Castles and Donut Balls

With our second week in Germany in full swing, we packed in as many cultural visits as possible.  This meant seeing the most beautiful castles around, on this particular Tuesday we visit Neuschwanstein.  We were briefed on the history of the castle including the original owner, King Ludwig the second, also known as mad King Ludwig.  The castle was built under his command but was never finished.  A total of 16 rooms were finished I think.  We left the hotel and traveled through the countryside to get there.  When we arrived at the castle, it was most definitely a tourist attraction.  We spent some time at the shops and the nearby lake.  Behind the lake were beautiful trees leading to the Alps, so of course, we took photos.  To the left of the lake was King Ludwig’s father’s summer house, also massive.  

Once we were done taking pictures with the lake, we started our journey.  I found my pedometer to be very helpful during this trip.  So when I told my parents I was too tired to text them, I had proof of the 20,000 steps I took that day.  Anyway, the only way to go was up on foot, step by step, to the castle.  We took a windy paved path up to the castle.  I would compare it to climbing cardiac hill about 8 times.  It only took about 5 minutes for my calves to start burning.  At the bottom of the hill, there was a service offering a horse carriage to the top of the hill.  Needless to say, we did not take that.  In addition to walking uphill on our own two feet, we had to avoid all the horse poop.

Once at the top, we took a deep breath and went back to our favorite past time: taking photos.  Eventually, we moved all other tourists off the main observation deck and took a group photo.  I felt so bad being the obnoxious Americans who now take up the entire place to take a photo.  After we finally finished taking pictures, we walked a little further to the castle for our guided tour.  The castle was even more beautiful close up.  The only way to gain access to the castle was through a guided tour, even then you can only see a select number of finished rooms.  We went through the tour and learned all about the materials that went into making the castle, how King Ludwig was inspired to design it, his activities in each room, etc.  My favorite room was the chapel.  The floor was made of over a million mosaic tiles.  Each of the prophets was depicted in addition to holy kings.  The chandelier was on the ground being polished by staff so we were able to see all its detail.  I was curious about how it had so many jewels on it.  In today’s time, if you see massive jewels, they are most likely plastic or synthetically made.  When the chandelier was made, those artificial jewels were not available.  I doubt they found multiple jewels of that size and decided to put them in the chandelier hundreds of years ago.  They may have recently put them in to add to the room.  The tour was only about 30 minutes long.  They had a beautiful gift shop that highlighted the King’s favorite animal, the swan.  Unfortunately, we could not take pictures inside the castle.  There was a small balcony where we saw a beautiful view of the city below.  We took some pictures there too, of course.  

On the way out of the tour, we were able to see the finished kitchen.  We then started our journey back down the hill, dodging horse crap, to return to the bus.  On the way down, we passed the same restaurants on the way up, but this time, they were selling donuts.  I thought I deserved a little treat for climbing all the way up to the top, so I bought myself some.  They were little donut holes stuffed with a sweet cheese and covered in powdered sugar.  They were warm and absolutely delicious.  I wanted to save my last three for the bus but gravity had another idea.  As we walked down the rest of the hill, one little donut ball fell out and started to roll down the hill.  I watched it roll down the hill and I felt so defeated I could not do anything about it.  Eventually, it stopped rolling and I was able to through it in the woods.  It was a very disappointing moment.  Once at the bottom of the hill, we hopped back on the bus and went to a neighboring town called Fussen for lunch.  

We had lunch and some free time before we headed back to Augsburg.  I caught up on some much needed sleep on the way back to the hotel.  The day was jam packed with fun stuff, as usual.  I’m sad we only have a few more days left in Germany.  I plan on making the most of it!

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