Big Blog Exchange – Day 5: Falling in love with Bavaria

I’m currently sitting in the lounge area of the Berlin International Youth Hostel, I’m waiting for my room to be available at 1:00 PM, and so instead of hitting the city, I’ll take the time to catch up on blog entries.

Day 5th of the Big Blog Exchange was spent on a day trip to Schloss Hohenschwangau and Schloss Neuschwanstein – a dream of mine since the start of time was to visit a castle, which I can finally cross off the list of things to do before I die. It was a long trip going south of Bavaria, about 2 and a half hours, but 3 if it’s your first time traveling in the area and you still tend to get kind of lost. Thankfully, there are A LOT of tourists going to the area, and so it was mostly “Follow where the tourists are going” for me, if ever I was unsure. The ticket center to the two castles was extremely long, so thankfully I booked my tickets in advance and didn’t have to line up with everyone else. I don’t understand why majority of these tourists don’t book in advance, but I guess that’s okay. That means I will always be first in line to enter places because I’m one of the few people who actually book in advance :P

So, before everything else, here’s a quick introduction on Hohenschwangau/Neuschwanstein by our popular (but not so reliable 100% of the time) website Wikipedia:

  • Schloss Hohenschwangau (High Swan County Palace) is a 19th-century palace in southern Germany. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It is located in the German village ofHohenschwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in southwestern Bavaria, Germany, very close to the border with Austria.
  • Hohenschwangau was the official summer and hunting residence of Maximilian, his wife Marie of Prussia, and their two sons Ludwig (the later KingLudwig II of Bavaria) and Otto (the later King Otto I of Bavaria). The young princes spent many years of their adolescence here. The King and the Queen lived in the main building, and the boys in the annex.
  • Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 19th-century Romanesque Revivalpalace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, not with Bavarian public funds. (He was broke but at least he wasn’t corrupt! Go, King Ludwig II!)
  • The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer.
  •  The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and later, similar structures.

The castle was absolutely gorgeous from the outside, and even more inside. It sits on a mountain and you can see it from below, and it just looks so magnificent, surreal. They say King Ludwig was koo-koo crazy for building Neuschwanstein to the point of becoming so broke and in debt, but I believe he was an eccentric man, who had appreciation for the arts and had great taste in aesthetic, design and architecture. I’d say he made it to the my list of favorite European monarchs. If it wasn’t for him, Bavaria wouldn’t be what it is today, he helped in shaping the culture.

Here are a few photos, which doesn’t do the place justice, but I tried!

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The view from above Schloss Hohenschwangau, I felt like a Queen for a few seconds, looking down at my peasants towns people. I would probably make a great Queen, yeah? Haha

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Another view, from Neuschwanstein Castle this time. If I were the ruler of Bavaria, I’d be so proud! Absolutely breathtaking!

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A father was kind enough to take my photo! I needed a touristy photo with the castle, although it’s not my thing. But I figured I probably won’t be back for a while, so I might as well! Plus, I need reference for when I build my own Hohenschwangau Castle as my summer home :P

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The view from Marienbrucke (bridge), my ultimate favorite! It’s so beautiful, I could cry! But I didn’t, because there were a lot of tourists and that would’ve been embarrassing.

big blog exchange - germany - bavaria - 3Lake Alpsee behind me, another absolutely gorgeous sight! This one is below Hohenschwangau, with crystal clear blue water. If it were a very hot summer day, this would be a perfect lake to swim in (although I doubt that’s even legal in Bavaria)

After my tour of Neuschwanstein, I stopped by the cafe inside the castle for a quick snack. I had forgotten to eat lunch or bring a snack so all I had for the day was a bowl of cereal. I ordered a salami pizza, which would’ve been okay had they heated it up properly (not burning half of the pizza) and serving it on a new warm plate instead of the ice cold one it came in from the refrigerator! Halfway through my pizza, the other half was as hard as a rock. I was practically banging the pizza on the table and the American guy a few tables away from me had a smirk on his face. I decided to quit fighting the pizza and just bite off parts that were actually edible. For a total of about 7 Euros (small pizza + drink), it was definitely a rip off.

My tour of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein required  A LOT  of walking, both uphill and downhill. To say the least, my feet were killing me, especially on the way down Neuschwanstein. I think I might’ve took the longer route down hill… To say the least, midway descending the mountain, I started thinking silly things like if it was possible to roll down the hill and walk away unscathed… And every tourist I saw walking uphill on the other side of the road, I wanted to grab and say, “NO! DON’T TAKE THIS ROUTE! IT IS NEVER ENDING! SAVE YOUR FEET WHILE YOU CAN!!!” but with the language barrier and everything, I decided not to. Also, who knows, maybe they’re the kind of people who like to walk uphill for 30 minutes… Weird people are like that.

So a few tips for visiting Hohenschwangau/Neuschwanstein:

  1. DO IT. Obviously. Just do it. You will not regret it at all.
  2. Book your tickets online days before your intended date of touring.
  3. Wear great walking shoes, unlike me. I don’t own a pair of great walking shoes. Or at least invest in great insoles, which will save you a lot of pain.
  4. Dont eat in the cafe/bistro of Neuschwanstein… Bring your own food or eat a lot before touring. There are restaurants below the mountain where you get tickets/etc. if you suddenly get hungry.
  5. Follow rules, no taking photos inside the castle and listen to your tour guide, if you have questions – ask. Learning about historical places/people is learning about the world and broadening your knowledge.

So, that was my 5th day. I’ve fallen so in love with Bavaria, I think it’s currently my favorite place — But I’ll give Berlin a chance to change my mind. :p




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