Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dream Come True!

I did something I have wanted to do since 6th grade - I saw the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany!!! In 6th grade we had to do a report on a country and I picked Germany. It was a ridiculously huge project and so much work and I distinctly remember this castle gracing the cover of my report. Ever since then I have wanted to see it in person and when I was in Germany, Dave and I went!
Called Schloß Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Palace/Castle) by the Germans, it is listed as the main tourist attraction in all of Germany! It is located in 'Castle Country', about 2 hours south of Munich just out of a town named Fuessen. We hopped on a train, then a bus that was sitting outside the train station that happened to be going to the castle and ta-da, there is my 12 year old tourist dream come to life!

Construction began in 1868 when crazy King Ludwig II decided he wanted a castle better than his father's (that you can actually see from the windows of Neuschwanstein) that was in the authentic style of a German Knight castle. Growing up in his father's castle - named Hohenschwangau - Ludwig II grew tired of the gothic home and imagined a romantic and medevial castle where he could live. This is where his idea for Neuschwanstein comes in! Originally, the castle was named New Hohenscwangau, but when the King died it was renamed Neuschwanstein - new swan stone, because Ludwig II had loved swans his whole life.

Built in the hills of Bavaria, surrounded by sharp hills and blue lakes, the castle feels like a fairy-tale. It is rumored that the Disney logo and the Cinderella castle were all fashioned after Neuschwanstein, and I can definitley see it! While it was built in the 1800's, King Ludwig II wanted to make the castle appear older than it was, so it was built to look medevial and romantic, but still had indoor plumbing, heating, elevators and the works. The castle wasn't completed as quickly as Ludwig II would have hoped and he actually only lived in it for 11 days after it was finished before his death. Seven weeks later, the public was so interested, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public and now people from all over the world come to see it! We were able to tour the rooms that were completed upon his death and see just how lavish the castle would have been if it would have been finished! Also, we got some great views of the Bavarian landscape as well as a shot of his father's castle across the way.

Once we were finished the clouds started to converge and we decided we should head back to Munich anyways. I felt so satisfied, finally seeing something I had dreamed about for so long ha. I recently found out a 30-minute hike would have given me a spectacular view of the front of the castle, but we didn't know about that and I was wearing ballet flats, so it was probably better we didn't attempt it! It was always on my list of things to-do and I am happy I can finally check this one off!

Kuss! (kiss in German)

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