Whew! I am exhausted. I woke up around 6am to begin getting ready for my journey Southwest to Schwangau. What to wear was definitely a difficult task, the weather had said it was going to be in the 30s, raining AND snowing. I finally brought a comfortable outfit within my things, and called an uber to take me to Munich Central Station. I had an appointment with a tour that I did not want to be late for.
We all met up and began our 2 hour train ride. The group leader was great. From the moment he introduced himself as Nic, British, and a Safari guy. I was convinced we were going to have a great time. He was slightly sarcastic in a good way, and only to himself, he was very polite, and helpful, and gave really good information. To be honest, I had no idea how this was going to work. I’ve never done a tour when
I traveled, so I thought, this was going to be fabulous or this was going to be awful. I tried to choose the shortest tour, because I felt like anything longer may have killed me, slightly. On the train ride he gave us a lot of information about the Bavarian Kings leading up to Ludwig II. My degree is in History, but this wasn’t my specialty. So any History given to me usually makes me wide eyed. Unfortunately, the family next to me was digging out food, and crinkling food wrappers everytime the man spoke, and this was the Father! Not even the two little girls–I almost wanted to throw something at them, but my lip reading skills were on point.
We detrained at Füssen and took a 10 minute bus ride to the foot of the castle. As we approached we could see the castle. It was beautiful. It was Magical. There was a little brat/bier stand at the bottom, which I decided was not going to be my thing until I got back to the bottom, didn’t need any extra liquids sloshing inside me. I had no idea where we began to get to the Castle. Nic had purchased the Castle tour tickets (which I don’t think he was supposed to do for me, for the tour I bought), and we began our hike up the very steep mountain through what felt like the Enchanted Forest. It was quite beautiful hiking, which was about 30-40 minutes, we took three stops going up which was definitely needed, which Nic packed with magnificent information. There was a Mom carrying her Baby on her back– she was a Champ, because that was a trek. The Australian girl on this tour made a wonderful statement, “I’m so hot, but it’s so cold.” We were taking our coats off but had several other layers. It definitely was a hike. You can take a carriage or a bus up there as well for a few Euros–which, if I ever do it again, I will most likely do.
And if this castle looks somewhat familiar to you, it should. This is the Castle Disney choose to base off the Castle for Sleeping Beauty.
I’m glad I decided to go hard my first full day in Germany so my body will kill me the rest of my trip…. hmm. Oh! Make sure you get the tickets at the bottom of the castle!
Regardless, at the top of the Mountain we were given more information. Nic advised that he’s not allowed to “tour” is inside the Castle–which I really hope he did because he was much more interesting and lively than the lady who did the tour. Inside the castle it was strictly no pictures. Not, no flashes, but NO PHOTOS. And there were quite a few security guards around as well. The castle was being built for 17 years from 1869-1886, but was never actually finished.
The castle from the inside was supposed to be a Modern Medieval Castle. It was very dark on the inside, had dark Oak furniture. It did have some electricity inside the castle, running water, as well as it had the first working phone–How lonely that must be, the second working phone was set in town at the Post Office. Ludwig II was obsessed with Richard Wagner (German Composer) and built music halls for him, as well as a Singer’s Hall on the 4th floor. The walls had the images of Operas. For example, for the King’s (Gothic Style) bedroom tells the story of Tristan’s and Isolde and the salon has the Lohengrin Opera.
A beautiful thing in the Castle was the small Chapel the King had in his room had a crucifix made from Ivory.
The throne room, which never had the throne, was beautiful, the walls had Religious themes, since Ludwig II was a very Catholic Man, it had the twelve apostles on either side of where the King would sit, it had Christ and canonized Kings above the Apostles. And the mosaic tiled floor (which Nic covered more, was like the Buddhist wheel of life) had plants, animals. It expressed the position that the King had, in between God and the World. It was quite a beautiful throne room with an amazing symbol. The chandelier was made to be of a Byzantine Crown, and had 97 candles and several light bulbs.
The Castle had a small grotto–yes a man made cave in the Castle, which apparently had a secret door (which was not opened). Also, his bedroom had a secret door which you could only tell by the small key hole in the wall. The grotto did have colored lights, which were originally there, and apparently it also had a waterfall at some time.
To be honest, several of the rooms were closed off, possibly for cleaning, maintenance, not sure why. So it was slightly disappointing being on the inside of the castle, because it felt like we only got to see maybe 5-7 rooms of the 14. Which you would only know you didn’t get to see if you did prior research of the castle, like, I did, of course. The second floor which was not constructed, a small cafe and gift shops were put in. The front of the castle seemed to be under construction at this time so we were not able to see that either…whatever was there.
Once you are led through a tunnel back to the outside of the building you can take a trail to the bridge which gives you a magnificent view of the Castle. It’s an additional uphill hike, but once you’re there, you can see that it was definitely worth it. And thank goodness for that, if it wasn’t, I was not going to be happy! This one was individual so you could take as many or as few breaks as you would like.
I rested for a few minutes and decided to begin my adventure back down the mountain. Which was much easier, and much quicker, than expected! I decided to get that Bier and Bratwurst. 🙂 I deserved it! And I could feel my body needing some sort of food at this point, since I ate breakfast around 7am. There was another castle we could see if we had time, which it was possible I could have seen the courtyard at least, but that was another walk up a quite steep (but much smaller) “hill” I would say this one was.
As we waited for our train, Nic decided to tell us more of the mystery of what happened to King Ludwig, and his conspiracies, which are quite interesting, and makes me want to do some further research on him when I return. A Fisherman’s journal stated that they saw Ludwig and his Psychiatrist running for his boat to take them to much friendlier faces (after Ludwig II was arrested by his Uncle), and a woman–who was later said to be mad by the same psychiatrists that called Ludwig mad that had never even met him–said she found his Coat with holes in it. The story that’s told is that the Psychiatrist and Ludwig (who was 6’5) went for a swim and simultaneously had heart attacks at the same time–now of that doesn’t sound fishy. Look up his history, it’s quite interesting. Or go on this tour from Radius Tours with Nic and you will be fascinated by it!
And we had wonderful weather while we were out, thankfully. As soon as we got into the train back to Munich it began to rain quite heavily.
Nic came around and gave suggestions of places to go, things to see, and places to eat. It was very nice, answered any more questions we had on anything. It was very helpful for sure! As well as I began talking to some guys my age from New Jersey about World War II and things on our travels, and such. It was a lot of fun. We exchanged Facebook information to link up and such. It was really an excellent time, I really enjoyed this tour, and I am very thankful that I choose to do this. Especially since it took out a lot of thinking about the day.
I would highly recommend it.