Our day began semi-early as we had to meet our tour group at the station at 9:30. We rushed over and got breakfast and just barely made it on time. Then we were told our trip was delayed one hour still due to the strike. So we sat and enjoyed our breakfast and coffee while people watching.
Our trip to Fussen was mostly uneventful but as we got closer the scenery became more beautiful with rolling fields of thousands of cheery daffodils and the alps in the background. We arrived mid-afternoon and I was quickly becoming hangry. We both enjoyed a brat and a beer – staples of German cuisine (and a favorite of my own).
We then started the steep ascent to the Neuschwanstein castle. It took us about 25 min and we beat everyone up there ( Ha! Haa!) even with my “ailing body” holding Aaron back.
The view was stunning and the castle so beautiful. As we found out, Ludwig II was the commissioner of this castle and many others in Bavaria. He was a very eccentric king who earned the title “Mad King Ludwig” by supposedly having extravagant dinner parties with dead kings and queens of the past. He was a very withdrawn King and not well liked by the people at the time as he used all the royal revenues (not state funds though) to construct his castles. The Royal seat was in Munich; however, Ludwig II could hardly ever be seen there.
His life was very interesting and his death is controversial. It seems like he tried to get away and was killed. He was said to have drowned but the autopsy revealed no water in his lungs.
Such history! What is funny is that his castle was built in 1869 but looks much older because at the time there was a throwback to medieval ages (Romanesque Revival). It also was not designed by an architect but drafted by a stage designer which is why it has a fairy tale look to it. It is known as the “Disney Castle” and was used as the major inspiration for DisneyLand’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
No photography was allowed inside but it featured huge hanging chandeliers, frescos, gothic style furniture, spiral staircases, and beautiful balconies. All the views were beautiful – Swan lake to the side, meadows to the front and mountains to the side and behind it. Another ironic note about the castle was that Ludwig II did not want the castle open to the public (ugh, GP) but almost immediately after he died, it was opened as a museum to the public. Ludwig II is probably rolling in his grave.
After a quick tour inside the castle (it was never finished), Aaron and I wandered outside and to the castle’s backside to catch a stunning view from a bridge farther up the mountainside.
We walked back down the steep trek and grabbed a beer and some pretzels (more German staples). Aaron quickly decided he did not like this new beer called “Radler.” Turns out it is a sparking beer – SO delicious!!! It’s like white wine and a light beer mixed! Aaron’s misfortune became my new friend!
Our tour guide gave us a few final departing notes before leaving. Luckily we had a Ludwig II and castle expert in our tour group! No I’m not talking about our guide at all, but some older weird gentleman who loved to ask questions so he could answer it himself. Aaron and I exchanged looks and tried to ignore him. On a side note, you could do the trip to Fussen easily, but the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the castle and Ludwig II (no sarcasm) and Aaron and I thought it was well worth paying for.
We headed back on the train and had a miserable time back. Due to the strike, a train had not come for three hours. We all crowded onto it and Aaron and I stood for the two hour journey. Overall, we decided this was one of our favorite and most beautiful adventures though due to the interesting stories and the king’s mysterious death.
We returned back to the hotel and called our mums as it was Mother’s Day! It was good to talk to Mom and hear that she was having a good day back porch sitting (our family’s favorite pastime). We quickly got ready and headed for some Thai for dinner. It was different than we were used to, but still delicious.
We headed back home to ensure we were well rested for the Dachau tour the next morning.