Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein

May 12, 2013 8:40 PM—Munich

Today was the best day and the worst day all in one. Just before 8 AM this morning, I left Munich on the train for Füssen, which is a town about 2 hours from Munich. My main reason for going there was to go to a small village just near town called Hohenschwangau because there is a very specific castle there I wanted to see. This castle is called Neuschwanstein Castle. Seeing this castle was like going to Disney world. It is as if you are entering a fairy tale, but for the people of Germany this is reality. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself...

When I arrived in Füssen I immediately got on a bus that took about 10 minutes to get me to Hohenschwangau. Once I got there I got my tickets to visit both castles. Yes, there are two castles in this small village. I was scheduled to see Hohenschwangau Castle first just before noon. So I slowly made my way up the small hill to this first castle. This castle is where King Ludwig II spent much of his childhood. It was built by his father King Maximilian II on the site of a former fortress. As far as European castles and palaces go, this one was very small, but no less amazing. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside, but the design of this building was very elaborate.

The view from one of the windows inside the castle

The view of Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein

After visiting Hohenschwangau and having a brief tour, I made my way back down the hill so I could then go up the other bigger hill. Luckily, this second hill had a bus that could take you to the top, so I chose to take the bus. The bus left you at a point where you could climb the hill just a little more to get to a bridge that allowed you an amazing view of NeuschwansteinCastle. After getting a glimpse of this spectacular view, I made my way back down a little to the castle itself, where I got another brief tour. I was really glad I saw Hohenschwangau before Neuschwanstein, because otherwise I would have just been disappointed. Neuschwanstein Castle was amazing! This one was built by King Ludwig II himself, although unfortunately when he died in 1886 it was never finished, but it was spectacular nonetheless. This castle was in fact the basis of Walt Disney's “Sleeping Beauty” Castle that is now in Disneyland in California. This is why I say it is like going to Disney World, but better because this is the real thing!

The view of Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau

The view of the castle from Mary's Bridge

Inside the castle's courtyard

Mary's Bridge

My last glimpse of the castle from the bus stop in town

Despite the fact that my motive for going all the way out there was just to see one castle, it was totally worth it, which is why I said today was the best day. On the other hand, the weather didn't quite cooperate, which is why I said it was the worst day. Not only did it not get much warmer than 40 degrees. It rained on and off all day and it even started to hail at one point. This made it quite a difficult day.

Once I finished touring Neuschwanstein I walked back down the hill, got the bus back to town, and got the train back to Munich. All in all this was an all day affair. I said I left Munich at about 8 AM and I returned to Munich at about 6 PM. However, despite the length of the day and the bad weather, this was one of my favorite days yet on this trip.

Tomorrow I'm leaving Munich and I'm heading just slightly East to Salzburg. Hopefully I'll get to do “The Sound of Music” tour and I'll be spending two nights there. As for Munich, it's been fun, but I'm hoping to leave the bad weather behind me.

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