Today we headed into southern Bavaria to visit the Neuschwanstein castle. The bus ride there was great because I fell asleep almost immediately and I woke up with the mountains in sight. My expectations were to see this massive castle that stands out no matter its surroundings, but I was surprised to see that the castle was in my opinion overpowered by the mountains. The castle is quite large but the mountains around it are on a different level.
Neuschwanstein was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and he chose a location that was close to home. His father, King Maximillian II of Bavaria, had used Hohenschwangau castle as a summer home. This castle is down the hill from Neuschwanstein castle and our bus parked next to it when we arrived. It seems like overkill to me to have two castles about 1.5 kilometers from each other but that did not stop King Ludwig.
In order to fund this castle, King Ludwig spent all of his royal revenues, borrowed extensively, and didn’t listen to any of his aides. This extravagant spending led to him being declared insane. He was suspiciously killed shortly after being taken away to “help” him. Because of this Ludwig was only able to spend 11 nights in the castle and even then, it was far from complete.
Even though the construction of this castle is marred by suspicion and potential murder I loved visiting the castle and its surrounding areas. I often found myself just smiling as I looked around. I couldn’t stop thinking how amazing it was. The castle and the surrounding area almost seemed to be make believe. Pictures will not do it justice, but I will put some in here.
It is unfortunate that this spending was viewed as insane but if it wasn’t would it still be open to the public? Who knows? All I know is that I have no doubt in my mind that if I was king and had the money I would put that castle in the same spot. The only thing I would change would be to add some height to some doorways and length to the beds. When I am King, that’s what I will do.
After a breath taking morning at the castle we traveled into the nearby town of Füssen. Before we had lunch, we were given some free time to walk around and see the town. Some people from our group went to get ice cream, but I took the time to walk around the town and visit some shops. During this I stopped into a store to just look around and I ended up having a conversation with either a worker or the owner of the store – I couldn’t tell. He told us about a vacation that he took to New Orleans. I talked with him for too long as I was late to the meet up point to head to lunch.
After visiting the town and talking with a local we headed to lunch. At lunch I had my first difficulty communicating. We needed more time to figure out what we wanted to order but the waitresses did not speak English and I didn’t know how to say more time in German. Luckily, I was sitting with Kayla who said something in German so fast I couldn’t believe it. Kayla saved the day.
Today does not seem like we did a lot on paper because I could summarize it to visiting a castle and a town. While visiting a castle is cool – it was much more than that. Having context as to when the castle was built changes your perspective from its just a castle to it is the life’s work of a misunderstood king and an ode to his favorite composer, Richard Wagner. Having these perspectives is what made this day so great and more than just visiting a castle.