I threatened not too long ago to bore you all with my pics of Neuschwanstein. Well today is the day, people! My Ludwig obsession was rekindled last week when I was able to watch the movie (again) on the anniversary of his death, and that obsession just continues to grow.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria is known for his many castles. The most famous one is Neuschwanstein. Even the Disney castle is modeled after this one. It is positioned in the mountains looking down over the village below and the smaller Hohenschwangau castle, which was one of the family homes of Ludwig's childhood. Neuschwanstein was never fully completed, no throne was ever placed there. Ludwig was staying there the night officials came to take him into custody, when he was deposed.
I knew almost nothing about this place when hubby, the boys, and I visited it in November of 1999. It had been recommended to me by a German online friend. All I knew was the tidbit about Disney and that it was a big tourist attraction. I was actually even disappointed when I found out this castle isn't even really that old. When I said I wanted to see castles, I'd meant the really OLD ones. This one was built in the late 1800s! But ohhhhhhh my, how things have changed for me now.
Let me show you the pictures before I continue nattering.
Keep in mind, this visit was in 1999, and film was still the way we took pictures. The quality of these pics is not great to begin with, but it was also super foggy while we were there. We were not allowed to take pics inside back then. I wonder how it is now though, since everyone has a smartphone and can easily sneak pics and video. Anyway, because it was foggy and because you were limited in how many pics you got with film, these pics are not going to be all that impressive. But still . . .
This is a snowy, foggy pic of Lake Alpsee, which is at the base of the mountain, where the little village is.
Another foggy pic of the lake. I think I've read that Ludwig used to swim and fish here in his childhood.
Hohenschwangau castle. At the time we were there, this was of little interest to me. It was just this boring and small castle near the real thing. I took pics because, well, it was a castle, but really I was like "Not wasting film on this thing when the big castle is what we're here for."
Very young Casey and Ty. One of those 'just to show we were there' pics.
The more I tried to zoom in, the more the fog obscured things.
Funny how I was upset that Neuschwanstein wasn't actually old enough, and that I pretty much ignored this place, which turns out to be ancient. This place is first mentioned in history in the 12th century!!!!
So anyway, moving on now. We opted to walk up the path to Neuschwanstein castle. They do have horse drawn carriages that take tourists up the mountain road but no, we walked. In the fog. Up a mountain. Can you see that foggy dark object rising above the trees just right of center in this pic? That's one of the towers of the castle. I think this pic was actually taken as we came back down afterwards. It was so foggy going up we had no idea where the castle was until we were almost walking into it. Seriously! There are apparently all these neat little teaser views on a clear day but we had none of that. I happened to notice a huge spotlight along the way, aiming sort of back behind us, and was like 'What the heck is that pointing at?' We all turned to look back and -BAM- there was a tower. That was an exciting moment! (And we were MUCH closer than this at that time.)
Closer now and there is that tower. Heeeeeee!! When I looked at these pics again after reading those Ludwig books last summer, I was morbidly excited to have this pic, thinking it was the tower he'd wanted to throw himself off of, the tower they'd apprehended him in. But no, there is another, taller tower.
This along the side of the castle, and by the time we were close enough to get pics this clear it was impossible to get good pics of the castle in general because it's so big and we were so close.
This is currently my computer desktop background. I just love thinking about it, did he look out any of these windows the night they came for him? They do look down over the road the carriages would have taken.
Very young Ty and Casey again, along the side of Neuschwanstein. Just up ahead the road curves around to the gates and the red brick gatehouse. Again, this would be the road the officials traveled that night.
Me! At the gates of Neuschwanstein! Clueless! I'd probably be in tears if I ever got to do this again.
To the left of the gates, just showing more of the front of the castle. It was June when they came for him, not snowy November like this.
Inside the gates, in the first courtyard. I read somewhere this was the base of another tower that was never finished. You can just *barely* see it, but if you look above and back from the top of this tower base, you can make out the hazy bulk of the main part of the castle. It's easier to see in my actual photo but even then it took about eight thousands times looking at the pics before I noticed that.
This is just to the right of that tower base. It's hard to see him but hubby is at the base of the stairs, by that door. This leads up to the larger, inner courtyard. I remember walking along the corridor, those windows along the top of this pic.
And that's it! That's all I have of this glorious castle!
I would love to go back some day, and spend as much time as possible. We were in a hurry that day because our hosts had to get back home for something. We'd had no idea what to expect anyway, but looking back, even the tour of the castle seemed rushed. I suppose they want to keep getting as many paying tourists shuttled through as possible. That's so sad, and probably has Ludwig turning in his grave because he never wanted gawking eyes to gaze upon these rooms. *sigh*
And of course I had to inadvertently insult the king even further by spending a small fortune in the gift shop at the end of the tour. Doh!
There are plenty of things I remember about the inside of the castle, but so many things I wish I'd taken more time to appreciate. I only remember the smallest bits of what the tour guide was saying, and am really curious now to know what they all talk about in those tours. I wonder what they say about this death? Just that he left there and died soon after is what I seem to remember from the 1999 tour. I have such mixed feeling about having been there! So glad I was able to see it, but sad that I didn't know anything and couldn't truly appreciate it at the time. As much as I want to go back and see it all with new eyes, I doubt it will ever happen. I'm just too much of a home-body and a worrier to be a good traveler. Even going to Minneapolis for a dang football game stresses me out! Plus, I think if we ever do travel abroad again, it would only be fair to go to someplace hubby wants this time, which would no doubt be somewhere Scandinavian.
But if we ever DID go back, I'd spend as much time as I could at Neuschwanstein. I'd take about eight billion pictures. I'd properly appreciate Hohenschwangau. I think that can be toured too. I'd also work in time to visit Ludwig's other castles, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, as well as other Ludwig related places. Maybe I *DO* need to make this trip.
Where is the most awe inspiring, heartfelt place you've ever been, or dream of going?