Car Wars Episode X: The Unfinished Castle

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.

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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).

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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…

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