Day 12: A Real-Life Fairytale

I had been looking forward to visiting the Neuschwanstein castle since the first Plus3 lecture, and today did not disappoint! The day began with a traditional Bavarian breakfast, which I had also been very excited about, as Dr. Feick and some of the German students had told us how delicious the food was. Since we would be eating a heavy breakfast, I only ate a croissant at the hotel before getting on the bus. After a short ride, we arrived at Baindlkirch, the place where we would be having breakfast. The second we walked inside, the strong smell of sausages hit me. That was probably one of the strongest aromas I have ever experienced, but after a while I got used to it. Once we sat down, we ordered drinks, and I along with a few others got apfelschorle, a fizzy apple juice recommended by Arielle. I liked it, and it tasted like sparkling cider to me. Within a few minutes, a pot of white sausages and a basket of pretzels was placed on our table. All the sausages were linked together, and it took a bit of effort to cut them apart. The sausages come with a casing on them that is not to be eaten, so we had to cut the sausages and peel the casing off. Though it was a lot of work to eat the sausages, it was worth it because they were delicious, especially when paired with a special sweet mustard. This was definitely one of the most unique meals I have ever had, and I am very glad I got to experience it!

Our Traditional Bavarian Breakfast

After I finished eating, I looked around and really took in the busy atmosphere. Most of the people there were German, and they were all drinking beer and conversing with each other. I figured this special Thursday morning breakfast was probably a social activity for many locals. It was nice to be in such an authentic environment right before going to one of the biggest tourist attractions in Germany.   

We made another stop on our way to Neuschwanstein, where I saw one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. At first, it seemed like we had stopped in the middle of nowhere, but then we came across a little town and a church amidst fields of green. This building was the Wieskirche church, and from the outside it seemed like an ordinary church, but the interior was absolutely beautiful. I felt like I had walked into a painting, and there were so many intricate details everywhere. There was a lot to take in, but I was in awe of such a breathtaking work of art. I used to take art lessons, and my teacher would also teach us about art history. Europe, in particular, has such a rich history in art, so I really appreciated the chance to see a masterpiece. I also loved the fact that the church is so isolated because I think going out of the way to see it makes the experience even more special.

A glimpse into the Wieskirche

Eventually, we made it to Neuschwanstein! I could not help but feel increasingly more excited as we saw the castle in the distance. When we arrived, we were given sandwiches for lunch, and we had some time to explore the town at the bottom of the mountain. A group of us went for a short walk along the Alpsee, a lake very close to Neuschwanstein. The lake and its landscape were gorgeous, with amazingly clear water and a calm, serene atmosphere. We were quiet as we walked, captivated by our surroundings. Some of the others skipped rocks for a while, which made me feel like I was back home at my local park. Of course, my local park is not nearly as beautiful as the Alpsee. After a while, we headed back reluctantly, not wanting to leave the tranquil lake yet.

The Beautiful Alpsee

We then began our hike up the mountain to the castle. It took almost twenty minutes to reach the castle, and it was certainly a hike. I enjoyed the scenery though, and once again I felt like I was at home, walking through my local park. Nature is wonderful no matter where you are, though I think hiking in Germany is a little more exciting than hiking in Bucks County. There were many horse-drawn carriages coming down the mountain, as well as cars going up and down. When we finally got to the top, I could immediately tell it was a true tourist destination. Groups of tourists swarmed the base of the castle, which overwhelmed me because we had not seen that many tourists so far on the trip. There was a scenic overlook right before the castle where we stopped to take a few pictures.

Group Picture 🙂

The castle itself was not extremely impressive on the outside, but the interior was amazing. All the rooms were unique, and there were many mosaics and paintings based on operas, so there was a dramatic yet exciting atmosphere inside. The castle was built in 1870 by Ludwig the Second, but he died before construction was completed. My favorite room was the Throne Room, as it was gold, majestic, and decorated completely with intricate paintings and carvings. There was a beautiful chandelier in the center of the ceiling, and it was definitely a room I imagined to be in a castle. The interesting thing is that there was never a throne in the room because Ludwig died before the throne arrived. The tour was short and sweet, but we got to see many beautiful rooms in the castle. There is still construction going on in the castle, so some of the rooms were not shown.

After leaving the castle, we continued our hike to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), a bridge that would provide a stunning view of the castle. Along the way, we saw more beautiful scenery of the mountains, and I did not even mind the long walk. When we reached the bridge, I could not believe how incredible the view was. The view I was seeing looked exactly like all the pictures I had seen of Neuschwanstein; it was picture perfect. The castle stood out on top of the trees and greenery, and I was mesmerized by the sight.

Scenic view on the way to Mary’s Bridge
Picture Perfect

We stopped by the town of Füssen on our way back from Neuschwanstein, where I got gelato and walked around, relaxing from the busy day we had. I was very tired, especially after I realized I had walked over 12 miles! When we were back in Augsburg, a group of us went to Beißer Burger for dinner (they had Heinz ketchup there!), and I had an excellent cheeseburger. For the rest of the night, Sahana and I planned out our free day in Austria tomorrow with the other eight people going. I am extremely excited to go to Austria, but I am a little nervous because we are going to be completely on our own!

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