Neuschwanstein Castle–Anniversary Weekend Day 1

To celebrate our 1st annivesary (Wow!) we planned a trip to see the most famous castle in all of Germany–Neuschwanstein. Unless you’ve been there, you’ve probably never heard of this castle. However, this castle was the inspiration for the design of the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Everything we read about this place was amazing; it seemed to be a quaint German town in Bavaria but with the romanticism of 2 looming castles (The other castle which is named after the town, Hohenschwangua, is quite impressive as well). A perfect spot, indeed, to celebrate an annivesary.

When we arrived we realized that our weekend wasn’t exactly going to be the peaceful retreat we had in mind. There were so many tourists and tourist buses infiltrating the town that it was difficult to even reach the hotel. Lauren had to peel Russ’s white knuckles from the steering wheel upon arrival. (Ok, maybe this is a tad bit exaggerated).

We stood in line for half an hour or so to get our tickets to go up to the castle with an English tour guide. Because we had a few hours to kill before we began our uphill trek, we decided to have lunch. No sooner did we sit under a protective covering than the skies let loose. We smiled at each other; we couldn’t have timed that more perfectly, we snickered! Or so we thought…

Move forward to castle climb. We gave ourselves an hour to get up the hill because the suggested hike time is 45 minutes. Some people took buses, others chose horse-drawn carriages, but still a significant amount of people walked, even this kid who is spotting the lederhosen we hope to have our soon-to-be-born nephew wearing.

The walk was nice. We got a great breeze and eventually came upon this.

It’s truly hard to appreciate the size of the castle through the pictures. As we approached, we got too close to encompass the full castle in the camera, so we figured that after the tour we’d climb to a spot that’s further away to try to get it all in one shot. This place is called “Mary’s Bridge” or “Marien Bruecke.” For now, though, we practiced taking in the view and saying, “Good morning, my kingdom” as if we were crazy King Ludwig II himself.

They restrict you from taking pictures inside the castle, so here are a few more of the outside for your viewing pleasure.

It turns out that very few rooms of the castle were actually finished. Part of that was because Ludwig was building several castles all over Bavaria (including Castle Hohenschwangua which he built for his parents) and had basically eaten up all of his funds by doing so. Top officials in the government thought he was crazy for doing this, convinced doctors to deem him unfit to serve, and ousted him from office. The next day Ludwig II was found dead. Mysterious, eh?

Anyway, we started to head here:

It was only slightly disconcerting that on our climb our view of the castle was this…

Then this…

At this point, it maybe should have been our clue to turn around, give up our mission, and get somewhere safe. But surely, it rained earlier in the day and we had missed it! We trekked on. Was it worth it?

Our view from Mary’s Bridge:

Seconds after appearing on the bridge, it began to pour. Thunder cracked, lightning struck, and we had at least 1.5 Kilometers to walk to somewhere dry. At first we tried waiting it out under our umbrellas. I mean, really, how long could it rain for this hard? Unfortunately for us the answer ended up being “all night.”

The damage even though we each had our own umbrella:

The picture hardly does this justice; as Russ puts it, “Our faces and the tops of our heads stayed very dry.” 🙂

Unfortunately we were forced to stay in our hotel room for the rest of the evening, aside from venturing out for dinner. The main attractions in Hohenschwangua are viewing the castles and the hiking…we could do neither. Our room was nice, though. We had occasional views of the castles when fog cleared and Russ got to set up his tri-pod and shoot night shots through the rain. All in all, an eventful and fun day. 🙂

http://rlabarca.smugmug.com/Travel/Hohenschwangau-July-2010

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Aunt Amy on July 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I’m sure your joy at spending your first anniversary in such a beautiful place was not entirely overshadowed by the rain. You are disappointed, because you couldn’t do everything that you planned. Keep going-what a fabulous time the two of you are having. Aunt Amy

    Reply

  2. Posted by Pam on July 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Another wonderful entry! I love the photos that Russ took. Everyone must make sure to check out the smugmug posts!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Rick Kerschner on July 20, 2010 at 4:12 am

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for the great post. We have visited Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau several times with various guests when they visited us. I remember taking Mom and Dad, and brother Gary. One of our favorite German tourist spots. The last time was about 6 years ago on our trip with Beth and Margy. We stayed in a Gasthaus down in the valley and on an evening walk passed one of the barn houses with the animals on the first floor and the residents on the second. We could look in the open window down the long feeding trough with cows on both sides. It was loaded with the best looking freshly cut green “salad” we had ever seen. Looked easily good enough for us to eat! Did you get to Oberammergau, the woodcarving town a bit further north?

    Reply

  4. Posted by Heather on July 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Are you sure you were just at Disneyland?
    Kids, castles, you know…

    Reply

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