. The other options are to walk (about a mile uphill) or to take a bus, which wasn't running because of the snow. We didn't regret the carriage as we passed lots of other people slipping on ice or wheezing for breath in the cold. One thing Fern realized once we were halfway there though was that she is allergic to horses, a fact that became quite clear after one of them lifted up its tail, swinging horse dander or whatever it is that horses give off. She sneezed for the rest of the day and we were glad we'd decided to walk down later.

I try to crop it out of most of my pictures, but it's pretty common over here to see reconstruction on buildings. It seems that anytime we visit a famous place, there's a crane or some scaffolding blocking the pretty view.

Our time slot was 2:20 and once the clock strikes that time, you can scan your ticket, walk in the doors and pick up an audio guide. I'd wondered how they did the guided tours since people of so many languages visit the castle, but they just give everyone a little thing that looks like a tv remote and it plays the audio guide in whatever language you've chosen. Pictures aren't allowed inside which keeps the tours moving along quickly (but makes it sad later - let's just say it was magnificent) and the audio for each room activates when you pass a sensor. 

After our tour, we tried to head over and walk across the bridge that provides a view of the front of the castle (the view seen on my ticket above) but the path to the bridge was unfortunately closed because of the snow. I was disappointed (especially since the view we got was obstructed by construction), but we're hoping to have an excuse to go back to the area some other time so maybe I'll get to see the castle from the bridge in the not too distant future!

A little tumble in the snow...

The castle was easily the most impressive castle I've ever seen. And technically I HAVE seen it before - it's the castle in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it inspired the Cinderella Castle at Disney.

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