We left Munich yesterday morning early in order to get to this castle we had heard so much about. The Neuschwanstein Castle, build by King Ludwig II back in the 1850’s. This is the castle that inspired Walt Disney when he created Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. We were up and out by 8:30 am, which is a record for us when we didn’t have to catch a flight somewhere. We had a two hour ride to the castle and we were told not to get there after 10:30 am, so we drove through some of the most beautiful countryside after hitting some traffic leaving the Munich area and passing a car totally engulfed in flames. It was a very beautiful drive other than the burning car.
We arrived in Schwangau, Germany as planned and found our gelato replacement at the local super market, pretzel balls. These are soft, little balls of dough baked with salt on them. OMG, they are delicious! We were told the pretzels are good here in Bavaria, but we like these little guys so much better. After the stop at the super market we found the ticket office for the castle. They hold tours every 5 minutes in all different languages, so we picked a tour that would take place about an hour later. It takes about 30 minutes to walk up the big hill to get to the castle and we all needed the exercise, based on all the gelato and now pretzel balls, so we decided to walk it and not take the horse drawn carriage.
The walk up the hill should have been a sign of things to come. The views from the road were just breath taking. You can see for miles and we weren’t even at the top of the mountain yet. When we did arrive the view of the castle was pretty amazing. This HUGE structure towered out of the mountain like a fairytale. We took the tour and learned a lot from our tour guide. First of all, the castle was never completed on the inside. Only 1/3 of the rooms were ever finished, but the ones that were finished we over the top. The kings bedroom had a canopy for the bed that took 14 master wood carvers 4 years to complete. That is just insane. This whole castle was over the top, including the cave that was built in the castle. Someone on the tour said that this was the origination of the man cave. Pretty funny as it truly was a cave inside of his castle. We were not allowed to take pictures in the castle or I would definitely have a man cave picture in the blog.
The king, Ludwig II, died suddenly with his psychiatrist when he was only 40 years old and the castle was stopped as soon as he died. I believe the tour guide said that the castle was opened for tourism just a year after the king died. There are two other famous castles that were build by King Ludwig II and we will probably visit one of the others while we are in Oberau this week. It is only about 20 minutes away and some people say it is the best of the three. We left the castle and went back to the supermarket to pick up some food for a picnic lunch. Just out of town I spotted a parking area with a picnic table and lunch was served. The views from our picnic table we just awesome.
We jumped back in the car and headed to our next AirBnB in Oberau, a small town about 7 km from Garmisch in the German Alps. We are looking forward to some relaxation, some great hikes and some downtown away from the city. We will have plenty of time in cities from here on out, so this quiet country time is greatly appreciated by all.
To a life well lived!