Happy Sunday everyone! As you might have noticed, I haven’t been particularly active for the past week. The reason behind it was that Julius and I decided to spend a couple of days near Füssen in southern Bavaria, Germany, to appreciate the exceptionally warm autumn weather this year.
Nestled below the Bavarian Alps, Füssen and its neighbouring villages Schwangau and Hohenschwangau are very popular holiday destinations; mostly because of their proximity to Neuschwanstein Castle – a must-see for many international tourists.
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle (English: “New Swanstone Castle”). And as soon as its snow-white towers came into sight, both Julius and I were overwhelmed by its beauty. The 19th century Romanesque building was commissioned by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886.
Ludwig II was known to live an extravagant lifestyle and to admire medieval kings and knights. Born in the neighbouring castle Hohenschwangau, he wanted to build himself a castle that represented an idealised image of a medieval castle. Consequently, Neuschwanstein was used as a blueprint for many other classical fairy tale castles, including Walt Disney’s famous company logo and the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
We were incredibly lucky that we had picked a day with very few tourists. The place is normally packed with buses and tourist groups from all over the world! From the parking lot, we took the bus up to Marienbrücke (English: “Mary’s Bridge”). The bridge is located directly behind Neuschwanstein and offers a beautiful panorama of the castle and the land it overlooks.
After a short walk, we entered the castle through the gatehouse and waited in the courtyard for our tour. What really surprised us was that the castle was in fact never finished. After the death of Ludwig II, his family stopped all construction work and sold the unfinished castle to the Bavarian State. The rooms that were finished according to Ludwig’s plans, are however as spectacular as you might expect from such an exceptional personality.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the castle, but I can assure you that the interior is just as grandiose as you might expect – including huge and detailed murals and even an artificial grotto! The “unfinished” part of the castle is used as a restaurant and museum today.
Right next to Neuschwanstein, you can find Ludwig’s birth castle: Hohenschwangau. After visiting Neuschwanstein, we wanted to see where the “Fairy Tale King” was born and grew up.
Hohenschwangau Castle may not be as popular as its younger sister Neuschwanstein, but it’s nevertheless a beautiful castle and definitely worth a visit. From his quarters there, Ludwig oversaw the construction of Neuschwanstein. You can still see the telescope he used to check on the progress in his bedroom.
Only a few steps from the parking lot, we found lake Alpsee and a couple of young and curious swans and ducks.
Have you ever heard of Neuschwanstein Castle?
See you soon! 🙂