The day began with a tiring walk up a giant hill to the original Cinderella castle: Neuschwanstein, built by Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria. I had seen the outside of this castle last year, but this is the first time I actually went inside. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the castle, so I just had to take mental pictures of what I saw. The castle was never finished because its construction came to a sudden stop after Ludwig mysteriously died in a lake with his psychiatrist. As a result, despite the castle’s massive size, the tour guide gave us a very short tour and only showed us a few rooms. With the knowledge that the swan was Ludwig’s favorite animal and that the name of the castle literally translates to “New Swan Stone”, I noticed several carvings, statues, paintings, and drapery patterns of swans throughout the building. My second favorite room is the throne room, which had a gigantic crown-shaped chandelier, which can hold hundreds of candles, and detailed paintings of Christian imagery all over the walls and ceiling. I found it hard to believe that the throne was never built. My favorite room is the cave room; it’s amazing how at first you’re in a normal room filled with fancy decorations and furniture, but then when you open the door to the cave room, it’s as if you’re no longer in a house–it actually looked like a legit cave. I thought that was not only cool–it was really epic. I wonder how feasible it would be and how much it would cost to build a cave room today.
Upon finally reaching the bottom of the hill after a shin-splinting downhill walk, we hitched the bus to the nearby town of Füssen, where we ate lunch and spent some free time walking around. I would say that Füssen is a calm, quaint, walkable town full of old-fashioned buildings–it’s almost like Augsburg, but slightly smaller and with fewer people (at least as far as I could tell). We enjoyed eating gelato near the fountain at the center of town, where a soprano saxophonist played Frank Sinatra tunes.
Following our visit to Füssen, we made our way to the Wieskirche, a UNESCO world heritage site and a famous Bavarian Catholic church. This is the second time I have visited this ornately decorated Rococo church, so I knew where the book of prayer offerings was; I wrote a brief prayer for my parents in German. We spent some time appreciating the interior of the church and walking around outside on the meadows watching a group of chickens literally cross the road (I can’t make this up).
The weather today was unusually sunny and hot–but it’s always better than heavy rain any day. Today was nice, but tomorrow…I have to give a presentation in the evening. I hope it goes well…I hope I don’t eat my words…