Today we ventured to Neuschwanstein castle, our final cultural visit of the trip. We started the day with a relaxing 90 minute ride to the castle, which was built in the late 19th century by King Ludwig of Bavaria. We first saw the castle from the bottom of the mountain, and it was absolutely stunning.
Before making our way to the castle, we first visited a beautiful lake, where I got one of my favorite photos of the trip (featured). I was surprised when Liam asked me to sit on his shoulders, and I am still impressed by his ability to comfortably hold me there. There was a moment when I stumbled, and was sure that we would both fall into the lake behind us. We continued walking around the lake to get a few more group pictures, when we came across the most ecstatic environmentalist I have ever encountered.
After sightseeing at the lake, we walked up an unnecessarily long hill, where our entire group got a great picture in front of the castle. The main bridge of the castle was unfortunately not accessible, so we couldn’t get a picture with a full view of Neuschwanstein. We then proceeded up the hill even further to a tour of the castle. Before entering the castle for our tour, Oday ran up a flight of steps to get a picture in front of the rest of the castle, and he took a nasty spill. I’m pretty sure the photo was worth it.
For the umpteenth time on our trip, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the castle. Most of the castle interior is unfinished, due to constant setbacks in its construction. When King Ludwig II mysteriously died, his family had no plans to continue the construction of his castle, so it was opened to the public as-is.
We started our tour in the throne room without a throne, with beautiful paintings around the wall. There was also a bejeweled gold chandelier on the ground, which was under construction. The inside of the castle was very extravagant, and it caused me to consider living in a castle eventually, perhaps as a summer home. Maybe I could even buy and live in the unfinished parts of Neuschwanstein?
We continued the tour into the king’s bedroom, which housed a fancy bed with blue awnings, a reading chair, and a sink? I’m not sure what purpose that serves. Our tour guide explained that the castle featured modern central heating, which was updated many years after the King’s death.
The third room we visited featured a massive porcelain swan, which was dedicated to Ludwig’s favorite opera, Wagner’s “The Swan Knight.” The name of Neuschwanstein also means “New Swan Stone.” Our tour guide told us that there were at least 100 swans in the room, from swans in paintings to the large swan figure in front of us.
We then passed through a rocky hallway lit with red lighting that didn’t exactly fit into the previous elegance of the castle. We walked through a few meeting rooms, passed a dragon sculpture on the staircase, and ended our tour in a theater room. Our tour guide told us that King Ludwig built the castle to feel like he was living in the Middle Ages, and that there was only one tribute to the King himself in the entire building. We ended the tour with a beautiful view from the balcony of the castle.
After visiting the castle, we ate lunch and had remarkably cheap ice cream in the nearby town of Füssen. For lunch, we ate at a Croatian restaurant, where I ordered sausages with fries, and a delicious artichoke soup as an appetizer. Jason and I began our new two-day trend of feeding each other. The bathroom of the restaurant was probably the coolest bathroom I’ve ever seen, as both the door and stall doors opened automatically! If I ever buy a castle, every bathroom will look like that.
On the way back to Augsburg, we made a quick stop to a church, where I raced Jerry around the paths surrounding the church, and took a selfie with a chicken.
Later that night, I had a team zoom meeting, where we discussed our parts for the presentation tomorrow, and tried our best to keep our speaking points under 25 minutes. I think we’re in a good place as a group, but we still need some time to practice together tomorrow. Afterwards, I joined a few people to go bowling, but the lanes were sadly closed. We ended the day with a döner dinner, where Oday showed off his Arabic skills to a group of people sitting next to us, and Liam talked to a Ukrainian refugee about his life in Germany.
I’ll see you tomorrow for my final presentation. Bis Morgen!