Getting up for our 7:40 departure time this morning was rough, but luckily, today is the day that we went to the Neuschwanstein castle, which made the early leave much easier because I had an exciting destination to motivate me. After the two-hour bus ride and the extra two hours of sleep, we arrived in Hohenschwangau with a gorgeous view of the alps and the castle (which was built by King Ludwig II in the nineteenth century and acted as the inspiration for Disney’s iconic Cinderella Castle) sitting regally among them.
We hiked up the steep road to the castle, being passed by horse carriages and cars carrying people up the steep hill. Even though I would have loved to be in a car going up this hill, the view was definitely worth the climb in the end. On one side, we had an amazing view of the town and a gorgeous yellow castle sitting across the village; on the other, we had the amazing Neuschwanstein castle itself. After admiring the views and taking yet another group picture, we walked over to a bridge where we joined other tourists to get a perfect and construction-free view of the castle. We spent some time on this bridge to take pictures and admire the sights around us and then proceeded to head inside for our tour.
The inside of the castle was just as regal and ornate as you would expect. Every room had a unique magnifence to it, with religious artwork, ornate furniture and curtains, and swans paying homage to the castle’s name (Neuschwanstein translates to “New Swan Castle”) filling every nook of the palace. As we walked through the tour, my attention and interest was especially captivated by the King’s throne room. The room had high ceilings and was full of brightly colored religious depictions, an important feature because it reflects how important religion was to the king and his reign – King Ludwig II believed that he was more than just a king, he was a mediator between God and the world. Another interesting point about the throne room is that there is no throne, just an empty stage where the throne should sit. After the king’s death/possible murder, the throne was removed from the room and nothing has been put in its place, leaving that empty stage and symbol of the king’s absence.
We finished the tour conveniently at a gift shop in which many people bought presents for their families, especially for Mother’s Day that is quickly approaching! After the gift shop and a short break, we headed back down the hill and off to lunch in Fussen. Fussen was a darling little town with ideal old European buildings, gift shops, and delicious ice cream shops. I had a delicious pasta and mock-tail berry mojito at lunch and then bought ice cream and souvenirs during our free time.
We explored Fussen for about two hours before heading back to the bus for our next stop – one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen and one of the best doughnut shops I have ever been to! The Wieskirche church that we visited was light and elegant, with a pastel theme and open feeling to it. The doughnuts that we tried were not as sweet as your typical Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme, they were simply made of fried dough with sugar dusted on the outside and they were out of this world! This stop was a perfect end to this incredibly beautiful sight-seeing day that we have had and by far one of my favorites so far! We are now back at the hotel to get some much-needed sleep so we can prepare for our huge 768-climb in Ulm tomorrow!