The Neuschwanstein Castle – traveling south to Hohenschwangau, approaching the mountains, one might feel like breaking out in song…the hills are alive with the sound of music. Pristine green rolling hills with mountain peaks in the distance, windows open in the train car, it’s a beauty that might be individual to the region. The farmers keep those fields green with some pungent fertilizer, however, and occasionally we’d get a whiff that would wake up the nose hairs.
Reaching the town we just missed the bus to the castle and looked like we were going to have to wait an hour, while already on a tight schedule, but found a student from Taiwan who was in the same predicament and shared the cost of a taxi with us so we wouldn’t have to wait. We chose to walk up the wooded path to the castle, which is a bit of a challenge with the incline and takes about 30 minutes. Viewing the castle from the town below makes it look like an impossible climb but there were hikers far older and heftier than us so we figured we’d give it a try. Much of the building was covered in scaffolding, however, as it takes constant maintenance to keep up, so the photo opps weren’t that great.
Arriving at the castle doors we were glad we made the trip. The vistas were breathtaking and the castle, itself, was a reminder of the Magic Kingdom since Walt Disney patterned Cinderella’s castle after King Ludwig’s design. This one doesn’t date back to medieval times, however, like the others we’ve seen, as Ludwig had it built in the mid 1800’s in his quest to be the medieval king about whom he fantasized. He was a bit unbalanced mentally, lost his monarchy and, in an effort to pretend he was still king of his castle, so to speak, used up all his money, was deemed mentally unstable and was put away by the state, which also took over his possessions when he could no more pay for them. Now it is a tourist destination and a must see if you’re in the region.