Hello my fellow princesses! Just a moment while I put on my glass slippers and channel my inner Cinderella.
There she is. Ever since I was little, I’ve wished to be a princess. Case in point: I was a princess for approximately 9 of the 14 Halloweens I’ve celebrated. (The other 5, I was a cow.) But I’ve never felt so close to achieving “princessdom” than this past weekend, during the time I spent in Neuschwanstein Castle.
Since I wasn’t able to scale a nearby mountain in order to take a picture of the front of the castle, here’s one I found online. A front view is necessary to see the resemblance to the Disney castle (that Walt Whitman actually designed after Neuschwanstein)!
We began our travels at 5 o’clock in the morning. 5 O’CLOCK. I had not previously seen that time of day… ever. After 6 hours of train rides, we arrived in Fussen. Oh wait! There was two notable events that occurred during the ride. The second, in that the train had no working bathrooms. This fact was aggravated by the first event: WE FOUND A STARBUCKS. I ingested the most delicious Americano in my life in the Munich train station. And then I had no way to excrete it. I wondered through the probably 20 cars on our train, a lone American looking confused amid many Germans and many more Asians. After a desperate plea to the conductor, I got a bathroom open. Biggest success of the day.
Anyhoo, we arrived into town and could see the mist rolling over the mountain and onto the castle.
As evidenced by the previous photo, we had a long walk ahead of us in order to reach the castle. On the way, we had breathtaking views to occupy our attention.
Oh right, here’s the view. My wonderful camera has such wonderful aperture, so much so that you really can only see my head in the picture before. In this photo, you can see Castle Hohenschwangau in the distance. The lakes and mountains were really what made me all excited, though. Reminds me of Colorado. (Wait, why am I nostalgic for Colorado? I’m in Germany. Gosh.)
Here’s our whole group of language students, standing on the “balcony” in front of the entrance.
I saw this women in the middle of the entrance area, just looking around and smiling. I’d beg to differ that perhaps she’s Disney’s biggest fan. For some reason, this was a very heartwarming moment in the story of the day.
So, for some sad news, they definitely didn’t allow photos inside the castle. I would have attempted it anyways, but I saw a fellow tourist get chewed out (and getting chewed out in German is much scarier than in English). Furthermore, my camera’s not exactly inconspicuous. This photo is of the ballroom. I’d tell you more about it, but the tour was entirely in German– meaning I know entirely nothing about this room. Except that it was decked out.
Here is King Ludwig II’s bedroom. I got enough translated to know that the wooden sculpture of the castle above the bed took a team of men 10 years to complete. Craziness. Ooh! And I have quite the insider scoop on the castle as a whole for you. It comes courtesy of Maureen, wizard researcher and history buff extraordinaire (that’s a weird word to spell).
So this king is building this ginormous castle above the city, and all the people are mad. They’re like, “Hey, I don’t want my taxes going to this lucrative castle”. But Kind Ludwig is actually just super rich and is using his own money, not theirs. Despite this, the people want him out. So they hire physicians to claim he’s insane (even though they never even met him) in order to kick him out of office. They succeed, and a little while later the 40-year-old king goes on a walk with one of the physicians and never returns. The king and the physician were both found dead in a nearby pond, where the water was only waist deep. Ludwig had strangle marks on his neck, and the physician’s body showed signs of a struggle as well. Ludwig was also known to be a very advanced swimmer. Fishy.
I rebelled and took a photo from one of the windows while the tour guide jabbered. In it, you can see the bridge we later stood on. To be honest, the view outside was slightly more interesting than what was happening inside. I’m going to sound exactly like my dad here for a second. This castle was gorgeous, intricate, and HUGE. But. It was also commercialized, gaudy, and almost fake looking. Granted, the castle was built by a gay king (with great taste) for his own enjoyment, not to be a fortress against enemies in the 17th century. But does that mean there has to be caution tape on the stairs? Or that I have to be ushered through about 6 gift shops inside the castle, selling overpriced Disney lockets?
Nah, give me this view instead. Here we walked over to the bridge you saw before. On one side, hundreds of feet below, was this waterfall. (I have a weird obsession with waterfalls)
On the other side, the castle! Despite the rain and the construction happening on the left side of the castle, it was a breathtaking view, nonetheless!
Here’s another shot from the bridge. I tried to wear my most Cinderella-esque dress for this day. This backfired when the weather turned FREEZING. I asked Maureen which princess she would be, and without missing a beat she replied, “Jasmine”. She should have worn a belly shirt then.
After a return trip down the mountain, we had some Freizeit (free time). Maureen and I walked over to a nearby lake nestled in the mountains. I think we both agreed this was one of the best parts of the day. It was so serene and untouched compared to the castle. Plus, how many mountain lakes have you stood in that were warm?!
Next, we headed into town for supper. Maureen, the other Cassie, and I went to an Indian place that gave us good naan and “lentil” soup that tasted like eggs or chicken or a mix of the two. Bleh. We sprinted through the rain (at this point I was glad I skipped the glass slippers) to the train. And rode it for 5 hours.
Do we get bored on these 10 hour train rides?
I think this should answer your question.
I’m going to run on out of the computer lab now, and strategically leave one slipper behind. Maybe one of those cute European boys from One Direction will come find me.