The Newschwanstein Castle – Tour of Europe

Y’all. Today was the perfect day to go on another ‘tour of Europe’. 
Enjoy!
Seven weeks ago today I awoke at a little out-of-season ski lodge near Innsbruck, Austria, close to the Germany boarder. The day was cloudy, misty and magical. We had arrived late the night before and tugged our luggage up three flights of winding stairs to our room.
“Aidyl, you’ve got to come see this!” was my wake up call the next morning. Slipping out from under the warm covers, I wrapped my blanket around me in the chilly morning air. The mountains were cold. Looking out the window, I gasped. It truly felt like we had stepped into a book. The landscape and architect was so different from what I’d ever seen before. 
As we ate the odd assortment of food my dad had bought at a grocery store, we talked over our plans for the day. We were heading to the Newschwanstein Castle in Germany. I was delighted at the thought of visiting my first real castle. Sure, we’d seen palaces in Vienna, but that was different. (Actually, as horrible as it might be to admit this, before we went to Europe the words ‘castle’ and ‘palace’ were interchangeable in my mind. Crazy how different they are from each other.)
This is a good preview of how we ate for the next few weeks.
You can’t see the cheese and meet, but it’s on there somewhere. 🙂

When we arrived at the little town below the castles (there were two of them, although we only went in one), it was still damp, gray and cold. My parents and younger brother ended up heading back, but my older brother, sisters and I stayed on. And stood in line for tickets for hours. The buildings in this part of Germany were gorgeous. 

I had my iPhone along with me and began reading a Sherlock Holmes book. I think I read over half of it that day while waiting in line. After we had been standing in line for probably about an hour and a half, a lady came through telling us that all the English speaking tours were sold out except the last one which started at 5:55. It was about noon at this time. We decided to wait around. 

After we bought our tickets, we walked around until we found a restaurant that had some open seats. Everything was so crowded. Some days the Newschwanstein Castle has up to 6,000 visitors, and it’s really not that big of a place. I’m glad there weren’t that many when we were visiting. After an authentic German meal, we were back out in the cold. We went and stood in line for the bus that would take us part way up to the castle.  

When the bus dropped us off, we still had about a twenty minute walk up to where the castle stood. It was breathtaking. We were in woods filled with pine trees and surrounded by a thousand stories.

Newschwanstein Castle was commissioned to be built in the 19th century by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria. He had a great imagination and wanted it to be built like the castles of old. King Ludwig was declared unfit to rule and insane (or some such similar diagnoses) before the completion of the castle. Six weeks after King Ludwig’s mysterious death, the castle was opened up for tourists in an effort to pay off the huge amount of debts King Ludwig had incurred. The castle was never finished.

We took a side-trip to go and look at the cliffs surrounding the castle. There was a bridge about three hundred feet over a river with huge boulders and twisting, churning water. The boards on the bridge moved when we were walking on them. It was frightening. 

In all my life, I had never seen anything quite like this before. I kept thinking And this is the setting of fairy tales. I don’t see how a writer could possibly see a place like this and not get inspired.

When I first realized we were over-looking the castle, I had a creepy feeling come over me. It was so foggy I hadn’t even been able to see the castle to begin with. Imagine staring into the fog, and suddenly having a fortress appear before your very eyes.

 After the bridge, we hiked the rest of the way up to the castle. We then continued wandering around, looking, taking pictures, getting totally chilled and enjoying our time (at least most of us) for the next four or so hours. There was an area that hot sold drinks, breads, and little trinkets. We bought some postcards there and I tried to write on them, but my fingers were so cold I could barely grasp the pen and so the writing came out shaky.

The castle was built right on the edge of a cliff, which kinda freaked me out. I have no clue how they did that. And I do mean right on the edge of a cliff. 
And then at last it was time to go on our tour. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the building (the story of our visit to Europe…), but it was magnificent. Magnificent as in, it took 14 carpenters more then four years to make the woodwork for his bedroom. That, my friends, is what you call magnificent. And elaborate. And extravagant. And maybe helps to explain why he ended up being declared insane. (And did I mention that even though his mother lived almost within sight of the castle, he never had her come for a visit?)

I was fairly disappointed when I found out how ‘young’ the castle actually was, but as we continued on our trip and I was able to visit ancient fortresses, the beauty and mystery surrounding Newschwanstein Castle made it more and more interesting to me. 
Wow, this post is rather lengthy and has taken me a lonnggg time to write. Today just felt like a good day to sit down and reminisce about our trip to Europe. I can’t believe it’s already been seven weeks since we visited Newschwanstein Castle. I hope you enjoyed this visit as much as I did! 
What about you? Have you ever been to Newschwanstein Castle? 
Ever heard of the place? 
Would you want to visit it? 
I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. 🙂

***

Just like a lot of historical figures, people have many and varying ideas about King Ludwig. I quoted mostly our tour guide’s opinions/stories of him. I’m sure you can find out a lot more by researching him for yourself, if you feel so inclined. 😉

16 thoughts on “The Newschwanstein Castle – Tour of Europe

  1. David Mabe says:

    Sadly, I've only been to Neuschwanstein Castle in my fantasies. To me, this has always been THE epitome of the fairy tale castle. It's a beautiful place. In my younger years, when I would have my Camelot fantasies, this was the castle I always imagined as my home. I hope to be granted the chance to visit it one day. I know it doesn't even compare to the home our Lord has prepared for us, but I'd love to visit all the same. My second favorite is the Scottish Castle, Alnwick, in Northumberland in Northern England. It's been used in film several times. Awesome post. I'm so glad you got to go visit Neuschwanstein. Hope you're having a great weekend, Aidyl.

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  2. David Mabe says:

    Didn't sound rude at all, Evan. I'm only a relative in that we are all descended from Adam and Eve. Even though I've never met Lydia in person, I consider Lydia a friend. I learned of Lydia through Buddy Davis, who I am a big fan of and follow on Facebook.

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