Monday, March 11, 2013

Sleeping Beauty's Castle: Neuschwanstein

Taking a two hour bus ride to Bavaria, our tour group was led by Mike. Mike was from Minnesota but had married a German girl and had been living in Munich for 9 1\2 years. Having visited Neuschwanstein multiple times, I honestly wish we could have had a bit more enthusiastic tour guide. After all, we had been spoiled with Alun and Keith on our two previous tours. 

Arriving in the small village where Neuschwanstein resides, the Alps could been seen all around us. The castle sat nestled in the mountain, standing tall with its high peaks and white, limestone walls. Before making the trip up the large hill to the castle, we arrived around lunchtime. Opting to take Mike's suggestion and eat at his friend's small place, mom and I consumed a delicious bratwurst sandwich, complete with french fries and a refreshing coke. 

Given only thirty minutes for lunch, we met back up with the group to wait for the bus ride, which took us 3\4 of the way up to the castle. Grateful for the opportunity to ride a bus, the other option was to pay 6 euros per person for a carriage ride  or walk. Now, even for the most fit, this would have been exhausting. The looks on the faces of those climbing the hill looked as if they might pass out or throw up the white flag. 

Although it didn't take us all the way up to the castle, it dropped us off only 1 minute away from the bridge that Ludwig built for Mary, his mother. I never realized my sincere fear of bridges until I stepped onto Mary's bridge. Although the metal felt sturdy, the wooden planks did not. Overlooking the wooded area, beneath us lie water...not exactly what anyone wants to see when feeling uneasy about the bridge they are standing on. 

Informed that I had nothing to worry about, it didn't ease my mind as I stood there and looked down to see that I could see between the planks, as well as feel the planks give just enough with each step.  Quickly handing over the camera to a fellow tourist, we snapped a few photos with Neuschwanstein in the background before I hightailed it off the bridge as fast as possible.

Feeling much more comfortable on solid ground, we began our ascend to the castle. Snapping photos left and right inside the courtyard area, we had to wait until our scheduled tour time to enter. As unfortunate as it was, we were unable to take photos inside the castle; however, the interior was filled with murals from various legends and myths, including: Tristan & Isolde, legend of the Holy Grail, and more. Each room was comprised of ornate woods and brass. King Ludwig was very interested in current technology and gadgets, hence the up-to-date kitchen for its time with a rotisserie, and copper pots and pans. 

Upon exiting the castle, the only way down was to walk, and the descent was enough to tire anyone out. Managing to make time to talk more with Mike, I still was not impressed by his demeanor. Everything we asked about, he played down. He was an odd duck as I would call him. 

Stopping at a small cafe, we had an hour before we needed to leave this quant, little village. Eager to get off our feet, we each enjoyed a latte macchiato, an apple streudel, and a strawberry marmalade mini pie.  The pastries were delectable, savory, and sweet...exactly what we needed. 

Many people believe that Cinderella's castle is modeled after Neuschwanstein, but it is actually Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland. Stepping inside and taking a tour, you certainly felt as if you were in a fairytale. 


Kristen Allbritton said...

I loved my visit to Neuschwanstein! Nestled in the trees and surrounding area, it is a sight to behold! Of course, when I went, we walked up to the castle. I guess when you're 19 years old, that's a lot easier to do than say, if I were to do it now :). Sorry your tour guide wasn't great, but you win some, you lose some. At least you still got to have the experience of seeing the beautiful castle!

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