Today I went to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Built in the Alpine foothills on the border of Bavaria and Austria, it is a place that inspires fairy tales, literally. In fact, Walt Disney modeled Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle after it. Even the inside of the castle is decorated to pay tribute to the owner’s love of Wagner operas. The castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He was also known as the Swan King or the Fairy Tale King.
The history of the castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, is fascinating as well as the story of Ludwig II. Both the castles are built very near to each other, Neuschwanstein looking down at Ludwig’s father’s masterpiece, Hohenschwangau. Hohenschwangau is also decorated inside with scenes of German fairy tales and Ludwig grew up playing in it’s picturesque gardens and surrounding forest, perhaps dreaming of his own fairy tale castle. Building of Neuschwanstein Castle was started on September 5, 1869 and construction ceased after Ludwig’s mysterious death in 1886. The King’s living space and the servants’ quarters had been completed and King Ludwig had only spent a total of 172 days living in his unfinished dream castle. The castle was open to the public as a museum 6 weeks after his death and has boasted multitudes of visitors since. Thankfully, because of it’s secluded location, it was not damaged during World War II.
We also toured the gardens of Hohenschwangau and Cory swam in the clear and picturesque Alpsee lake. I waded in with Miss P to cool ourselves off too. We picnicked looking out over the lake and did a little shopping in the nearby shops. Cory and I have a tradition of collecting Christmas ornaments from our travels that we started on our honeymoon to the Biltmore estate. A beer mug and a pretzel were chosen to represent our time in Germany. I also picked up a charm for my charm bracelet (another tradition I’ve had since college). I’m seriously considering getting myself and the girls traditional German dresses but I don’t think I could convince Cory to wear lederhosen. Our final visit was a tour of the Neuschwanstein castle. It was a rigorous climb up the mountain, especially while hefting a 20 pound baby on my back, but so worth it! I hope I can get into better shape in the Cuenca mountains.
Today we are off on a somber tour of Dachau which is very fitting as I just learned of the death of a friend, James Major, this morning. Praying for his family!
*Cory and Miss P on the train to Füsee
Cows seen for the train. The one on the left had freshly calved! An exciting sight for us veterinarians!
Swan Fountain, Hohenschwangau
Garden terrace, Hohenschwangau
Lion fountain, Hohenschwangau
Cory cooling off at a small fountain in the Hohenschwangau terrace garden
P and I cooling off
Schwangau as seen from Neuschwanstein Castle