DAY 9 – Neuschwanstein castle

Lake near Neuschwanstein castle

Lake near Neuschwanstein castle

DAY 9 – Neuschwanstein castle

We have just been having the worst luck with weather here in Europe. Yesterday when we traveled to the Neuschwanstein castle in Austria, it was first a light sprinkle but became progressively worse. Then at BMW today it was nice until we had to travel back and forth between the café and museum – it was an absolute downpour.

But the weather had no affect on the beautiful scenery and intellectual people we met.

The train ride to the castle was gorgeous. Bright green rolling hills with a snow-capped mountainous background made for some fantastic pictures. Excitement was high in the air as the castle peeped through the trees and some of us stood on our toes to get the first glimpse of the fairytale castle we were all waiting for.

When we got there, I bought most of my souvenirs for my family and myself. I can safely say that my friends will be jealous of my large glass beer boot that says, “made in Germany” on it!

I’ve always heard the saying, “beauty is pain,” but I never thought it would apply to a day like this. It’s more like “to see beauty, you must endure pain!” There was a lot of walking…uphill. Good thing I have all those souvenirs to prove I made the trek!

We finally reached the castle and waited for the tour. People were everywhere. Apparently around 8,000 people visit the castle every day. 8,000! That is a lot of people to be trekking through only a few rooms in an old castle. Now, I had a lot of high expectations for the castle after reading up about it, and what surprised me was how little we were able to see of it. Even as we were waiting only part of the façade was visible, and only a few rooms were finished because King Ludwig had passed before its completion.

But the rooms we did see were astounding. My hand was itching for my camera, but I knew I wasn’t allowed to take photos. Ludwig was extravagant, and he wanted everything over the top. The carvings, the paintings, the furniture, the lights, the architecture…everything screamed royalty – and for just one man. And according to Andrea, who talked to the tour guide, there were some people who really didn’t want to work for this one man. The main painter of the castle had students do all of the work.

What made it all worth it was at the very end when we hiked to a bridge behind the castle where the alps towered over it and a waterfall flowed underneath. I could finally take in the full beauty of the castle. I felt as if I was in a fairytale dream.

But the life of Ludwig is like a fairy tale in itself, which makes the castle all the more fascinating. What Aimee had said I thought really brought his whole story together. He built it to get away from the public eye because it was during the time period transition when people were starting to favor elections and political power rather than God-sent monarchs. I believe she said the castle then was built out of fear. And a fear well purposed as Ludwig only lived a short period of time in the castle before some declared him insane followed by his mysterious death. Personally, I think it was murder!

The castle has a great story attached to it, but it would be even more magical if it weren’t a copy of an architectural style years ago. Ludwig was a romantic, and he wanted to turn back the clock. If only he could’ve done it after that fateful night stroll when he never returned.