Thursday, January 15, 2009

Neuschwanstein - A Must See in Bayern!

Val, my mother in law, wanted to see Neuschwanstein while she was visiting us and naturally we wanted to go with her! Just after New Years, we took the train up to Fuessen, Germany, the closest city to Neuschwanstein and about 5 - 6 hours from Zurich by train. We realized only too late that it would have been much easier to rent a car and drive, but then again with the inclemental weather we were glad that we suffered through the transfers & waits with the train.

Neuschwanstein was built in 1868 by Ludwig II of Bavaria and is one of the most famous castles ever built- so famous in fact that the Disney castle is based upon its design. And during our trip, we all agreed that it certainly was something special - if only it weren't so DAMN COLD during our stay, we might have been 100% content - instead we just had to live with 99.9%.

We stayed at the foot of the castle, at the Hotel Mueller. It was lovely and very German somehow - the restaurant was also amazing (we recommend the steak). We arrived on a Friday, just in time to take in the foggy scenery, including a quick visit to Castle Hohenschwangau, then on Saturday morning we went in search of our main destination - Castle Neuschwanstein.

(HOT TIP! The only reason we got into the castle on Friday was because I BOOKED THE TICKETS IN ADVANCE. Because I made reservations online, I got to skip to the front of the line and pick up and pay for our tickets within minutes instead of bearing the long line - OUT IN THE COLD!!! So be smart, book in advance!!! It only costs an extra 1.80 Euros per person and it is the best money you ever spent. Trust me. Another story that verifies that here...)


Because the roads up to the castle were covered with snow and ice, our only options were to walk or to go with the horse drawn carriage, and because the average temperature was FREEZING COLD we opted for the horses. I am glad we did as it was a nice rustic touch and the South German Cold Blooded work horses did the job beautifully - even with a flat tire! We were the first to enter the castle that morning (no reservations this time, but first in line!!!), so we stopped for a hot chocolate to await our castle entry time... and to warm up from the bitter cold!

When it was 15 minutes before our tour time, we walked up the remainder of the path to the castle, taking in the amazing snow covered view and surroundings, as well as the breath-taking views of the castle.
I have no idea what the temperature was, but I do know that I could barely feel my feet by the time we were due to enter the castle... again, another poor shoe choice!!! How do I manage to constantly do that? Here we are waiting outside the castle for our entry time - FREEZING! There is a nice little bridge in the background and if the weather had been better I would have pushed to take a photo from that side. Looks like it would have been the best view.

Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside the castle, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the decor - it was much more colorful and somehow modern in comparison to other castles we have visited in Germany and Austria. I really love the fact that the castle was dedicated to Wagner and his operas as well - there were so many beautiful murals and paintings of Wagner's operas and thousands of swans - the namesake of the castle, since Neuschwanstein literally means "New swan stone."

And the best part of the entire castle was not even insides - but the view out... what I wouldn't pay to have this view everyday.... WOW.

I highly recommend a trip to the castle. I felt that it would be overly touristy - and it was - there were hundreds of people in line for tickets even though it was FREEZING - but in hindsight it was for good reason - the castle and surrounding area are charming. A must see. ;)

8 comments:

Michemily said...

I love that last picture! And I think you meant "In hindsight," not "In highsight."

mrsmac said...

Glad you liked it! Marion enjoyed the castles when we went but I think what stayed with her from the entire trip was that horsies poop. :-D

Did you go to the other castle?

Debo said...

Oh my goodness!!!!! I've been to this castle! I was 11, traveling with family friends as a companion to their younger daughter but still, I've been there! We even took the horse drawn wagon. It was such a flashback to see your pictures. Did they still have the shiny copper pots in the kitchen? Such good memories. Thank you!

Bluefish said...

I went to the Royal Castles with hubby this summer. It was beyond amazing! How did you get to the castle from the train station?

I wrote my adventure here: http://notyetanexpat.blogspot.com/2008/09/mnchen-day-2.html

By the way, I have a question to ask you privately. How do I do that?

Expat Traveler said...

Oh Jessica, this is such a great story and write up for this tourist trap, I mean tour....

The photos are so beautiful. And the views, I can understand that as I had a view like that when I lived in Montreux!!!!! You might understand why I still have withdrawls with views like that...

And the cold, it does look cold.

Here in Victoria we have horse rides and I did take one this past year.

Interesting to know no photos inside.. One day I will visit..

Great tip on the reservations!

juanitatortilla said...

Oh god, woman, I hate so much.
I've been dreaming about Neuschwanstein since 1999.
And that's no joke!!!

Jessica said...

Hey Bluefish, you can email me. My email address is jessica@swisstoryblog.com

And yes, the copper pots were still there! We went to Hohenschwangau castle too. I should have posted a photo of it, too!

Juanita... you just have to go! But go when it is warmer. I would have loved to gone on that bridge and perhaps in a canoe on the lake. Perhaps next time. :)

Swiss Miss said...

Thanks for the info. I've been wanting to go there for a long time now. Wasn't sure if the train would work--thought you had to go to Munich first. So thanks for the tips! Beautiful pics.

 

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